Frequently Asked Questions

Chan Zuckerberg Science

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Questions about Chan Zuckerberg Science

What is Chan Zuckerberg Science?
Chan Zuckerberg Science is a team within CZI. Our mission is to support the science and technology that will make it possible to cure, prevent, or manage all diseases by the end of the century. In service of this ambitious goal, we support collaborations between scientists and engineers, enable the development of new tools and technologies, and build support for scientific research to empower the entire scientific community.

What are CZ Science’s policies around IP, data sharing, and publication?
Our work in science is just beginning, and we have a lot to learn. We believe good ideas can come from anywhere. That’s why we use several mechanisms to support science, including grantmaking, open competitions (Requests for Applications), workshops and hackathons, collaborations among research groups, and collaborations between research groups and our computational biology and research teams. In supporting these efforts, the following processes govern our science work:

  • Intellectual Property
    Should we build an IP portfolio, or should IP be generated by a CZI-supported investigator or research project, our policy is that the IP should be made freely available for academic and noncommercial use. Where IP is developed together with other organizations, we will promote non-exclusive licensing of technologies so that they have the broadest reach and impact.
  • Data Sharing and Software
    We are deeply committed to developing and using platforms that disseminate data openly and freely. We are also committed to releasing software under maximally permissive open-source licenses, and developing software collaboratively in the open through sites like GitHub. We are committed to the long-term sustainability of our projects – when needed, we will explore alternative ways to ensure data access through permanent archives. Also when needed, we will work with regulatory groups to ensure that data requiring protection or controlled access are handled in a controlled and proper way in agreement with national and international standards.
  • Publication
    We support full publication without conditions or restrictions on academic and publication freedom. We strongly encourage, and in some cases, may require, researchers to deposit manuscripts as preprints before peer review to increase access to research findings and to communicate results more quickly.

Why is CZI structured as an LLC?
As Mark has said, CZI is structured as an LLC in order to allow maximum flexibility and be able to support any idea – nonprofit or for-profit – that could make a real difference in people’s lives. As an LLC that supports 501(c)(3)s and a 501(c)(4), CZI can do traditional grantmaking, make investments in social impact minded-ventures, as well as engage in advocacy work.

Is CZI associated with Facebook?
No. CZI and Facebook are completely separate entities.

Questions about funding

What types of organizations does CZI fund?
We use several mechanisms to support science, including grantmaking, open competitions (Requests for Applications), workshops and hackathons, collaborations among research groups, and collaborations between research groups and our computational biology and research teams. We believe that good ideas can come from anywhere. That’s why we may fund organizations that are domestic or foreign, public or private, for-profit or non-profit. Eligible organizations include institutions of higher education, individuals, and private companies.

How do I find out about funding opportunities?
The best way to learn about funding opportunities is to subscribe to our mailing list.

Questions about the Biohub

What is the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub?
The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub is an independent nonprofit research center that brings together physicians, scientists, and engineers from UC Berkeley, UCSF, and Stanford University to encourage collaborations between these universities. The Biohub’s co-presidents are Joe DeRisi and Stephen Quake.

Is the Biohub the same thing as CZ Science?
No. They are separate entities. The Biohub was our first science grantee — Mark and Priscilla contributed $600 million over a 10-year span. Although we are close partners, the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are separate legal organizations that operate independently.

Questions about the Human Cell Atlas

What is the Human Cell Atlas?
The Human Cell Atlas (HCA) is a global collaboration to map and characterize all cells in a healthy human body: cell types, numbers, locations, relationships, and molecular components. It will require advances in single-cell RNA sequencing, image-based transcriptomics and proteomics, tissue handling protocols, data analysis, and more. Once complete, it will be a fundamental resource for scientists, allowing them to better understand how healthy cells work, and what goes wrong when disease strikes.

What is CZI’s role in the Human Cell Atlas Project?
We support the HCA through a variety of mechanisms:

  • Grantmaking. We are funding 38 pilot projects to help build new technologies, best practices, and data analysis techniques for the HCA. These individuals and organizations will further the goal of the HCA by accelerating our understanding in key areas, including the brain, immune system, tissue handling & processing, gastrointestinal, skin, and technological development.
  • Helping to build computational tools. Our computational biologists and software engineers are working collaboratively with the scientific community to develop tools for analyzing sequencing and imaging data. In all cases, we work closely with scientists and computational researchers to identify bottlenecks in current approaches, and identify opportunities for improving existing tools. This may include developing new tools, or building consensus around formats, standards, or benchmark datasets. An example of an open-source repository reflecting current work around standardizing analysis pipelines for image-based transcriptomics can be found here.
  • Helping to build a data coordination platform. We are working together with international genomics leaders to formulate, fund, and jointly build a unified data coordination platform that will enable data sharing across researchers and research institutes. The size and scope of this project requires collaboration between bioinformatics and genomics experts in academia, as well as the software expertise of CZI engineers. Collaborations are underway regarding this element of the HCA with EBI , the Broad Institute , and UC Santa Cruz. Partnership with EBI will ensure that all data standards meet the exacting international criteria for data access and data sharing that EBI must follow, such as permanent maintenance of data through EBI and deposition of all data into the European Nucleotide Archive or the European Genome-phenome Archive, as appropriate.

Who are all the groups working on the Human Cell Atlas?
The community is growing by the day. The scientific community is very excited about this project and given the wide scope, there are many opportunities for labs to contribute. You can learn more about the Human Cell Atlas, including collaborators, events, and projects at humancellatlas.org. The members page lists members of the Organizing Committee and organizing team.

Who leads the Human Cell Atlas Project?
The HCA is led by a Scientific Organizing Committee that consists of roughly 30 scientific leaders from around the world. The Organizing Committee is co-chaired by Aviv Regev at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and Sarah Teichmann at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

What kind of scientific/medical/ health benefits can we expect from a completed Human Cell Atlas?
The HCA will revolutionize our understanding of human anatomy. We can expect to understand fundamental questions about cell biology, disease progression, cellular state, and many more areas. A few examples of applications may include development of novel diagnostic biomarkers, cell therapy candidates, antibodies for clinical and R&D use, and computational techniques for disease stratification.

Will the data from the Human Cell Atlas be free and available to all, or limited to academic and institutional use?
It will be free and available to all.

Questions about Meta

What is Meta?
Meta is an artificial intelligence-powered platform that helps scientists read, understand, and prioritize scientific papers. Meta uses artificial intelligence to analyze and connect insights across millions of research articles. It seeks out the most relevant or impactful studies in a scientific area and finds patterns in the literature on a scale that no human being could accomplish alone. Meta can connect scientific knowledge to empower the entire scientific community – from researchers and funders to publishers – and facilitate collaboration across disciplines and organizations. CZI will use its engineering team to enhance and scale the product to make it widely accessible to researchers at no cost.

When will Meta open?
Meta is currently in beta right now — we are anticipating opening the doors in the coming months.

How can I get access to Meta?
You can sign up for Meta’s mailing list at Meta.com. We will let you know when it opens.

Will Meta be free?
Yes!

What is the Computable Knowledge project?
Together with Andrew McCallum and the UMass Amherst Center for Data Science, we are launching an AI research program called Computable Knowledge. The project will facilitate new ways for scientists to explore, navigate, and discover potential connections between millions of new and historical scientific research articles by leveraging a branch of AI called knowledge representation and reasoning. Once complete, the service will be accessible for free through Meta.

What is the goal of the project?
The goal is to create an intelligent map of scientific knowledge by harnessing multiple branches of AI: deep neural networks, natural language processing, and knowledge representation and reasoning. The map will enable scientists to find and explore research at many levels of detail, helping them find previously unknown connections between genes, diseases, drugs and treatments. If successful, it will be like putting a new tool or guide at the disposal of every scientist — just as mobile map apps have given people a tool for navigating the physical world.

What is knowledge representation and reasoning?
Knowledge representation and reasoning is a branch of AI dedicated to understanding the meaning of specific concepts, as well as their relationships, and how those relationships are expected to behave–i.e. novel conclusions that can be inferred by linking many relationships together.

It can include (a) understanding information expressed in text (a branch of AI called natural language understanding and information extraction), (b) information integration and knowledge base construction (branches of computer science involving aligning many sources of knowledge), and (c) common sense, bringing to bear implicit background knowledge.

Will Computable Knowledge be free?
Yes!

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