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$10 million pledge will support next generation of biomedical innovators

The funds from the Blavatnik Family Foundation will provide permanent support for five students enrolled in the Stanford Biosciences.

- By Eileen DiFranco

The Blavatnik Family Foundation has pledged $10 million to Stanford Medicine for the training of graduate students in the biomedical sciences, powering the innovation and independence of talented young researchers.

The Blavatnik Family Fellowship Fund at the School of Medicine will support PhD fellowships that allow young scientists enrolled in the Stanford Biosciences to pursue investigative directions that inspire their creativity and passion.

The fund will support five Blavatnik Fellows a year in perpetuity and builds upon a previous $2 million Blavatnik Family Foundation commitment to assist Stanford bioscience graduate students in their research.

“Len Blavatnik’s vision and generosity — and the impact it will have on the future of biomedical research — are impossible to overstate,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the 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.”

Len Blavatnik, head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, said, “We are proud to support the biomedical research being conducted at Stanford School of Medicine, one of the world’s most elite biomedical sciences institutions. We look forward to celebrating many ground-breaking discoveries in the years ahead.”

In the conventional funding model for bioscience graduate education, students often must join the laboratories that have funding — not necessarily labs that are 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.

This commitment has yielded demonstrable benefits at Stanford Medicine. The number of incoming students who accept admission has risen from around 50 percent to the mid-60s range, and the initiative also has aided the School of Medicine’s goal of diversifying the student body. The Blavatnik Family Fellowship Fund will build on these successes and, as the first endowment funds raised for the program, secure financial support for five fellowships permanently.

The Blavatnik Family Foundation is an active supporter of leading and transformative educational, scientific, cultural and charitable institutions worldwide. Among the foundation’s programs are the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists that support early career scientists and engineers in the U.S., U.K. and Israel. To date, the foundation has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to more than 250 institutions worldwide. The foundation was established by Len Blavatnik, a global industrialist and philanthropist. He is the founder and chairman of Access Industries.

Stanford Medicine integrates research, medical education and health care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care (formerly Stanford Hospital & Clinics), and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. For more information, please visit the Office of Communication & Public Affairs site at

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