Kavli Foundation to sponsor Frontiers of Science

December 16, 2005

WASHINGTON -- The National Academy of Sciences is pleased to announce a $5 million gift from the California-based Kavli Foundation to support its Frontiers of Science symposia. For 17 years, these symposia, which focus on the development of promising young scientists, have been held annually at the National Academies' Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in Irvine, Calif. In recent years, the Academy has expanded the symposia internationally, organizing bilateral meetings that include young researchers from China, Germany, India, and Japan. The grant will support THE KAVLI FRONTIERS OF SCIENCE OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES for the next 10 years.

The Kavli Foundation and the Academy share a strong common interest in nurturing young scientists, supporting interdisciplinary research, and enhancing public understanding of science. The many demands placed on young researchers -- long work hours, grant proposal writing, and classroom teaching -- leave limited time to meet new colleagues, form new collaborations, or keep current on the latest research outside their own field. The Kavli Frontiers of Science (KFOS) symposia are intended to bring promising up-and-coming researchers out of their labs, allowing them time to learn and network with each other.

Begun in 1989, the Frontiers of Science symposia annually give approximately 80 young scientists -- most of them under the age of 45 -- a chance to learn about advances and opportunities in other fields through a series of seminars on cutting-edge areas of science, followed by intensive group and one-on-one discussions. Attendees are selected from young researchers who have already made recognized contributions to science, including recipients of Sloan, Packard, and MacArthur fellowships, winners of the Waterman award, Beckman Young Investigators, and Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

By giving these young scientists the opportunity to explore the latest science at its frontiers, as well as to exchange information informally about their own work, the symposia foster valuable future interdisciplinary collaborations among our next generation of scientific leaders.

"Fred Kavli and the Kavli Foundation stand out as innovators in finding important new ways to stimulate science in the 21st century," said National Academy of Sciences President Ralph J. Cicerone. "We thank them for their generosity and foresight in supporting the growth of some of our nation's most gifted young scientists."

"We are extremely pleased to form a partnership with the National Academy of Sciences in support of the Frontiers of Science symposia," said Kavli Foundation President David Auston. "By emphasizing interdisciplinary topics of current interest, these symposia are indeed an especially effective means of fostering interactions among young scientists both within the U.S. and with their colleagues in other countries."

To enhance the long-term impact of the KFOS symposia, the Academy is establishing a Web-based "virtual community" for the more than 2,700 alumni from past symposia. They will able to access a searchable database of past symposium participants to help maintain contact and find new collaborators well after their symposia have taken place. This online resource will continue the Academy's practice of making archived versions of both the audio and slide presentations from past symposia available publicly. The resource also will now link to the Kavli Foundation's Web site as well as to other Academy outreach programs.

"This alliance between the NAS and the Kavli Foundation is a perfect fit on many levels," said Fred Kavli, the founder and chairman of the foundation. "The symposium topics frequently cover our areas of intellectual interest and foster interdisciplinary research at the international level. We are pleased and excited to help bring together outstanding young scientists from different fields and from all over the world to exchange ideas, learn from each other, and establish mutual bonds. We are delighted to form a partnership with the Academy in this activity."
Established in 2000, the Kavli Foundation supports basic research in the fields of nanoscience, astrophysics, and neuroscience, primarily through an international program of research institutes and the support of endowed chairs. In 2008 it will inaugurate the Kavli Prizes, three $1 million awards to recognize scientists who have made seminal advances in these three areas.

The National Academy of Sciences was chartered by Congress and signed into being by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It is an honorific society of distinguished scholars dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Today, the National Academy of Sciences together with the National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council comprise the National Academies, which advise the federal government and the nation on critical issues of science, engineering, and medicine.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

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