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Bill Gates nicks Larry Ellison's health center

Diseased one-upmanship

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The Bill Gates-Steve Jobs rivalry may have cooled, but the Microsoft Chairman is still going to toe-to-toe with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. A year after Ellison backed out of his promise to fund a multi-million dollar public health institute at Harvard University, Gates has revived the project at the University of Washington.

On Monday, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it would donate $105 million to the creation of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, "a new research center that will conduct independent, rigorous evaluations of health programs worldwide."

The institute will be run by Dr. Christopher Murray, the same health economist who was slated to run the ill-fated Harvard project.

Ellison promised Harvard what would have been its largest ever gift—$115 million—then backed out of the proposed health center last summer. In May, Murray left Harvard to join the new Global Health Department at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine.

"This generous grant from the Gates Foundation is a milestone for the University of Washington," said university president Mark Emmert in a joint announcement from the university and the foundation. "This is the largest private gift in UW’s history." ®

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