[International][North America] Chan Zuckerberg Initiative: basic health research meets AI

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI)

Can we cure all diseases in our children’s lifetime?

If the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) has a say in the matter, then yes, that is the mission they have set for themselves.

They are dedicated to allocate resources and funding to the scientific community in an effort to facilitate this endeavor.  

The CZI aims to accelerate research through enhanced understanding of basic cellular biology and empowering predictive models for healthy and diseased human cells.

CZI structure

To do the work that can’t be done elsewhere, CZI has funded so far 2 Institutes and 3 BioHubs  and released $4.9 billion in grants:

  • Institute for Advanced Biological Imaging aims to push forward the development and application of new imaging technologies — hardware, software, biological probes, data, and platforms —  to obtain deep insights into the architecture of complex biological systems at the molecular level.
  • Kempner Institute at Harvard aims to uncover the foundational mechanisms of intelligence in both natural and artificial systems, striving to endow artificial intelligence (AI) with attributes resembling natural intelligence and ultimately applying these advancements for the betterment of humanity.
  • The CZ Biohub Network focuses on understanding underlying mechanisms of disease and developing new technologies that will lead to actionable diagnostics and effective therapies. The scope of the 3 bioHubs rages from mapping dynamic cells systems, understanding inflammation and the immune system to harnessing the immune system for disease detection and treatment.

CZI develops open-source software tools, to expedite and broaden the scope of scientific research by identifying, democratizing, and disseminating emerging and valuable methods, tools, and datasets to a diverse array of scientists, clinicians, and patient communities, facilitating swift and meaningful conclusions and accelerating the pace of scientific discovery.

CZI support science through targeted grantmaking and open competitions for research funds in specific issue areas with Requests for Applications, or RFAs.  

CZI Focus Areas

From CZI’s structure it becomes clear that the Scientific focus of CZI lays in Imaging and open science. CZI's open-source software tool, CZ CELL by Gene, serves as a cell-resolution data publishing and analysis platform, enhancing their research focus on single-cell biology and enabling insights into the functionality of cells and tissues. By expediting the development and application of single-cell tools and technologies, CZI contributes to a deeper understanding of how diseases manifest in the body, particularly at the cellular level. In addition, CZI has established the Neurodegeneration Challenge Network, uniting experts to delve into the fundamental biology of neurodegenerative disorders and devise innovative strategies for treatment and prevention. Furthermore, CZI is dedicated to collaborating closely with patient communities, fostering patient-driven research, especially in the realm of rare diseases.

On the Horizon

In November, Ghent University hosted representatives from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for discussions on potential funding opportunities, as reported by a UGent news item. CZI is currently extending its presence in Europe by cultivating connections with European universities and actively encouraging grant applications globally. The recent fall trip to Europe served as a scouting mission for the potential establishment of a BioHub on the continent, fostering collaboration among scientists from various universities. An upcoming open competition is anticipated for the establishment of a European Biohub in the near future.

Stay informed

Explore CZI's Science funding page to find details on their currently open call supporting patient-led rare disease advocacy organizations. Take a glance at their closed calls or grants database to understand the research they fund and their requirements. Stay informed about new funding opportunities by joining CZI’s mailing list. Of course we’ll also keep you informed through the BOZI newsletter as well. Delve into CZI’s blog for insights into the latest research from CZI grants, such as the development of groundbreaking imaging technology. If you plan to submit a proposal soon, consider volunteering as a reviewer to better understand the application process and CZI's priorities. Express your interest as a CZI reviewer to the EU-team, and they will relay it to the CZI team.


Notify the EU-team well in advance of impending CZI funding applications to enable us to actively support you in acquiring the necessary Institutional Approval Form and in reviewing the requested budget.

EU-Team Account Manager for cluster Health - Evi Lippens



Dec. 12, 2023, 11:39 a.m.