On March 7, the University of California San Diego announced that it had received a $15 million donation from the Balvi Filantripic Fund directed by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin. The university plans to use these funds to establish the Meta-Institute for Airborne Disease in a Changing Climate, or simply The Airborne Institute.
The Airborne Institute will focus on researching the effects of climate change on air quality and developing solutions to improve it. In particular, the institute's interdisciplinary team will investigate possible links between aerosolized pathogens and common health conditions such as asthma and allergies.
"I am pleased to support the creation of this new institute at UC San Diego, which will work to grow our scientific knowledge about airborne disease and share it freely, enabling changes to infrastructure and policy that benefit people around the globe," Buterin told university's informational platform UC San Diego Today.
The donation was made in USDC, the stablecoin pegged to the US dollar. The university used crypto donation platform Engiven to exchange cryptocurrency for US dollars.
Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla also expressed his gratitude and hopes for the upcoming research:
"This generous, visionary gift will empower our world-class scientists and researchers to conduct collaborative, interdisciplinary studies of airborne diseases and pollutants with the potential to drive new discoveries to improve human health – all for the greater good."
To support the mission of the Balvi Filantropic Fund to make scientific knowledge more available and accessible to everyone, the Airborne Institute plans to publish its research findings in open-access journals and make the instrumentation created with the donated funds available to the public.