$5 million For Open Source Software Projects for Science
Written by Sue Gee   
Tuesday, 19 November 2019

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has announced funding for over forty open source tools that are essential to biomedical research. There will be two more opportunities for OSS projects to request funding, with the second round opening next month.




Founded by husband and wife team, Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, and pediatrician  Dr. Priscilla Chan in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) set out to use technology to help solve some of the world's toughest challenges - from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. At the outset the pair pledged to donate 99 percent of their Facebook shares, then valued at $45 billion and nominated three core focus areas: Education, Justice & Opportunity and Science.

The recently announced grants, totalling $5 million, form part of The Essential Open Source Software program and have been made to 32 beneficiaries covering a total of 42 total open source projects. Amounts of between $50,000 and $250,000 will go towards software maintenance, growth, development, and community engagement.

The announcement of the funding  quotes CZI Head of Science Cori Bargmann as saying:

"Open source software accelerates the work scientists carry out each day, whether it's searching a genome sequence for a disease gene, tracking a disease outbreak, or counting cells in a microscope image.

Scientists are only as good as their tools, and we’re thrilled to support open source projects that will benefit the entire scientific community and help every scientist be a better scientist."




The selected projects include tools for visualizing, analyzing, and managing data for research areas such as genomics, structural biology, cell biology, neuroscience, and more. They include well known, generally applicable tools - such as Matplotlib, Pandas, NumPy, SciPy  scikit-learn and to specialized ones - such as GATK a project with methods for variant discovery and evaluation in bacteria, OpenmMs concerned with mass spectrometry and QIME2 which is concerned with microbiome research. Project leads come from various universities and established medical research organizations including Dana-Farber Cancer Research and New York Genome Center. 

CZI is inviting more applications for funding in two additional  cycles, with the second round opening on December 17, 2019 and the third round in June 2020. It is looking for software projects that are essential to biomedical research, have demonstrated impact, and can show potential for continued improvement. CZI will consider two broad categories of projects: 

  • Domain-specific software for analyzing, visualizing, and otherwise working with the specific data types that arise in biomedical science (e.g., genomic sequences, microscopy images, and molecular structures)
  • Foundational tools and infrastructure that enable a wide variety of downstream software across several domains of science and computational research (e.g. numerical computation, data structures, workflows, and reproducibility). Foundational tools must have demonstrated impact on some area(s) of biomedical research

Applications can request funding between $50,000 and $250,000 total costs. 

More Information


CZI Essential Open Source Software for Science

Full list of grantees

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Mozilla Distributes Funds To Open Source 


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 19 November 2019 )