Frontiers Group

Discovery Centers

The Allen Discovery Centers are a new type of center for leadership-driven, compass-guided research in partnership with major research organizations and universities. The Allen Discovery Centers respond to worldwide community enthusiasm for a right-sized, risk-tolerant mechanism to support exploration. The Centers embody our commitment to support the freedom needed to navigate uncertain territory—on a compass direction to the unknown.

We will make patient, long-term investments in these Centers, typically providing $10 million for the first four years, with the intention to expand in a second four year phase with an additional $10 million, matched by partner support, for a potential total scope of activity of $30 million.

We will fund research efforts helmed by visionary leaders and coherent teams, pioneering expeditions that will pursue new discoveries, principles and insights.  

Over time, the Allen Discovery Centers will also interact—with each other, with our Allen Distinguished Investigators, and with the larger community—through a rich network of events and associations. These interactions reflect our belief that making lateral connections visible across the intellectual landscape can produce unexpected and radically productive new insights and ideas.

The Allen Discovery Center at Stanford University

Systems Modeling of Infection

Leader: Markus Covert, Ph.D.



The Allen Discovery Center at UW Medicine

Cell Lineage Tracing

Leader: Jay Shendure, M.D., Ph.D.


The Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University

Reading and Writing the Morphogenetic Code

Leader: Michael Levin, Ph.D.



The Allen Discovery Center at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Human Brain Evolution

Leader: Christopher A. Walsh, M.D., Ph.D.