New Sources for Research Funding

Tuesday, March 17
9:30 am - 10:00 am

Benefunder - an innovative philanthropic funding channel for academic research

Benefunder revives the patron funding model by connecting top researchers and their programs with a large, exclusive network of high net worth donors who want to build lasting relationships, and fund cutting-edge research in the sciences and the arts, to understand and impact our world. Benefunder’s Charitable Innovation Fund works directly with several wealth management firms to accomplish its mission. This unique approach gives faculty access to a significant funding pool from high net worth individuals who want to contribute to fundamental and applied research.

We work with top researchers across all fields of study, including healthcare and life sciences, the arts and humanities, engineering, social sciences, physical sciences, and education. Benefunder’s platform includes researchers from top universities and research institutions.

In 2013, donors contributed more than $32 billion in charitable funds through one of the nation's top wealth management firms - nearly four times the NSF budget and equal to the entire NIH budget. Benefunder offers wealth managers a new philanthropic product to help their clients target their annual charitable donations towards researchers with matching interests and background. Benefunder is the only organization taking this approach.

 Gert Lanckriet
 Academic Ambassador & Co-Founder


Gert Lanckriet received a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, in 2000 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2001 respectively 2005. In 2005, he joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, where he heads the Computer Audition Lab (CALab), and is a co-PI of the Distributed Health Lab (DHLab). He co-founded Keevio, Inc., a content-based video analytics company, and Benefunder, an innovative philanthropic organization that works with wealth management firms to connect donors with leading researchers across the nation and fund their research.

He was awarded the SIAM Optimization Prize in 2008 and is the recipient of a Hellman Fellowship, an IBM Faculty Award, an NSF CAREER Award and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship. In 2011, MIT Technology Review named him one of the 35 top young technology innovators in the world (TR35). His lab received a Yahoo! Key Scientific Challenges Award, a Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship and a Google Research Award. In 2014, he received the Best Ten-Year Paper Award at the International Conference on Machine Learning. His research focuses on machine learning, optimization, big data analytics, and crowdsourcing, with applications in music search and recommendation, multimedia, and personalized, mobile health.


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