Stanford University has announced a $10 million pledge from the Blavatnik Family Foundation in support of PhD fellowships that will enable young scientists enrolled in the Stanford Biosciences to pursue investigative directions that inspire their creativity and passion.
Building on a previous $2 million Blavatnik Family Foundation commitment to assist Stanford bioscience graduate students in their research, the Blavatnik Family Fellowship Fund at the Stanford University School of Medicine will support five Blavatnik Fellows annually in perpetuity. In the conventional funding model for bioscience graduate education, students often must join laboratories that have funding, rather than labs pursuing research that speaks to their own investigative interests. To combat the dampening effect this has on the innovation and independence of talented young scientists, Stanford Medicine, through its Biomedical Innovation Initiative, guarantees a full four years of funding to every incoming biomedical graduate student.
As a result, Stanford Medicine has seen an increase in admissions as well as greater diversity in its student body. The Blavatnik Family Fellowship Fund is intended to build on these successes and, as the first endowment funds raised for the program, secure financial support for five fellowships permanently.
"Len Blavatnik's vision and generosity — and the impact it will have on the future of biomedical research — are impossible to overstate," said Lloyd B. Minor, the Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Dean of Stanford School of Medicine. "His contribution will directly benefit our graduate students and empower them to pursue their passions. It is a legacy that will ultimately lead to new discoveries in the field and improved care for patients around the world."