A €500 million gift from António Champalimaud, apparently Portugal’s richest man, is to fund a medical research centre focusing on cancer treatment. The Champalimaud Center for the Unknown, which opened on 5 October, is the result of the largest-ever European gift to scientific research, surpassing that just announced in neighbouring Spain by Esther Koplowitz (see https://www.alliancemagazine.org/node/3507). The donation is remarkable not just for its size, but for the fact that Portugal has little history of scientific research, still less of private funding for it. Nor did its benefactor, who died in 2004, display much public charity during his life. However, the project has remained almost exclusively an initiative of the foundation set up by Champalimaud to implement it, and although the Portuguese authorities provided the land to build the centre, the foundation has not sought any public or additional private money.
The new centre, which will become operational next year, will involve 500 researchers working alongside 100 physicians handling about 300 patients daily. It is this level of interaction that its founders hope will encourage more researchers to work in Europe.
New York Times, 8 September 2010