Since 1930, the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), one of the world’s leading centers for basic research, has served as the preeminent model for protecting and promoting independent inquiry, prompting the establishment of similar institutes around the world, and underscoring the importance of academic freedom worldwide. A private institution located in Princeton, New Jersey, IAS has no formal links to other educational institutions. Current philanthropic support and a reliable stream of endowment-generated revenue enable the Institute’s impartiality, which allows its 28 permanent Faculty and about 200 annual researchers (known as Members), who are visionary leaders in their fields, to freely determine the course of their study.
Revolutionary and evolutionary, the IAS mission and culture have produced an exceptional record of achievement. Among its Faculty and Members are 33 Nobel Laureates, 41 of the 56 Fields Medalists, and 15 of the 16 Abel Prize Laureates, as well as many MacArthur Fellows and Wolf Prize winners. The Institute’s storied history (Albert Einstein was one of its first Professors, followed by Kurt Gödel, John von Neumann, and many other luminaries) highlights the astounding effectiveness of the IAS model, dedicated to supporting curiosity‐driven basic research rather than predetermined outcomes. IAS‐supported research, which provides the foundations for progress in knowledge and applications, is exceptionally forward looking. Some past examples include the development of one of the first stored program computers and the structure (von Neumann architecture), which has influenced the development of today’s computers and formed the mathematical basis of computer software; the foundations of game theory and much of the basis of modern theoretical meteorology; and pioneering theories in the natural sciences, from string theory and astrophysics to systems biology, and their increasing interactions with mathematics.
Firmly rooted in the future, the Institute’s work points the way to deeper discoveries and breakthroughs ahead. Current IAS research in science and mathematics involves new ideas in cosmology and string theory about space and time; the origins and long‐term fate of the universe; the increasing interaction of computational theory with biology, economics, physics, and the social sciences; using topology to understand many different real‐world phenomena, including data analysis, evolution and disease, and robotics; and the development of computer proof verification to avoid mathematical mistakes.
The Institute actively supports the development of the next generation of scientific and academic leaders and sustains a worldwide community enriched by the IAS experience. Each year brings a new international mix of young postdocs and mid‐career and senior‐level researchers to interact, explore, take risks, share, and discover. Members take their IAS experience forward, to their home institutions where they hold professorial appointments, sharing not only a multitude of perspectives but also new methods of discovery, and creating an exponential impact at top research and teaching institutions internationally. Every dollar given to the Institute has a tremendous multiplier effect, influencing universities, programs, and fields of study and inquiry around the world.
From the start, the Institute’s independence and excellence have relied on philanthropy. Unlike universities, IAS has neither tuition nor intellectual property income. Philanthropy plays a critical role in bringing Members to IAS at a time of decreasing and uncertain government and corporate support for basic research.
By investing in the IAS Fund for Basic Research, philanthropists will be part of the Institute’s next generation of donors who have invested in the Institute’s rare and vital combination of immediate impact and returns, which play out over decades and centuries. This most rewarding adventure is eighty‐five years strong and aimed squarely at facilitating new knowledge and the discoveries of tomorrow.
PURPOSE AND FOCUS:
Breakthrough ideas are fragile and those who work toward them benefit immensely from the Institute’s finely tuned environment, which requires great care and substantial resources—from the stipends provided to IAS Members each year, along with their offices, housing, and administrative and research support, to the many opportunities for formal and informal interaction where researchers share their ideas, struggles, and successes. The IAS Fund for Basic Research will provide funds for Member stipends and associated costs, as well as workshops, symposia, and other academic activities vital to the IAS experience.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE:
The Fund will support IAS scientists and mathematicians, who range from young postdocs to distinguished mid-career and senior-level researchers from around the world.
APPLICATION AND REVIEW:
Awards will be distributed under the guidance of the Institute’s Director to IAS scientists and mathematicians whose work furthers long-term knowledge and introduces new ideas and fields of inquiry.
TYPE OF SUPPORT:
The Institute’s greatest need is operating support for IAS researchers who are pursuing some of the deepest and most difficult questions in science and mathematics. With no tuition income and limited government support, the Institute’s independence and excellence rely on philanthropic generosity.
For an inside view of the Institute for Advanced Study, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCFP9F7Tbr4.