Our Philosophy

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka’ but ‘That's funny...’

Isaac Asimov

All too often, young investigators are told to “play it safe” in order to appeal to ever-more-conservative funders. Fearful of the career repercussions of posing bold, unorthodox questions, budding scientists avoid challenging conventional wisdom and taking the kind of risks that can result in the greatest rewards.

The Sandler Program for Breakthrough Biomedical Research (PBBR) was developed to ensure that UCSF researchers are limited only by their imaginations. We provide support for transformational ideas that defy conventional wisdom and could never qualify for funding from increasingly conservative grant makers like the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

We dare our scientists to dig deeper, ask tougher questions, and invent novel approaches that disrupt the status quo. And to ensure that our scientists’ focus and energy remain in the right place – and that great ideas don’t grow stagnant – we keep our applications short and make our funding decisions quickly.