Author Archives for Jason Maier

Leadership Transition at the Science Philanthropy Alliance

March 12, 2021 5:40 pm Published by Leave a comment

A note from Alliance board chair Harvey V. Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D.

Valerie Conn is stepping down from her position as president of the Science Philanthropy Alliance. After nearly six years at the Alliance and more than a year as its president, Valerie wants now to pursue other ways to contribute to science, higher education, and society.

The Science Philanthropy Alliance has grown and matured as a membership organization over the last half dozen years. Valerie’s contributions have been paramount to the success of the organization. We are grateful for her dedicated service and wish her great success in the next phase of her career.

Marc Kastner, first president of the Alliance, has graciously agreed to return as interim executive officer of the Alliance while the board undertakes a search for our next leader.

In the meantime, the board looks forward to the Alliance’s continued work with members to enhance philanthropy for science and to improve our respective organizations’ abilities to meet our goals in science philanthropy.

Brown Science Foundation Announces Inaugural Recipients of the Brown Investigator Award

March 8, 2021 8:36 am Published by Leave a comment

The Brown Science Foundation today announced physicists David Hsieh of Caltech and William Irvine of the University of Chicago as recipients of the inaugural Brown Investigator Award. The award, which recognizes curiosity-driven basic research in chemistry and physics, supports the investigators’ research with $2 million over five years to their respective universities. Hsieh and Irvine were nominated by their institutions and chosen from a candidate pool of mid-career scientists at 10 top-rated research universities.

“Even among a strong group of candidates, Hsieh and Irvine stood out for their scientific vision and willingness to take risk,” said Marc Kastner, senior science advisor for the Science Philanthropy Alliance and chairman of the foundation’s scientific advisory board, which selected the winners. “They’re clear examples of America’s reservoir of mid-career scientists with the proven track record and restless minds needed to advance daring ideas.”

The Brown Science Foundation, an Alliance member, is dedicated to the belief that scientific discovery is a driving force in the improvement of the human condition. Established in 1992 by Ross M. Brown, the foundation announced its invitation-only Brown Investigator Award program in 2020 with plans to make eight awards annually by 2025. The program supports the often-overlooked resource of mid-career physics and chemistry researchers in the U.S.

“The Brown Investigator Award is a welcome addition to the science funding ecosystem,” said Lynn Orr, Beal Professor Emeritus at Stanford University and a member of the panel that recommends selections for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s Fellowships in Science and Engineering. “Its focus on curiosity-driven basic research in the physical sciences and mid-career investigators fills an important, under-funded space. Putting unrestricted research resources in the hands of truly creative investigators is certain to yield benefits that leverage the talents of students in their research groups and move the science in important new directions.”

Read more about Ross Brown’s philanthropic journey in our ongoing series: Journey of a Philanthropist (Part I, Part II, Part III).