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Gates Foundation gives $279M to University of Washington

SEATTLE — The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is awarding $279 million to the University of Washington to expand its work in improving global population health, the largest private donation to the university, officials said Wednesday.

The grant funds another decade of research at the university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which provides critical data about the most prevalent and costly health problems in the world and evaluates strategies to address them.

The money from the largest private foundation in the world, based just miles from the Seattle campus, comes after another record-breaking $210 million gift from the foundation to the UW in October to help build a new facility to house the IHME as well as the public health and global health departments.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation will use the new 10-year grant to track how health resources are spent throughout the world. It will also continue IHME’s efforts as the coordinating center for the Global Burden of Disease Project, which attempts to quantity health loss from all major diseases from cities in China and South Africa to neighborhoods in the United States.

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said in a statement that the population health research center provides important data that can empower policymakers worldwide to identify better solutions to fight diseases.

University officials said the commitment highlights the university’s position as a global hub for improving population health worldwide.

“Behind this grant is not simply a decision to continue outstanding research and analysis, but also an uncompromising commitment to use health metrics sciences to improve people’s lives,” Dr. Christopher Murray, who directs the IHME, said in a statement.

To date, the Seattle-based foundation has given the university nearly $1.25 billion in total grants.

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