York University receives US$1M gift for new premier science fellowship program


 TORONTO, October 24, 2016 – York University announced today that Jim and Marilyn Simons have donated US$1 million to fund postdoctoral fellowships in the Faculty of Science at York University. The funding boost will be used to create the new “York Science Fellows” program. The York Science Fellows program will fund at least 12 two-year postdoctoral fellowships, each valued at $72,000 per year, including contributions from the Faculty of Science and host faculty members.

“York is first rate,” said Jim Simons. “The science is outstanding and they have a world-class faculty. When I visited I was really impressed by the diversity of the student body, many of who are first in family to go to University. This is an encouraging phenomenon—and it is especially uplifting in these times.”

“We all know the importance of the postdoc and mentoring experience and we are pleased to help expand the opportunities for young scientists and researchers at York,” said Marilyn Simons. “York is a place that embodies our values of excellence and aligns with our belief that when we invest in talented young scientists, we invest in our understanding of our world. It is our hope that such knowledge will shape a future that is beneficial to people and our planet.”

Postdoctoral fellowships are essential research opportunities that enable early-career scientists to pursue exciting science and establish themselves as independent researchers. Fellowships are critical to the success of the scientific enterprise by fostering new discoveries and enhancing collaborations.

“On behalf of York University, I wish to express our gratitude to Jim and Marilyn Simons for this generous gift to support postdoctoral fellowships in our Faculty of Science,” said Mamdouh Shoukri, President and Vice-Chancellor, York University. “This is a particularly meaningful contribution as it provides the University with the means to attract and retain world-leading science fellows who will accelerate discovery in their fields.”

The gift helps to address a gap that limits the number of top-tier postdocs that Canadian universities can attract.

“We have the expertise and infrastructure to provide terrific training opportunities for postdoctoral fellows, and this generous gift will allow our labs to attract the world’s best talent,” said Ray Jayawardhana, dean of the Faculty of Science, York University, “By providing promising young scientists with the chance to work with leading investigators at York, we are able to invest in their success, and enhance the culture of breakthrough research. “

Earlier this year Jim Simons received an honorary doctorate of science from York University. Dr. Simons is an accomplished mathematician and businessperson, and an active philanthropist supporting research in fundamental science and mathematics.  He received his PhD in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley and served on the faculty of Stony Brook University. His most influential research involved the discovery and application of geometric measurements called Chern-Simons invariants. He is the founder and board chair of Renaissance Technologies LLC, and also the founder and board chair of Math for America, a non-profit set up to promote math teaching in public schools. He and Marilyn manage the Simons Foundation, a charitable organization that they founded to advance research in the basic sciences.

Marilyn Simons is the President of the Simons Foundation. She received a PhD in economics from Stony Brook University and has more than 25 years of experience actively supporting non-profit organizations in the State of New York. In addition to her work to advance basic science research, she has been involved in boosting K-12 education for underserved communities.

York University recently launched “Impact: The Campaign for York University”, a $500-million fundraising and alumni engagement campaign. The campaign aims to mobilize new ways of thinking, which includes investing in the bright minds that drive innovation and jump start solutions to pressing challenges. The creation of the York Science Fellows program directly supports that priority. For more information about the fellowships, please visit: http://science.yorku.ca/YorkScienceFellows.

York University is known for championing new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-discipline programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 26 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 295,000 alumni. York U's fully bilingual Glendon campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.


Media contact:
Gloria Suhasini, Media Relations, York University, 416 736 2100 ext. 22094, suhasini@yorku.ca