Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Awards $3 Million Grant to the Institute for Advanced Study
The Institute for Advanced Study has received a $3 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support one-year fellowships for assistant professors in the Institute’s School of Historical Studies. The donation will be matched by $3 million funded from the $100 million challenge grant provided by the Simons Foundation and the Charles and Lisa Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences to initiate the Institute’s current $200 million campaign to strengthen its endowment. This will create a $6 million Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships for Assistant Professors Fund to provide a permanent endowment for fellowships to enable early career scholars to work at the Institute at a critical point in their careers.
The Mellon Foundation has been funding fellowships at the Institute for historians in the early stages of their careers since 1996. The new grant will provide stable and secure funding for the program, enabling future generations of scholars to benefit from the Institute’s unique environment, where they are free to pursue long-term goals away from the teaching and administrative demands of university positions, and to interact with the Institute's permanent Faculty and other more senior colleagues.
“The Institute is deeply grateful to the Mellon Foundation for its commitment to this fellowship program over many years, and for now providing a generous grant that will secure its permanent endowment,” said Peter Goddard, Director of the Institute. “The Foundation’s support has enabled scholars of exceptional promise to hold fellowships at the Institute, greatly strengthening our academic community and enhancing their own development as historians.”
Since the inception of the program, some 44 scholars have benefitted from the Mellon Foundation fellowships for assistant professors. These fellows have come from many institutions and a diverse range of fields of historical study. Vimalin Rujivacharakul, a current Mellon Fellow who came to the Institute as an Assistant Professor at the University of Delaware, has used her time at the Institute to develop a complex study of a set of pictorial diaries of a Japanese architectural historian who traveled the world at the turn of the twentieth century. “A transdisciplinary project like this is normally a challenge to launch, especially for an early career scholar with a full-time teaching responsibility,” said Rujivacharakul, who has now been promoted to Associate Professor. “Not only did the Mellon fellowship enable me to take a yearlong leave to work on this project, but it also allowed me to gain access to excellent research resources. I have also been inspired by ideas garnered at seminars and lunchtime conversations; some sparked new perspectives and some redefined my original thinking.”
Many former Mellon Fellows recall their time at the Institute as key to the development of their courses of study and their careers. “My time at the IAS was one of the most intellectually stimulating and productive periods of my life,” said Lauren Minsky, an Assistant Professor at New York University Abu Dhabi and a recent Mellon Fellow. “My fellowship allowed me the crucial opportunity to research, think, read and reflect for a full year without the teaching and administrative commitments that come with regular academic life. I also had the invaluable opportunity to interact with other scholars from a wide range of fields and disciplines as colleagues and friends. It is impossible to fully express just how important and meaningful this opportunity was.”
About the Mellon Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, formed in 1969 by the consolidation of foundations established by the children of Andrew W. Mellon, supports five core program areas: higher education and scholarship; scholarly communications and information technology; art history, conservation and museums; the performing arts; and conservation and the environment. The Foundation develops thoughtful, long-term collaborations with grant recipients and invests sufficient funds for an extended period to accomplish the purpose at hand and achieve meaningful results.
About the Institute for Advanced Study
The Institute for Advanced Study is one of the world’s leading centers for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. The Institute exists to encourage and support fundamental research in the sciences and humanitiesthe original, often speculative thinking that produces advances in knowledge that change the way we understand the world. Work at the Institute takes place in four Schools: Historical Studies, Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Social Science. It provides for the mentoring of scholars by a permanent Faculty of no more than 28, and it offers all who work there the freedom to undertake research that will make significant contributions in any of the broad range of fields in the sciences and humanities studied at the Institute.
The Institute, founded in 1930, is a private, independent academic institution located in Princeton, New Jersey. Its more than 6,000 former Members hold positions of intellectual and scientific leadership throughout the academic world. Some 33 Nobel Laureates and 38 out of 52 Fields Medalists, as well as many winners of the Wolf or MacArthur prizes, have been affiliated with the Institute.