Skoll World Forum 2015 Kicks Off


The 2015 Skoll World Forum kicked off in Oxford tonight with a great “In Conversation With” Jeff Skoll and a panel featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu, his daughter Mpho, Zak Ebrahim, and Ophelia Dahl talking about belief and what keeps them motivated in their social change work. The Forum continues tomorrow and Friday, with live streaming options throughout. You can check out the live stream here and follow events on Twitter with hashtag #skollwf. Hope you can check it out!


Recap: Reinventing Nuclear Security: Big Opportunities for New Partners


The most recent segment of the Reinventors Network series on Reinventing Nuclear Security focused on ways new players who don’t traditionally think of the nuclear security sphere can constructively engage in the space. We are supporting the series via our investment in N Square, a new initiative designed to help bring new ideas and new players to the nuclear security conversation. Below is a short video recap of the session. The next segment, on developing next-generation innovators to support nuclear security, takes place tomorrow, March 3, at 11:00 am PT. Click here for more information.

NHK World Coverage of One Health Participatory Surveillance Effort


NHK, the Japanese broadcasting company, has done a nice segment for its English-language NHK World program on the Participatory One Health Disease Detection (PODD) project we helped launch earlier this month in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It gives a good sense of the mobile app at the core of the effort. Watch it below.

Copyright NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) All rights reserved.

Launch of One Health Disease Detection Project in Thailand


Members of our pandemics team were in Chiang Mai last week for the official launch of an innovative disease detection project. We signed an memorandum of understanding with local government leaders, Chiang Mai University and Opendream (a Thailand-based technology company) for the Participatory One Health Disease Detection (PODD) project, a first of its kind community-based surveillance system. It operationalizes the One Health concept – that human, animal and environmental health are all intimately interrelated. Since the project began in September 2014, the team has developed a mobile application for local volunteers to report sick or dead animals, changes in food prices at markets, and food borne illness. The project team has trained over 300 volunteers from throughout Chiang Mai to use the app and they have already identified an outbreak of avian influenza and several potential cases of rabies from dog bites. Below is Thai public television coverage of the PODD project, which, though in Thai, conveys a sense of the types of animal environments included under the project. The segment starts at 5:30 in the video below, with our Mark Smolinki appearing briefly at the 8:23 mark.

An Alternative Future for the National Labs


The second session in the Reinventors Network series on Reinventing Nuclear Security that we’re supporting focused on how the National Labs system, born of the nuclear age, might look different in the future. It’s an interesting conversation, including former lab workers, academics, nuclear specialists and even a sci-fi writer. You can watch a short recap of that session below.

Recap: Reinventing Nuclear Security Session on Technologies


The recent kickoff session of the new Reinventors Network series on rethinking nuclear security we’re helping support through N Square has now been summarized in an 11-minute recap video.  The session focuses on the potential for novel application of technology to solve nuclear security challenges. Some really interesting insights from a great lineup of futurists and technologists:

Paula Saffo, Technology forecaster, Professor at Stanford University & Futures Track Chair at Singularity University
Reese Jones, Associate Founder at Singularity University; longtime venture strategist
John Perry Barlow, Co-Founder in General & Peripheral Visionary
Greg Petroff, Chief Experience Officer at GE Software
Sean Gourley, Co-Founder & CTO at Quid
Brie Linkenhoker, Director of Worldview Stanford at Stanford University
Erika Gregory, Director of N Square & Host of the Reinvent Nuclear Security series

Watch it here.

Reinventing Nuclear Security


The Skoll Global Threats Fund is supporting the upcoming Reinvent Nuclear Security series of virtual roundtables. This is being driven by N Square, a new collaborative that we’ve helped stand up with the Hewlett and MacArthur Foundations, the Carnegie Corporation, and the Ploughshares Fund, aimed at encouraging new ideas and bringing new players into the nuclear security arena.

Almost 70 years after Hiroshima, the world has managed to avoid nuclear war, but we are far from being out of danger of a nuclear explosion. Despite progress in disarmament since the end of the Cold War, the world still has an estimated 17,000 nuclear bombs.

The Reinvent Nuclear Security series aims to answer the question: How can 21st-century innovation greatly accelerate progress toward the eventual eradication of nuclear weapons while significantly reducing nuclear risk today? Here’s an intro video featuring Valerie Plame, a former CIA agent who worked closely on nuclear issues:

Our first roundtable in the series, Possible Game-Changing Technologies, is scheduled for Jan 20, 2015, at 11:00 am PT. You can get more information on the session here or RSVP on the Google+ event page, here.  I’ll be participating, as will some really interesting folks from the technology world. We hope you join the conversation!

For more information about this series, please visit the series landing page here.


Flu Near You Data Challenge


Since 2011, Flu Near You, a collaboration between the American Public Health Association, HealthMap of Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Skoll Global Threats Fund, has collected weekly reports of influenza-like illness symptoms from volunteers in the United States and Canada. With well over 100,000 user registrations and recently surpassing 1,000,000 total reports, we’ve shown that we really can put the public back into public health.


Now that Flu Near You has demonstrated its current value and future potential as a public health surveillance tool, we’d like to engage researchers, data scientists, statisticians, epidemiologists and others in answering a fundamental question that will guide our continued development of Flu Near You – how many volunteer reports do we need to meet our public health surveillance goals? We’ve worked with Innocentive to develop a challenge to solicit a wide variety of ideas and approaches to answering this question. We would encourage you to take a look here and share widely within your networks.



Ebola: What Should We Do Now?


Dr. Larry Brilliant, our senior advisor and former president who was a key player in smallpox eradication, writes in the Wall Street Journal about what we should do about Ebola and future infectious disease threats. Better detection, new diagnostics, applying new technologies to proven practices like containment, and better cross-border regional collaboration are all important areas where progress in being made, but needs to be accelerated. Read the article here.