Elements of Research

The Salk Institute is determined to accelerate its pace of discovery, with the ultimate goal of bringing the world new therapies and cures and keeping people active and free of debilitating conditions. Toward this end, the Institute has identified four areas where investment will have the greatest impact.

Endowed faculty chairs
Competition to recruit the world’s top scientists is fierce. One of the best ways to attract and retain faculty is through endowed chairs, which generate ongoing funding to support salaries and laboratory infrastructure. Contributions to increase the number of endowed chairs will enable Salk to attract outstanding new faculty with expertise in high-priority research areas.

The Joan Klein Jacobs and Irwin Mark Jacobs Senior Scientist Endowed Chair Challenge was created by Dr. and Mrs. Jacobs to encourage donors to establish endowed chairs for senior scientists. For every $2 million that a donor contributes toward an endowed chair at the Institute, Joan and Irwin Jacobs will add $1 million to achieve the $3 million funding level required to fully endow a chair for a Salk senior scientist. To date, 17 chairs have been established as a result of this program.

Postdoctoral and graduate student fellowships
Postdoctoral and graduate fellows—gifted young scientists who work with senior scientists on complex projects—are essential to every laboratory, but cuts in federal research budgets have severely limited funding for these positions. For this reason, the Salk Institute is seeking contributions to support postdoctoral and graduate student fellowships.

Research technology
Dramatic advances in imaging, computing and high-throughput DNA sequencing are profoundly impacting biomedical research, allowing investigators to see cellular details and map complex bodily systems in ways never before possible. The Institute is seeking funding to assure Salk scientists continued access to the state-of-the-art technology that will be critical to their success.

Innovation grants
The Institute’s success has been built on bold, innovative investigations that yield high-impact discoveries, but shrinking federal funding is being directed toward more conservative approaches, leaving Salk scientists unable to pursue some of their most creative ideas. Through the Campaign for Salk, donors can support crucial proof-of-concept research, enabling scientists to go on to compete for traditional funding.