Technology & Science

Allen Institute For Brain Science

Paul Allen is in the business of thinking big. One of the clearest examples of his unique approach is his investment in big science – those uncharted areas of science that still have so many fundamental questions unanswered surrounding them.

Paul has always been drawn to the open questions of science. But the people who work in those fields to map out new ground often face challenges, especially because there are few traditional funding sources for unproven, early-stage research. Paul believes backing these scientists is critical to achieving world-changing breakthroughs.

Paul has made an enormous investment – well over half of a billion dollars – to let scientists investigate these unexplored areas. In 2003, Paul and his sister Jody founded the Allen Institute for Brain Science to accelerate understanding of the human brain. They believed that by investing in foundational knowledge, it would help scientists tackle the complex puzzles surrounding the brain, enabling them to discover treatment for devastating disorders, and perhaps even uncover what makes us human. Since its creation, the Allen Institute for Brain Science has created groundbreaking public resources that are now staple research tools for thousands of scientists worldwide, and the team continues to take on new challenges to answer critical questions about how the brain works. Their efforts are paving the way for subsequent efforts, including President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative.

Using the Allen Institute for Brain Science as a model, Paul recently founded the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Seattle. This institute will begin answering some of the critical questions in AI today, including opportunities for computers to acquire knowledge and reason.

Paul is also investing in pioneering scientists’ research projects through Allen Distinguished Investigators, a competitive three-year grant program that supports scientists as they pursue high-risk, high reward research. Administered through the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, investigators are awarded an average $1.5 million each to do the critical detective work that leads to discovery. 

Technology & Science

Exploring new frontiers and possibilities. Asking “what’s next” and finding the answers

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