December 16, 2005
The Kavli Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) share a common interest in the nurturing of young scientists. Now the pair have joined forces through a $5 million gift from the Foundation to support the NAS's Frontiers of Science symposia. Since 1989 these symposia have been offered by the NAS, which give the best young scientists the opportunity to learn about new research and meet new colleagues in a relaxed, informal setting.
Although the annual symposia will be renamed The Kavli Frontiers of Science of the National Academy of Sciences (KFOS), the mission will remain the same. Life is full for these young scientists, who are generally under the age of 45. There are long days conducting research, teaching classes, and guiding graduate students, followed by long nights writing research papers and grant applications. That leaves little time to meet new colleagues, form new collaborations, or stay current about research outside their own scientific niche.
"We are extremely pleased to form a partnership with the National Academy of Sciences in support
of the Frontiers of Science Symposia," says 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."
“Fred Kavli and the Kavli Foundation stand out as innovators in finding important new ways to
stimulate science in the 21st century,” says 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.”
At the symposia, speakers are encouraged to direct their talks on their own work to colleagues
outside their field. By explaining their own research, the promise it holds and the questions to be
answered, it's hoped that interdisciplinary collaborations may be sparked.
Begun in 1989, the Frontiers of Science symposia annually selects 80 young scientists 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.
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. Content will include a searchable database of past symposium participants to help alumni maintain contact and find new collaborators well after their symposium has taken place. This resource will continue the Academy’s practice of making archived versions of both the audio and slide presentations from past symposia available publicly. Those resources will now also be linked to the Kavli Foundation’s web site as
well as to the Academy’s outreach programs.
"This alliance between the NAS and the Kavli Foundation is a perfect fit on many levels," says Fred Kavli, the founder and chairman of the Foundation. "The topics at the seminars frequently cover our areas of intellectual interest, it fosters interdisciplinary research at the international level, and it reaches out to K-12 schools. We are excited to help bring together outstanding young scientists from all 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."
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.
The Kavli Foundation, established in 2000, 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 research areas.