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The Mapping Project

The Broad Institute

The Broad Institute is a corporate-academic center affiliated with MIT and Harvard which contributes to the privatization of biomedical research, drives the displacement of longtime community members from Cambridge, and promotes a Zionist and US imperialist agenda.

Organizational structure and contributions to displacement

A major player in Boston area biomedical science, the Broad Institute maintains close affiliations with Harvard, MIT, and partner hospitals. The Broad Institute maintains four large buildings in Cambridge, contributing to gentrification and the displacement of long-time Cambridge community members unable to afford rings housing, rental, and living costs in the city, as space is gobbled up by university, biomedical, and other corporate giants.

Ties to Zionism and Israel

Seth Klarman is a board member of the Broad Institute, and in 2012 the Klarman Family Foundation gave $32 million to the Broad Institute to fund the development of the 'Klarman Cell Observatory.' (see entry on Seth Klarman, and the Klarman Family Foundation) The Press Release for the donation stated that "the Observatory's work will involve collaborations with scientists in Israel, including training opportunities for junior scientists."

The Broad Institute and the Klarman Cell Observatory host the annual "Broad-Israel Cell Circuits Symposium," which they state aims to "to bring together Broad and Israeli scientists to tackle major challenges in the study of cell circuitry and to complement KCO efforts." The host site of the Symposium alternates between Cambridge MA and Jerusalem.

An image showing Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (center) with Broad director/co-founder Eric Lander (left of Barkat) and Broad/MIT professor Aviv Regev (far right)

At the 2015 retreat in Jerusalem, the Broad Institute and KCO hosted Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem and known ethnic cleanser. Barkat appeared in a photo with Broad Institute founder/CEO Eric Lander and Broad Institute member and Israeli MIT professor Aviv Regev. The Broad institute also maintains numerous collaborations with Israeli universities and the Israel Science Foundation.

A neoliberal agenda: privatizing research and contributing to health and ecological harms

Through its many corporate partnerships and alliances, the Broad Institute contributes to the privatization of the biomedical and health fields, and to various health and ecological harms. The Broad Institute used its wealth and legal power to obtain a patent on CRISPR-based genome-editing -- in an act of biopiracy that claims private ownership over natural phenomena and decades of collective, scientific work -- and then licensed the patent for CRISPR genome-editing to the company DuPont for use in agricultural applications, in spite of DuPont's record of polluting the environment with C8, a toxic chemical linked to various cancers, diseases the Broad Institute claims it works to understand and alleviate. The Broad Institute also has agreements around CRISPR with big agribusiness companies such as Monsanto, who poison our food, and displace and extract profits from farmers.

Support for US state and the US war machine

The Broad Institute also maintains deep ties to US Imperialism and the US military industrial complex. Eric Lander, director and co-founder of the Broad Institute, was science advisor to the Obama-Biden administration and was picked as a cabinet-level science advisor to the Biden-Harris administration. Lander serves on the Defense Innovation Board, a Pentagon group consisting of scientists, Silicon Valley elites, and government officials who try to ensure that the US Department of Defense has access to the latest technologies, for use in the US war machine.

Lander is a close associate of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who was the founding chair of the Defense Innovation Board. Schmidt and Lander co-wrote a piece for the Washington Post explaining the need for state-sponsored "medicines and armaments" (see this video which accompanied their op-ed). The Broad Institute has a partnership with the Eric and Wendy Schmidt foundation that brings together academics with corporations (such as Google and Microsoft) to pursue a neoliberal vision of scientific inquiry (Broad also has direct partnerships with Google). The Broad has received funding from the Pentagon, including for helping the US government do the work that, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), would have "potential national security applications" and would supposedly help mitigate "threats posed by irresponsible or nefarious use of biological technologies, and enhanced development of new resources derived from synthetic biology, such as novel chemicals, materials, and coatings with useful, unique properties" (this definition of "irresponsible or nefarious" use presumably does not include the US and its allies, such as Israel and Apartheid South African government, which have a long record of using chemical and biological weapons). 

Lander's views as national science advisor reflect the agenda of US Empire and capital. In his April 2021 confirmation hearing for a position within the Biden-Harris administration, Lander called for "market-based solutions to climate change" (senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey gave enthusiastic introductions of Lander, and didn't challenge this statement). One of Lander's other proposals is to create an ARPA for "health," that is to duplicate the model of DARPA -- the Pentagon's research wing -- for the biomedical sciences, further militarizing the biomedical and health research sphere. As part of the financial disclosures he had to make for his Biden-Harris administration appointment, Lander disclosed that he has investments in Alphabet/Google (reported value: $100,000-$250,000), Exxon-Mobil (reported value: $15,001-$50,000), weapons developer L3Harris (reported value: $15,001-$50,000), weapons developer Boeing (reported value: $100,001-$250,000), Amazon (reported value: $100,001-$250,000), Microsoft (reported value: $250,001-$500,000), as well as big pharma corporations such as Johnson & Johnson (reported value: $50,001-$100,000), along with Covid vaccine producing biotech companies.

Lander's neoliberal views were reflected in his alliance with Larry Summers, the former Harvard University President and economic advisor to the Clinton and Obama administrations. In a 2011 conversation hosted by the think tank Brookings Institution, Larry Summers and Eric Lander highlighted their shared ideology when it comes to "innovation," labor matters, and the need to maintain US hegemony worldwide. (For example, when it came to US corporations exploiting workers abroad, Lander said: "Why doesn't Apple produce its iPods and iPads in the United States instead of employing three-quarters of a million people in China?...The most consistent reason was that we can't find the types of workers we need. It's not low wages because, in fact, for many of these products, the wage is a relatively small part of the overall cost of the product.")

415 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02142

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