Saudi Foundation Invests $1 Billion a Year in Human Longevity

For years, the conversation about global population has been about our impending inability to feed ourselves, because there’ll be too many of us. Then the narrative changed to the reverse; a population implosion and the average age of humankind reaching into the non-productive 60’s.

These have been the headline grabbers. And they’ve been legitimate, too. But lest you believe the future implications for life on earth are as two-dimensional as the above suggests, we have a third narrative for you.

It’s not about too many people. Nor is it about too few young people.

It’s about improving the quality and productivity of older people’s lives.

So it some way, the new narrative is about dealing with the inevitability of aging, but ensuring that age is not a barrier to a continued vital life.

And an organization in Saudi Arabia is bankrolling global science’s research in geroscience, the study of human longevity. The organization is called the Hevolution Foundation and it has earmarked $1 billion a year to develop new treatments for aging.

A New Opportunity for the Kingdom

Even to those who know the Kingdom, geroscience research is not something one would associate with how it parts with its cash. Insanely large investments in football players, maybe. Incalulable amounts to create giga-projects like NEOM, perhaps. But a Saudi Foundation donating a billion a year to American universities and startups?  

A component in a marketing charm offensive would be the default answer to this question. And there’s probably a bit of truth there. But only as a byproduct. The main reason the money’s going to America is because that’s where geroscience has an infrastructure of learning and medtech startups. So Hevolution is playing the long game, so to speak. The moral ownership of geroscience and human longevity will belong to them. And will dovetail with their country’s Vision 2030. You should have a look at it. Of the 100+ Visions 2030, the Saudi iteration is by far the most focused on its own citizens’ upliftment.

One thing’s for sure. There’s going to be a lot more media interest in human longevity once this scientific and technology investment kicks in.

There’s a fantastic series on Netflix right now called Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones. Dan Buettner, a once famous American cyclist, visits communities where the people live extremely long, productive and happy lives, right into three figures. These communities are known as the blue zones. Their secret to longevity? Diet. No prizes for guessing where the beneficiaries of Saudi Arabia’s generosity will be focusing much of their attention.

Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the Tech industry. Keep an eye on our Insights section to stay informed and updated with our daily articles.