Biomedical Research Infrastructure


The Program on Biomedical Research Infrastructure (BRI) seeks to lower barriers to discovery through preclinical infrastructure development. 


Advances in biomedical research are essential to produce breakthrough discoveries for the improvement of human health. However, the research enterprise currently faces a number of systemic challenges that increasingly threaten its productivity. Among these are four prominent issues:

  • Publication in top journals is imperative to scientists’ securing faculty positions, tenure and research funding, resulting in hyper‐competition for these positions and resources;
  • A  focus  on  achieving  positive  results  for  publication  often  comes  at  the  expense  of reproducibility and quality of research;
  • The  most  commonly used  technologies  and  platforms  for  sharing  data  and  results  are frequently insufficient to access fundamental research materials and information; and
  • Limited avenues exist to collaborate across fields and communicate research findings.

These systemic issues are linked to an alarming excess of wasted resources, including time, money and equipment; substantial growth in the number of retracted papers; and a lack of reproducible published studies – all of which place significant but avoidable limits on potential innovation within the biomedical sciences. 

The Helmsley Charitable Trust believes a nontraditional focus on enhancing the underlying infrastructure for biomedical research can facilitate biomedical advances and catalyze a shift toward improved research practices. 


With an annual grants budget of $10 million, the BRI Program focuses on supporting preclinical projects that target one or more of the following strategies:


tools to conduct higher quality and more reproducible research


efficiency in research by improving searchability, accessibility and documentation of research information


skills, knowledge and positive incentives for improved research practices


cross‐disciplinary research and collaboration


perspectives, and ultimately paradigms, for what constitutes best practices in research


During the first year of the BRI Program, Helmsley awarded eight grants totaling nearly $23 million across three areas:

Research Tools

These grants support the development of virtual tools that improve the ability to access, search, retrieve, and produce quality preclinical research. 

Skills and Incentives

These grants support practices necessary for improving research quality, including courses, fellowships, and programming promoting cross-disciplinary collaboration, skill development and incentives to create high-quality research products. 

Collaborative Platforms

These grants support the development of software and other modes to enable fluid exchange of ideas and information among scientists for preclinical projects.