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02/25/2015 - Professor Marc Kastner, Renowned Physicist and MIT Dean, Named President of the Science Philanthropy Alliance

(Originally published by the Science Philanthropy Alliance)

February 26, 2015

The Science Philanthropy Alliance, a coalition of leading nonprofit institutions and foundations dedicated to increasing investment in basic science research, announced today that Marc Kastner will be its first president.

Marc KastnerThe Science Philanthropy Alliance, announced today that Marc Kastner will be its first president. (Image courtesy of Marc Kastner)

Prof. Kastner is a distinguished physicist who recently served for over six years as Dean of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  As president of the Alliance, Prof. Kastner will lead the organization’s efforts to promote philanthropic giving and investment in pioneering science research critical to our long-term economic growth and quality of life. The Alliance seeks to increase philanthropic giving for basic science by an additional $1 billion annually within five years.  It also aims to insure that the scientific enterprise of the country has the scientists it needs, especially younger scientists, and that they are able to take the risks appropriate to discovering nature’s deepest secrets. This effort includes demonstrating the power of scientific discovery and engaging new philanthropists and other non-profit institutions and foundations to support it.

The founding members of the Alliance are the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Kavli Foundation, the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, the Simons Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

“This is a critical time for basic science, with federal support declining in real terms, even as the need for this research is more important than ever for providing the basis of new advances in medicine and technology, providing a deeper understanding of our place in the universe, and attracting young people to study mathematics and science,” said Prof. Kastner. “While philanthropy can never replace federal support for basic research, its role has always been key to progress in science, and that role is now growing.  I deeply appreciate this extraordinary opportunity to fulfill the Alliance’s goal of both broadening and deepening the nation’s philanthropic support for science.”

“From his peers in science to policymakers in Washington, Prof. Kastner ’s ability to lead the charge for fundamental science is widely recognized and lauded,” said Robert W. Conn, chairman of the board of the Alliance and president and CEO of The Kavli Foundation.  “We believe Prof. Kastner is just the right person to lead the Alliance as we strive to significantly increase major private funding of vital scientific research.”

Prof. Kastner has been on the MIT faculty since 1973 and was appointed Donner Professor of Physics in 1989.  He was Director of MIT’s Center for Materials Science and Engineering from 1993 to 1998, Chair of the Department of Physics from 1998 until 2007, and Dean of the School of Science from 2007 until 2013.

Prof. Kastner, who was formerly nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as Director of the Office of Science at the Department of Energy, will begin his appointment as Alliance President on March 15 and will be on leave of absence from MIT.

To learn more about the Alliance, visit: www.SciencePhilanthropyAlliance.org

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