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Withers helps establish new $400m science institute at Caltech

17 January 2024 | Applicable law: US | 1 minute read

International law firm Withers has advised scientist, founder and philanthropist Ross M. Brown on a ground-breaking project to establish the Brown Institute for Basic Science at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), with the university taking on the administration of the Brown Investigator Award.

 The Award is designed to spur transformational discoveries in basic sciences that will ultimately benefit humanity. It aims to fill a funding gap for established researchers who have bold and creative ideas for which traditional grants and funding aren’t available.  

The Institute will grant eight or more awards each year, of up to $2m each. Caltech, whose scientists have previously received the Award, are no longer eligible now that Caltech is administering the program. 

Elizabeth Bawden, partner in Withers’ Los Angeles office, comments: “This is an exciting gift and a new type of philanthropy. It is the first time I have seen a philanthropist develop a successful and innovative program and then entrust it to a top tier institution to administer for the benefit of others. The project gives reach and longevity to Mr. Brown’s long-term aims to fund research which benefits humanity at large and will provide a powerful example to other philanthropists. 

Mr. Brown founded Cryogenic Industries in the 1960s, a successful group of businesses providing equipment and services to industrial gas and hydrocarbon companies. He sold the business in 2017 and set up the first iteration of the scientific award program which was administered by his private foundation.

 Elizabeth adds: "I was thrilled to play a role in the creation of this innovative initiative and really enjoyed the challenge of translating the concept into a practical plan. I hope and expect this gift to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs to think more boldly about ways to carry out their own philanthropy.”

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Related links:

California Institute Of Technology Receives $400 Million Gift From Ross M. Brown – Forbes

Caltech to Administer National Investigator Awards Program for Recently Tenured Faculty in the Physical Sciences with $400 Million Gift from Ross M. Brown - Caltech

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.


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