Howard Hughes Medical Institute 2010 Annual Report

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is the nation’s largest private supporter of academic biomedical research. Classified as a medical research organization by the Internal Revenue Service, the Institute is required to 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 maintain its purchasing power and will fund the Institute’s research and grants programs in perpetuity. On August 31, 2010, the endowment was approximately $14.8 billion.

In October 2009 the Institute issued $23 million in tax exempt bonds to fund the construction of 60 apartment housing units for visiting scientists and employees at the Janelia Farm Research Campus.

Disbursements in Fiscal Year 2010

Disbursements during the fiscal year totaled $889 million, including $738 million for HHMI scientific research and $89 million for grants for science education and international research scholars. Over the past five years, disbursements by the Institute totaled nearly $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, Virginia, 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 fiscal year 2010, the Institute employed more than 379 scientists at over 70 academic medical centers and Janelia Farm.

As of August 31, 2010, the Institute’s investment in laboratory space, equipment, and other property amounted to approximately $1.6 billion, with an estimated replacement value of $2 billion.

financials chart

Science Education

Through its grantmaking program, the Institute supports science education at all levels, from the earliest grades through advanced research training. It also directly supports scientists conducting research in the biological sciences in selected foreign countries. The Institute disbursed $89 million to support the activities of 533 grantees in 29 countries during fiscal year 2010.

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 2010, the endowment value was approximately $14.8 billion, an increase of $0.8 billion from the end of fiscal year 2009.

The composition of the Institute’s endowment by investment category on August 31, 2010, is reflected in the circular graph above.

Statement of Financial Position

Assets 2010   2009
Cash and Cash Equivalents $ 732   $ 755
Investments 15,018   14,202
Investment and currency receivables, and other assets 186   191
Laboratory space, equipment, and other property—at cost, net of accumulated depreciation and amortization 867   865
Total Assets 16,803   16,103
Accounts payable, accrued expenses, and obligations $ 348   $ 306
Grants commitments 155 132
Investment purchases payable, repurchase obligations, short sales, and currency payables 547 423
Notes and bonds payable 1,323 1,300
Total Liabilities 2,373 2,161
Net Assets $ 14,430   $ 13,852

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, 2010, 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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Year in Review

Year in Review

HHMI welcomed new leaders and opened a new wing at its headquarters in Chevy Chase, MD.

Annual Reflections

Annual Reflections

HHMI President Robert Tjian’s annual letter, accompanied by reflections from Trustee Hanna H. Gray.

Research Highlights

Research Highlights

Explore the work of HHMI scientists through an interactive feature that highlights some of the year’s notable discoveries.