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Sidney Kimmel Foundation awards $5.5 million to MU scientists

Friday, February 10, 2012 | 4:59 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The Sidney Kimmel Foundation awarded scientists at MU a five-year, $5.5 million gift to help focus on efforts in the search for new energy sources.

The paperwork was finalized two weeks ago after the foundation determined that MU was the best fit for the award. The university then began to establish the Sidney Kimmel Institute for Nuclear Renaissance.

“This gift is unique in two really important ways,” Robert Duncan, vice chancellor for research at MU, said. He said this is the first multimillion dollar gift from someone who isn't affiliated with MU, and to the best of his knowledge, this is the first time the foundation has awarded a grant to a Midwestern university.

Four staff scientists will be supported directly by the grant. Duncan also expects that 10 to 15 post-doctoral students, professors and graduate students will be partially supported by the fund. The scientists will come from various backgrounds including physics, the MU Research Reactor, engineering, material science and chemistry.

The institute will focus on studying the effects of hydrogen when it interacts with palladium, nickel or platinum under extreme heat. Researchers are still unsure as to how the excess heat is created. The institute will focus on the creation of heat, as well as supporting research groups who can make a scientific determination on the findings.

Sidney Kimmel, the founder and chairman of The Jones Group Inc., established the Sidney Kimmel Foundation in 1993. The foundation, along with the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research, has awarded more than $750 million to philanthropic causes. 

“I chose the University of Missouri for this important gift because it is a comprehensive university, experienced in using its deep scientific research capacity across many fields with its firm commitment to serve the public good," Kimmel said in a news release. "This may be futuristic, but when it comes to energy, our future is now.”


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