The Ragon Institute was officially established in February 2009 at MGH, MIT and Harvard with a dual mission: to contribute to the accelerated discovery of an HIV/AIDS vaccine and to establish itself as a world leader in the collaborative study of immunology. Founded with a commitment of $100 million from Mr. and Mrs. Ragon, the institute is structured and positioned to significantly contribute to a global effort to successfully develop an HIV/AIDS vaccine by:
- Creating non-traditional partnerships among experts with different but complementary backgrounds (e.g., engineers, basic immunologists, computational biologists, immunogeneticists, clinicians)
- Providing a means for rapidly funding promising studies (e.g., elite controllers, innovative viral vectors) and emerging concepts in the field (e.g., innate immune system memory);
- Integrating key facets of current vaccine development efforts that have tended to follow separate tracks (e.g., seeking a combined antibody and T-cell solution)
- Providing a substantial pool of accessible, flexible funding that will help lower the threshold for scientists to pursue risky, unconventional avenues of study that are unlikely to attract funding from traditional sources. Such funding will encourage innovation, compress the time it takes to conduct bench-to-bedside research and attract new minds to the field.
The Institute creates a singular opportunity and environment to engage scientists, engineers and clinicians in challenging research for which there may be no greater benefit – saving lives and curing the ill.