Last month, Princeton University announced a $5.6 million gift from alumnus William H. Janeway to establish a fund supporting collaborative teaching and research in finance and other areas of economics. The William H. Janeway Fund for Bridging Finance, Monetary Economics, and the Real Economy "will support a broad array of teaching and research efforts, including courses at the doctoral level that transcend traditional, narrowly defined categories such as finance, macroeconomics, and economic theory."
The collaborative and interdisciplinary aspect of the fund sounds reminiscent of the kind of innovative and multidisciplinary projects we see funded all the time in health and science research, but this could be precisely what's required to get a better understanding of complicated economic issues. Certainly, events of the past decade have underscored just how important such knowledge is. As Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber puts it: "The financial crisis of 2008, the Great Recession that it triggered, and their aftermath have highlighted the crucial interplay between finance and other fields of economic research."
A little bit about donor William Janeway: The Princeton Class of 1965 valedictorian is currently a senior adviser and managing director at Warburg Pincus, a private equity firm. He's also the author of Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy, named one of the best economics books of 2012 by the Financial Times. Janeway also has a doctorate in economics from the University of Cambridge. He's been at Warburg Pincus since 1988.
With his deep economics and finance background, this gift is right up Janeway's alley. It also sounds like his alma mater, Princeton, was already doing some of the work he wanted to support. As he puts it: "Princeton's economics department is world-leading and its Bendheim Center for Finance pioneered the analysis of bubbles and crashes even before the global financial crisis of 2008," Janeway's words serve as a good reminder that donors are often drawn to an institution by existing work already being done there, which an influx of funds can bolster.
Janeway's gift also provides funding for "visiting faculty members, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students, as well as travel and technology."