Biotech Pioneer Bill Bowes Pledges $50M to Support Young Investigators

Bill Bowes has a rare ability. As a pioneer of the biotech industry, a venture capitalist for 50 years, and one of the world’s most generous philanthropists, Bowes is known as a divining rod for raw talent. He possesses an innate sense of the next big idea and who has the best mind to see it through.

And when Bowes invests in that talent − whether through a business deal or out of sheer goodness of heart and hope − the world listens.

That Bill Bowes, a world-renowned entrepreneur, is investing in UCSF as an institution and in its best and brightest young investigators is indeed an honor.


With a $50 million pledge, Bowes has invested in UCSF’s core strength and innovation engine: young investigators. Called the Bowes Biomedical Investigator Program, it is the most recent and largest of the gifts Bowes has made to UCSF over the years. This brings his total giving to UCSF to nearly $100 million. He also has contributed to the University by serving as a valued member of the UCSF Foundation Board of Overseers.

The Bowes Biomedical Investigator Program will provide a five-year funding stream of $250,000 per year per investigator to an elite cadre of early- and mid-career faculty members. Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS, will lead the process to select the recipients based on the quality of their scientific contributions, the significance of their potential impacts, and the novelty of their approaches to discovery.

Bill Bowes

The program will emphasize transdisciplinary and unconventional approaches to advancing science and nurture the highest-caliber scholars who will be the next-generation leaders in their fields. The program will particularly target junior and mid-career faculty members whose research interests do not fall within classic disciplinary lines. This group is among the most challenged in acquiring funding from traditional sources. The cohort of Bowes investigators will grow over time, and as past recipients become established in their careers, they will become “alumni” of the program, creating a community that spans generations.

“I first met Bill when I was named dean of the UCSF School of Medicine,” recalls Hawgood. “His warmth and generosity were immediately evident, as was his passion for helping young people launch their careers. He has accomplished that with this gift and so many others through the years. His impact on UCSF has been profound.”

Read more about the gift here or watch this video.