Press release – October 27, 2021
James and Marilyn Simons, the co-founders of the Simons Foundation, have recently pledged 25m€ to support IHES over ten years: this is a record gift both for the Institute and for fundamental research in France.
James and Marilyn Simons have supported the Institute since the early days of its fundraising efforts. Having already given more than 25m€ overall, they are the Institute’s main donors. To acknowledge the great generosity they showed during the first fundraising campaign, the Institute’s most iconic building was named after them and is now called the Marilyn and James Simons Conference Center.
This new exceptional gift from the Simons Foundation International is intended primarily for the Institute’s scientists, at all levels of their careers. In addition to doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships, the funds will support a prestigious position for a talented young scientist with an outstanding track record, as well as allow leading researchers to spend long sabbaticals at the Institute.
This grant will also allow IHES to continue to develop initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in mathematics and theoretical physics, by raising awareness of these issues within the scientific and mathematical communities as well as at the Institute. It will also contribute to the financing of projects that promote the dissemination of science and knowledge to the general public.
A significant portion of the donation, given more specifically by Simons Foundation International, will also strengthen the Institute’s endowment to ensure its financial independence and stability over the long-term.
On top of being major donors, the Simons are personally involved in ensuring the success and development of the Institute. James Simons has been a member of the IHES Board of Directors since 2014. At the end of 2021, James and Marilyn Simons will succeed Michael R. Douglas as co-presidents of Friends of IHES, the IHES partner association in the United States.
Frédérique Vidal, French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, praised James and Marilyn Simons’ commitment: “This major gift to one of the gems of Université Paris-Saclay, IHES, is a tribute to the dynamism and attractiveness of research in mathematics and theoretical physics in France, which are recognized and valued internationally. We thank the Simons Foundation for its support, which helps to strengthen our ties with our American partners and collaborators”.
“We are delighted to have stood by the Institute’s side for over 20 years. We know that basic research is crucial to the development of our society. We’ve always believed that,” say James and Marilyn Simons.
David Spergel, president of the Simons Foundation, adds: “We are glad to renew and strengthen our support for IHES so that it can continue its essential role as an intellectual center for mathematics and theoretical physics.”
“This is a historic gift, the result of a long-term relationship between IHES and the Simons. It is another step towards financial independence, which is essential for an institute such as ours,” says Marwan Lahoud, President of the IHES Board of Directors.
“In addition to being major donors, Jim and Marilyn have always had the Institute’s best interest at heart. It is also thanks to their encouragement that we have been able to push our ambitions further and enjoy such success in our fundraising endeavors, some of which is relatively recent and marked by new major corporate and individual donors,” comments Emmanuel Ullmo, Director of IHES.