The Los Angeles-based W.M. Keck Foundation has announced the successful completion of its Distinguished Young Scholars Program, which over eleven years awarded nearly $55 million to fifty-four of the nation's most promising young scientists.
Launched as a five-year program in 1999, the program was extended in 2004 and 2008, with the goal of giving young scientists the resources they need to pursue potentially breakthrough research projects in biomedical research. The recipients of the awards, many of whom have gone on to publish pioneering work and assume leadership positions in their field, include Xi He at Harvard University, Catherine Simpson Woolley at Northwestern University, Mark Gerstein at Yale University, and Amy Pasquinelli at the University of California, San Diego.
Since the foundation launched the program, two notable funding programs have emerged to provide similar support to young investigators: the Director's New Innovators Award, which was launched by the National Institutes of Health in 2007, and the Early Career Scientist Awards, a $200 million program launched by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2008.
"The results from our Young Scholars program have been extraordinary," said Keck Foundation chairman and CEO Robert A. Day. "The achievements of our Young Scholars have exceeded our very high expectations. We have also been pleased by other sources of funding now available to support young investigators. We are pleased to be able to direct our resources towards new areas of opportunity and inquiry and remain committed to the support of young investigators."