Eric Schmidt, former CEO and Chairman of Google, and Ken Griffin, founder of Griffin Catalyst and founder and CEO of Citadel, have initiated a new funding phase for the UK Biobank, pledging over £16 million, matched by the government. This investment, part of a wider effort to raise at least £50 million, will enhance the Biobank’s vast health data resources. The UK Biobank, a significant scientific asset, holds extensive genetic, health, and lifestyle data from 500,000 UK volunteers. This database has been instrumental in medical breakthroughs, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new funding will support projects that integrate AI in health research, a move encouraged by the UK’s recent AI Life Sciences Accelerator Mission. AI’s ability to process large data sets can revolutionize disease analysis, like in cancer research. Michelle Donelan, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology, emphasized the UK Biobank’s role in UK science and its potential in advancing healthcare for conditions like arthritis and dementia. She also highlighted the aim to attract more private and philanthropic donations to the science and tech sectors.
Furthermore, Griffin praised the UK Biobank for revolutionizing disease understanding and treatment, while Schmidt focused on the importance of supporting scientific advancements for future generations. Professor Sir Rory Collins, CEO of UK Biobank, credited the volunteers’ dedication for the UK Biobank’s success and outlined the potential for new research opportunities from the funding.
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