A previous donor to Emergent Ventures Fast Grants is providing additional support to the program with the intent of helping to alleviate the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in India.
The anonymous donor from the New York City financial community recently contributed an additional $2 million, much of which will be used by Emergent Ventures India to help that country’s scientists better analyze data that will help them better allocate medical resources in the fight against the lethal virus that is ravaging the world’s second-most populous country.
“The ongoing problems in India, I do think were a motivating force,” said Tyler Cowen, a professor of economics within Mason’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the faculty director of the Mercatus Center that houses the Emergent Ventures program. “A lot of people wanted to help and they weren’t sure what to do, so they’re delegating that out to others like Emergent Ventures.”
Cowen founded the Fast Grants program in 2020 with the hopes of incentivizing the fight against COVID-19. A $1 million grant from the Thiel Foundation launched the program, which Cowen said has received an overwhelming response and has sparked significant scientific progress.
“For me, it’s been very heartening to see a lot of the people receive the money and have success in helping the world,” he said.
Emergent Ventures Fast Grants range between $10,000 and $500,000, with decisions about who receives them typically taking less than 14 days before they are dispersed to recipients.
To date, the program has doled out roughly $60 million in more than 240 grants, including several for potential vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. A Fast Grant to Yale University scientists last fall played a key role in the development of the successful NBA “bubble” in Orlando.