Cynthia M. Friend serves on the board of the Science Philanthropy Alliance and is the president of The Kavli Foundation. Prior to joining the foundation in January 2021, Friend was a member of the Harvard University faculty since 1982. At Harvard she served in numerous leadership positions, including chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and associate dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She was the first female chair and the first female professor in chemistry at Harvard. Friend also served as director of The Rowland Institute at Harvard from 2013 to 2019, a nonprofit conceived to advance science in a wide variety of fields. She also held the role of associate lab director at SLAC National Accelerator Lab, a preeminent international facility for X-ray science.
As a researcher, Friendâ€™s work focused on addressing global challenges in reducing energy costs and in developing alternative energy sources. She is a member elected to the National Academy of Sciences (2019) and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2018), American Chemical Society (2010) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2009). Currently, Friend serves on the board of directors at Bruker Instruments and as vice chair of the U.S. Department of Energyâ€™s Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee.