News from the National Academy of Sciences

Date: May 3, 2016


NAS Announces New Endowment and Fundraising Campaign in Honor of Ralph J. and Carol M. Cicerone; Simons Foundation to Provide $10 Million Challenge Gift

WASHINGTON – At its 153rd annual meeting, the National Academy of Sciences announced the creation of the Ralph J. and Carol M. Cicerone Endowment for NAS Missions, named in honor of the Academy's president from 2005 to 2016 and his wife. A $10 million challenge grant from the Simons Foundation will launch a special campaign to raise matching funds for the endowment, which will strengthen the Academy and be used to develop and support NAS programs and policy studies on newly emerging topics before they are widely recognized as major challenges to the nation.

“Carol and I truly value the history and work of the NAS,” said Cicerone, who steps down as NAS president in July after serving two terms. “We have been honored to serve the Academy, particularly during a period when the scientific community and the NAS have achieved historic milestones in the midst of growing environmental, economic, and cultural challenges. This endowed fund will help underpin the Academy’s roles: to validate scientific excellence, enhance the vitality of the scientific enterprise, guide public policy with science, and communicate the nature, values, and judgments of science to government and the public. We hope it will provide future presidents with the ability to be proactive in bringing the best of science to bear as new challenges and opportunities emerge.”

The NAS and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are often called upon by Congress and federal agencies to give expert, peer-reviewed advice on critical questions in areas such as energy, climate change, pollution, and human genetics. The NAS endowment also supports this important work, including such landmark studies and projects as the 2015 International Summit on Human Gene Editing, Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future (2005), Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism (2002), and Confronting AIDS: Directions for Public Health, Health Care, and Research (1986).

The mission of the Simons Foundation is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences. Co-founded in New York City by Jim and Marilyn Simons, the foundation celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and – along with the National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Medicine -- provides science, technology, and health policy advice to the nation. To support the Ralph J. and Carol M. Cicerone Endowment for NAS Missions, go to or contact Mark Carter at

William J. Skane, Executive Director
Office of News and Public Information
202-334-2138; e-mail
Twitter: @theNASciences

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