Finance & Investments

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is the nation’s largest private supporter of academic biomedical research. As a medical research organization, the Institute must spend at least 3.5 percent of its endowment each year on direct medical research activities and related overhead, exclusive of grants and investment management expenses.

The endowment is the Institute’s principal source of funding. The investment objective is to manage the endowment in a prudent manner that will fund the Institute’s research and grants programs in perpetuity. On August 31, 2011, the endowment was approximately $16.1 billion.

Disbursements chart

Disbursements in Fiscal Year 2011

Disbursements during the fiscal year totaled $905 million, including $825 million for scientific research and $80 million for grants for science education. Over the past five years, disbursements by the Institute totaled over $4 billion.

Scientific Research

HHMI’s research activities are conducted principally at Institute laboratories at medical centers, teaching hospitals and universities in the United States by investigators who hold faculty appointments at those host institutions. These individuals, together with their support staffs, are HHMI employees and are compensated directly by the Institute. Investigators may spend up to 25 percent of their time on teaching, administration, and other activities that benefit their institutions.

The Institute also conducts research at its Janelia Farm Research Campus in Loudoun County, Va., where Institute researchers are focused on identifying the general principles that govern how information is processed by neuronal circuits, and developing imaging technologies and computational methods for image analysis.

At the end of the fiscal year, the Institute employed more than 420 scientists at over 70 academic medical centers and Janelia Farm.

As of August 31, 2011, the Institute’s investment in laboratory space, equipment, and other property amounted to approximately $1.7 billion, with an estimated replacement value of $2 billion.

Research chart

Science Education

Through its grants program, the Institute supports science education at all levels, from the earliest grades through advanced research training. The Institute disbursed $70 million to support the activities of 419 grantees during fiscal year 2011.

Education chart

Endowment and Financing

The Institute’s endowment is managed under the direction of its Vice President and Chief Investment Officer. Approximately 83 percent of the endowment is invested by external fund managers; the remainder is internally managed. External managers are used principally to manage alternative investments, including hedge funds, private equity, and derivatives.

At the close of fiscal year 2011, the endowment value was approximately $16.1 billion, an increase of $1.3 billion from the end of fiscal year 2010.

Endowment chart

The composition of the Institute’s endowment by investment category on August 31, 2011, is reflected in the graph below

Allocations chart
Statement of Financial Position
Assets 2011   2010
Cash and Cash Equivalents $ 706   $ 733
Investments 16,350   15,018
Investment and currency receivables, and other assets 326   182
Laboratory space, equipment, and other property—at cost, net of accumulated depreciation and amortization 855   867
Total Assets 18,237   16,800
Accounts payable, accrued expenses, and obligations $ 358   $ 348
Grants commitments 110 155
Investment purchases payable, repurchase obligations, short sales, and currency payables 706 544
Notes and bonds payable 1,323 1,323
Total Liabilities 2,497 2,370
Net Assets $ 15,740   $ 14,430

Financial Information

The Institute employs the firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as its independent auditor. The audited financial statements of the Institute for the year ended August 31, 2011, and the independent auditor’s report thereon are available on the Institute’s Web site at, or they may be obtained by writing to:


Howard Hughes Medical Institute

4000 Jones Bridge Road

Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815-6789

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