New York, New York – The Science Philanthropy Alliance congratulates Philanthropist and Caltech Alumnus Ross Brown on his generous gift of $400 million to Caltech, carefully designed to advance discovery science by adopting the operation of the Ross Brown Investigators Program. Brown was CEO and founder of Cryogenic Industries, which provided process equipment and services to the industrial gas and hydrocarbon industries. When he sold his company in 2017, he approached the Science Philanthropy Alliance for advice on distributing the largest gift of his lifetime.
“From the beginning, my intent has been to support bold investigations with the potential for transformational discoveries that will ultimately benefit humanity,” said Ross Brown. He added, “The program intends to provide these researchers with the financial resources, and the freedom and flexibility that comes with such support, to carry out this work.”
According to Caltech Provost David A Tirrell, “With this $400 million pledge, Ross is establishing the Brown Institute for Basic Sciences at Caltech and entrusting the Institute with oversight of the Brown Investigator Program (established in 2020), which will foster the vision of the founder.” The Brown Institute for Basic Sciences at Caltech becomes the official home of the Program supporting scientists advancing curiosity-driven fundamental research in chemistry and physics.”
Marc Kastner, External Science Advisor and the first President of the Science Philanthropy Alliance noted, “Witnessing Ross’s exacting dedication in creating this program has been tremendously satisfying. From our first meeting, I knew he was going to make an enormous—and much-needed–impact.” Kastner chaired the Brown Investigator Program Science Advisory Board for the first three years of its existence and will continue in this role.
Caltech will grant a minimum of eight Brown Investigator Awards per year, which will provide each Awardee with $2 million in unrestricted research funding over five years. Caltech will also host an annual symposium for the Brown Investigators.
Sue Merrilees, Senior Director, Philanthropic Advising who detailed Ross’s decision-making process over the course of three blog posts, remarked, “It’s been an honor to help Ross explore his options and a joy to see its culmination, especially knowing how hard he worked to craft a legacy most meaningful to him.”
The Brown Investigator Program is designed to sunset in 2070, by which time it will have supported hundreds of “restless minds” in chemistry and physics at the leading-edge of discovery science.
About The Science Philanthropy Alliance:
The Science Philanthropy Alliance works to advance scientific discovery through supporting visionary philanthropy. By providing advisory services for philanthropists, foundations, and platforms that catalyze connection, awareness, and learning, the Alliance strengthens philanthropic support for science that benefits society and the planet. Learn more at https://sciencephilanthropyalliance.org/.