Philanthropist to invest two science institutes in China

Fred Kavli, founder and chairman of the Kavli Foundation, will soon launch two research institutes he sponsored, the philanthropist revealed at the 10th meeting of the PCST (Public communication of science and technology) held in Malmo, Sweden.

The institutes – Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University, Beijing, China, and Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics China at the Chinese Academy of Sciences – are the only two in the developing world among the 15 institutes the California, United States-based foundation has supported across the world. Others Kavli institutes include Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science and Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology at Harvard University.

“Although in the level of scientific excellence, China is still not comparable with Europe and the United States, it has developed so fast in recent years. I believe my supporting of the two institutes will corroborate my belief to use basic research to benefit the people,” says Kavli, in the sideline of a PCST session at which he announced the first Kavli Prize.

Seven pioneering scientists in the fields of nanoscience, neuroscience and astrophysics have become the first recipients of the million-dollar Kavli prizes.

Kavli Foundation will give US$3 million to each of the two Chinese research institutes as the first batch of inputs, which will be followed by more operation costs. Douglas Lin, a distinguished professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Yue-Liang Wu of the Institute of Theoretical Physics (ITP) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, will lead the two Kavli China institutes respectively.

While supporting researches, Kavli says he hopes the two institutes he supported could become a model for the developing world scientists to communicate their researches to the public.

“We have required that each of our institutes must communicate their studies to the public to enhance the common welfare. We are to integrate the successful experience of the 13 other Kavli institutes, including their science communication strategies, into the two China institutes to enhance their skills,” Kavli told SciDev.Net.

Jia Hepeng, China Coordinator, SciDev.Net

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