John P. Schaefer Award Announcement Starts the Centennial Celebrations in Tucson
Tucson-based Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA) launched its 100th year celebrations at a special luncheon in its home community on Feb. 16, 2012. The event drew more than 250 state and local well-wishers from business, academia and government.
At the opening event of the Centennial, RCSA President James M. Gentile announced that the foundation would revive a distinguished tradition from its history – the awarding of a national prize to a leading scientist for breakthrough discoveries. Originally called the Research Corporation Award, it will be renamed the John P. Schaefer Award – in honor of the former President of the foundation from 1982 to 2005 and of the University of Arizona from 1971 to 1982.
Dr. Schaefer is now Chairman of the Tucson-based LSST Corporation, which is managing a global consortium of scientists and engineers to construct the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope in Chile, and president and CEO of REhnu Inc., a company that is working to mass-produce the concentrator systems.
The award will be jointly endowed by RCSA and the Frederick Gardner Cottrell Foundation, an affiliate of Research Corporation Technologies – all based in Tucson. Research Corporation Technologies is a technology investment and management company that provides early-stage funding and development for promising biomedical companies and technologies. It focuses on technology investments with origins from universities and research institutions worldwide, and it shares its founder, Frederick Gardner Cottrell, with RCSA.
The $100,000 award will celebrate scientific discovery for a new century. A selection panel of distinguished scientists is now being created, and the first winner will be announced in 2014. Previous winners of the Award under its earlier name (between 1925 and 1969) included such renowned scientists as Ernest Lawrence, Francis Crick and James D. Watson.
“The Schaefer Award will recognize and raise awareness of the importance of high-risk high-reward research,” said RCSA President James M. Gentile. “It will be presented to the originators of discoveries judged most likely to lead to major breakthroughs in science and technology. It will honor high risk that looks as though it will produce high reward in terms of scientific and technological innovation.”
In the event’s keynote address, former congressman Sherwood Boehlert, longtime chair of the U.S. House committee on science and technology, praised RCSA, the nation’s second-oldest foundation, for its “century of success.”He acknowledged RCSA’s major, ongoing role in “encouraging risk-taking, supporting early career scientists and building a community of innovators that crosses scientific disciplines.” Boehlert stressed “the absolute national imperative” of what RCSA is doing and has done for 100 years -- investing in science R & D and contributing to the advancement of STEM -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. “If only the of the rest of the country were doing what is being done here in Tucson, it is not an overstatement to say the nation, indeed the world, would be better for it,” Boehlert said.
In recognition of the 100th anniversary, RCSA received congratulatory letters from Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva and Senator Jon Kyl. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer proclaimed Feb 16, 2012, as Research Corporation for Science Advancement Day in Arizona. Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild proclaimed the day as Research Corporation for Science Advancement Day in the City of Tucson.
The 100th anniversary commemorative book, 100 Years of Supporting Science Innovation, was presented at the Tucson event.
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