Google's & Facebook's Team Up On $33 Million Breakthrough Prize

Written By Mekhels O' Cypher on Thursday, February 21, 2013 | 12:21 PM

Google's flashy visionary and Facebook's hacker boy-king are putting their heads together - but they're not cooperating to drum up more likes or clicks, thank goodness.

The pair, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, have teamed up for social good, establishing a science research prize that's already awarded $33 million in its inaugural round.  

A Big Stakes Science Fair

The award, known as the Breakthrough Prize, will be doled out to five winners each year, though a robust selection of 11 recipients were announced in the first round. The founding members of the new science foundation have committed to establish five annual prizes of $3 million for outstanding research that advances cures for intractable diseases. 

Other founding members of the Breakthrough Prize include the wives of both Brin and Zuckerberg, who are both more science-minded than their tech-star partners. Anne Wojcicki, married to Brin, is the founder of - a genetics startup. Priscilla Chan, Zuckerberg's wife, graduated from medical school after meeting Zuck at Harvard and was accepted to a prestigious pediatric residency at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) last year. 

“Priscilla and I are honored to be part of this,” Zuckerberg wrote in the prize's announcement. “We believe the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences has the potential to provide a platform for other models of philanthropy, so people everywhere have an opportunity at a better future.”

Apple chairman Art Levinson will serve as the new foundation's chairman, rounding out the trifecta of major tech companies with a hand in the new science prize.