Independent funding for the first 4 years of bioscience graduate school

The future of human health rests on the shoulders of these voraciously curious young people. They’re the ones who’ll discover the cures of tomorrow, yet at most institutions, their potential is limited because they must piggyback on their advisors’ grants for financial support. Which means they spend most of their time and energy working on other people’s projects in scientific fields that may not excite them. Rather than following their passions to discover where they can make the greatest impact, they’re forced to follow the funding.

That’s why this initiative guarantees independent funding for all Stanford biosciences PhD students for the first four years of their graduate education. Released from dependence on their advisors’ grants, each will have the freedom to pursue his or her own ideas. Word has spread about this innovative new program, and more and more of the brightest young scientists are choosing Stanford for their graduate education. Our goal is to sustain this funding for 10 years, which will have a profound effect on more than a thousand students.

Help us create a bold new generation of scientists with the courage to fully leverage all that this new era of discovery has to offer. As these young scientists go out into the world, they’ll take the intellectual independence and entrepreneurial fire they gained at Stanford with them, and the impact of their achievements will resonate around the globe. With your philanthropic investment, we’ll not only ensure the best keep coming here, we’ll show the world how to educate scientists who have the confidence to change the human condition.

I’m re-engineering Ebola and HIV to attack cancer cells.

Clayton Laroy Brown
Biochemistry Graduate Student

Independent funding gave me the confidence to choose a career path where I felt I could make the biggest impact. I was able to take a risk and join a “start-up” lab without worrying about whether or not it could fund me.

I wanted to work with Dr. Peter Kim, a professor who really inspires me. He’s a phenomenal protein engineer and biochemist. I love the way he approaches problems and encourages students to ask big questions. So when my first-year rotation was over and it was time to pick a lab, I chose his.

Now I’m doing my own really exciting research. It’s focused on re-engineering viruses like Ebola and HIV to target specific cell types. The goal is to be able to reduce the toxicity of chemotherapy drugs by selectively infecting cancerous cells and not healthy cells. It’s awesome to imagine the pain and suffering we could prevent.

It makes me really uncomfortable to hear that independent funding is in danger. Without it, new labs won’t be able to take on new people, and grad students like me will miss out on the opportunity to pursue the science we’re most passionate about.

Independent funding’s impact

Stanford’s bioscience graduate student leaders share their perspectives on why independent funding has been crucial to launching their careers in creative, groundbreaking research.


Header image: Colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Ebola, courtesy of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.