Facebook founder launches bid to encourage science

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has revealed plans to sponsor a valuable new award for scientific research.

The scheme, which involves five $3 million awards, will honour pioneering research in the fight against disease. It is described as being "dedicated to advancing breakthrough research, celebrating scientists and generating excitement about the pursuit of science as a career".

The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences has the backing of the Jewish internet billionaire, who studied at Harvard University, as well as Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who comes from a Russian Jewish family.

The scheme will offer 11 prizes this year celebrating achievement in the life sciences, as well as five annual prizes in future.

"This new prize will shine a light on the extraordinary achievements of the outstanding minds in the field of life sciences, enhance medical innovation and ultimately become a platform for recognizing future discoveries," said Art Levinson, Apple Board chairman and now chair of the foundation that is awarding the prize.

Last updated: 10:21am, February 22 2013