Why IBD Is Underfunded, and What the Broad Foundation Is Doing About It

As you familiarize yourself with the Broad Foundation, which gives away millions of dollars annually toward medical schools, hospitals, and health centers (and even regular old charter schools), it can be easy to overlook the Broad Medical Research Program (BMRP). Awarding around $3.5 million annually specifically toward inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) research, BMRP frequently provides young, innovative scientists with the funding they need to continue their research. The program is all about the up-and-comers, the newbies — innovative young scientists whose nascent initiatives stand to benefit the most from a shot in the arm of money.

Indeed, the Broad Medical Research Program, which was founded by Eli and Edythe Broad, provides 40% of all private funding for inflammatory bowel disease in the United States. That's nothing to sneeze at. The mean funding per grant is right around $114,000 — a nice hefty sum, especially if you're in the early trial stage of a great, potentially game-changing experiment. BMRP realizes there isn't a ton of money floating around for IBD researchers to snag hold of. It wants to change that, as the conditions that comprise IBD — Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis — can be misery-inducing and even deadly.

It's clear from BMRP that its interest is in curing the disease or figuring out how to prevent it — not in diddling around the edges of the problem, seeking merely to gain understanding. "The BMRP provides rapid funding to investigators working in non-profit organizations worldwide for up to two years for basic or clinical trials that are innovative, in the early stages of exploration, will improve the diagnosis, therapy, or prevention of IBD, and will lead to longer-term funding by more traditional granting agencies."

Basically, BMRP wants to hear about pilot projects that need money to create and collect data; the synthesis of that data in more specific, tailored experiments is someone else's nickel. BMRP's application deadlines roll all year, so if the program's priorities match your research, give the group a holler. Check out the "how to apply" page here.