Through a $150 million endowment gift in 2021, philanthropists Eric and Wendy Schmidt funded the center to create a new field of interdisciplinary research aimed at improving human health. Eric is chair of the Broad Institute Board, and Wendy is president of Schmidt Family Foundation
and Schmidt Ocean Institute
. The couple also founded Schmidt Futures
Two recent revolutions inspired the creation of the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Center: the exponential growth and widespread adoption of data technologies like machine learning and cloud computing, and the dramatic advances in generating massive amounts of data about living systems through next-generation sequencing, single-cell genomics, and advanced medical imaging.
Until now, these fields have largely developed in parallel. The Eric and Wendy Schmidt Center, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
, will foster a two-way street between the disciplines. We envision that biomedical problems will fuel foundational advances in machine learning — and that machine learning will drive what kinds of biological data scientists generate. We want our efforts not only to be judged on our ability to bring data technologies to bear on biological discovery, but also on our ability to make biology a key driver of foundational advances in machine learning. Such a two-way street between the disciplines holds the potential to create a new era of biology, yielding a deeper understanding of basic biological processes and improvements in human health. The center includes collaborators from across the Broad community, including MIT, Harvard, and the Harvard teaching hospitals.
We are deeply invested in ensuring that our commitment to the highest level of ethics and equity is brought to bear through each and every project. To that end, we work with researchers focused on engaging underrepresented groups, anticipating outcomes for vulnerable populations, and developing open-source tools that will maximize benefit to all.