About the Foundation


The Kavli Foundation is dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of humanity, promoting public understanding of scientific research, and supporting scientists and their work. The foundation’s mission is implemented through an international program of research institutes, initiatives and symposia in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, neuroscience, and theoretical physics, as well as the Kavli Prize and a program in public engagement with science.


The Kavli Foundation was established in December 2000 by its founder and benefactor, Fred Kavli, a prominent California business leader and noted philanthropist whose foundation is currently actively involved in establishing major research institutes at leading universities and institutions in the United States, Europe and Asia. The Kavli Foundation is based in Los Angeles, California.

To date, The Kavli Foundation has established Kavli Institutes on the campuses of: the University of California, Santa Barbara; Stanford University; the University of Chicago; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the California Institute of Technology; Cornell University; Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands; Yale University; Columbia University; the University of California, San Diego; Harvard University; Peking University; the Chinese Academy of Sciences;  the University of Cambridge; the Norwegian University of Science and Technology; the University of Tokyo; the University of California, Berkeley; Johns Hopkins University; The Rockefeller University; and the University of California, San Francisco.

In addition to the Kavli Institutes, seven Kavli professorships have been established: two at the University of California Santa Barbara, one at University of California Los Angeles, one at the University of California Irvine, one at Columbia University, one at the California Institute of Technology and one at Harvard.


Fred Kavli, a Norwegian-born American, was a physicist, entrepreneur, business leader, innovator and philanthropist. The founder, former chairman and chief executive officer of Kavlico Corporation, he divested his interest in the company and in 2000 established The Kavli Foundation. At the time the company was sold, Kavlico was one of the world’s largest suppliers of sensors for aeronautics, automotive, and industrial applications.

The Kavli Foundation is a private foundation qualified under IRC Section 501 (c) (3).