The David and Lucile Packard Foundation recently chose 16 of the nation’s most outstanding young scientists and engineers to be this year’s class of Packard Fellows. The Fellows, whose disciplines range from computer science and mathematics, to astrophysics, to chemistry and molecular and cell biology, and hail from many of the nation’s top institutions of higher learning, have each been awarded a grant of $875,000 over a five-year period in order to further their research. (See David and Lucile Packard Foundation: Grants for Science Research).
“The Packard Foundation believes deeply in the power of science and engineering research and is delighted to support these creative, young scientists. Their independent, exploratory research will generate new knowledge, spark fresh thinking and produce ideas that can improve the human condition,” said Lynn Orr, Keleen and Carlton Beal Professor at Stanford University, and Chairman of the Packard Fellowships Advisory Panel.
David Packard recognized that the success of his company was made possible in large part because of the research and development that was done in university laboratories, and this fellowship program, which began in 1988, has been his way of giving back, and ensuring that America continues to be a leader in producing scientific and engineering breakthroughs. “David Packard believed one of the best ways to make progress as a society and as a nation is to give talented people the resources they need to accomplish their work and then get out of the way to let them do it,” said Orr.
The program provides flexible funding to promising young professionals early in their careers, giving them the freedom to take risks and explore new frontiers in their chosen fields. Candidates are nominated by their universities, and recommended by a panel of internationally recognized scientists and engineers before being approved by the Packard Foundation Board of Trustees. Nominees must be faculty members at their respective universities, eligible to serve as lead investigators, and be in the first three years of their faculty careers. (Read Packard vice president, Chris DeCardy's IP profile).
Since its inception, the program has awarded $330 million to 505 scientists and engineers from 52 of the country’s most prestigious universities, and is among the nation’s largest non-governmental fellowships. Packard Fellows have gone on to receive many additional awards and honors, including the Nobel Prize in Physics; the Fields Medal; the MacArthur Fellowships; and elections to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.