About Arc Institute
Arc Institute is a nonprofit research organization headquartered in Palo Alto, California. Arc is an independent institute that operates in collaboration with Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco.
Arc was started by Silvana Konermann, Patrick Hsu, and Patrick Collison. All three previously collaborated on Fast Grants. Silvana serves as Director of the institute.
Arc’s founding donors include Vitalik Buterin, Patrick Collison, John Collison, the Ron Conway family, Crankstart, Elad Gil and Jennifer Huang Gil, Daniel Gross, Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna, and Hemant and Jessica Taneja. They are joined by Matt Berger, Craig Falls, Rob Granieri, James McClave, and Adam Winkel from Jane Street.
What kind of science does Arc focus on?
Our mission is to accelerate scientific progress and understand the root causes of complex diseases. This challenge requires researchers across many disciplines to study fundamental biological mechanisms, develop new technologies, and innovate on therapeutic concepts. By doing this, we aim to improve human health by narrowing the gap between discoveries and impact on patients.
How are Arc investigators funded?
Arc researcher salaries are fully paid by Arc. In addition, the labs of Core Investigators are directly supported by Arc. This means that labs do not need to apply for any outside funding to support their research programs.
How is Arc different to […]?
Arc is influenced and inspired by the success of many existing institutional experiments, including HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus, the Broad Institute, the Salk Institute, CZ Biohub, the Crick Institute, the Max Planck Society, and many others. The basic thesis behind Arc is that there are a couple of ingredients that haven’t been combined before:
- Full, “hard money” support for investigators, so that they can pursue curiosity-driven research programs in unfettered fashion.
- Close partnership with a number of major research universities, including top graduate programs.
- First-class investment in technology development to support research programs, especially genome engineering and software engineering.
- Long-term career paths both for researchers focused on technology development and for Core Investigators.
- Physical colocation of researchers.
We hope that Arc contributes usefully to our understanding of the space of effective configurations for organizing scientific research.
How much funding is behind Arc?
Arc’s donors will contribute more than $650M to the Institute to allow it to fully sustain scientists and their research for renewable eight-year terms.
What are the roles of the founders?
Silvana Konermann is a cofounder of Arc, a Core Investigator, and will serve as the Institute’s first Executive Director starting in Spring 2022.
Patrick Hsu is a cofounder of Arc and a Core Investigator. He will lead the development of certain Technology Centers and the Translation Program.
Patrick Collison is a cofounder of Arc and a founding donor. He has no operating role at the Institute.
How does Arc’s relationship with its partner universities work?
By working together with world-class research universities, Arc enables new opportunities for research and training to tackle the unique challenges that face biomedical innovation today.
The partnership model will be several-fold:
- Arc Core Investigators, located at the Arc Institute, can hold tenure-line or adjunct faculty appointments at one of the three partner universities (but are not required to). Appointments at partner universities are decided by the individual university departments. As a central element of Arc, Core faculty serve as a key bridge between the institutions.
- Arc Affiliated faculty maintain their labs at one of our three partner universities and receive unrestricted funding to pursue research of their choice, optionally in collaboration with Arc Institute core labs or technology centers. They expand the intellectual connection between the four institutions. We will open our first call for applications in early 2022.
- Graduate students at Stanford, UC Berkeley, and UCSF will have the opportunity to rotate in and conduct their thesis research in Arc labs.
What is Arc’s growth plan?
The Institute‘s growth through 2025 will be gradual, with the goal of building a culture and organization that can scale. Phase 1 of the institute will involve hiring 10–15 Core Investigators, each of whom may employ 10–20 trainees, researchers, or engineers. We envision the 5 Technology Centers to be of similar size, for a total headcount of approximately 150–350 scientific personnel. We expect to get there within 5 years.