Commentary: recognizing and tracking philanthropy's critical support of health research

Acad Med. 2012 Nov;87(11):1466-7. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31826b04be.


Given the current fiscal climate limiting both government and industry support for health research, philanthropic support of health research is increasingly relevant because it provides some of the critical "risk capital" that stimulates innovation, helps translate basic research findings into clinical applications, helps support the career development of investigators, builds new infrastructure, and helps fill key funding gaps. Unfortunately, because of the philanthropic sector's diversity and scope, it is challenging to track the sector's health research investments. The authors briefly review the landscape of philanthropic organizations, identify several success stories resulting from philanthropic investments, and finally underscore the importance of gaining more knowledge about the sector through purposeful data collection efforts such as those of the Health Research Alliance (HRA), a consortium of nonprofit funders of biomedical research and training. Recent HRA efforts of this type are highlighted in this commentary and described in detail in the report by Myers et al in this issue of Academic Medicine.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / trends*
  • Female
  • Financing, Government / trends*
  • Fund Raising / trends*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)*
  • Organizations, Nonprofit*
  • Research Support as Topic / trends*