Since 2018, the Jean-Marie Lehn Foundation and the University of Strasbourg Foundation have been jointly running a patronage campaign entitled “Tous Nobels!”. The initial objective of attracting donations totalling €50M since 2010 has been exceeded by a significant margin. In total, over €57.5M has been raised, including €14.3M for projects supported by the Jean-Marie Lehn Foundation.
6,000 donors, both companies and individuals, have generously supported the University and the University Hospitals of Strasbourg over the past 12 years, enabling them to eclipse their target of €50M, an unrivalled sum within the sphere of French universities. In the words of the university’s president, Michel Deneken, the success of the campaign is on a par with the University of Strasbourg’s prestige: “It is reasonable to believe that the success of the patronage programme promoted by our two foundations has its source in the reputation of our university. […] Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the work of the foundations, this success now contributes to our influence.”1
The Jean-Marie Lehn Foundation’s mission is to support chemistry research, one of the key research disciplines in Strasbourg. This field of research lies at the heart of the key issues for our society: sustainable development, engineering and health, as well as data processing. These potential applications in strategic domains have attracted major private donors as well as interest from companies. The foundation counts over 50 companies amongst its patrons and has been able to mobilise €14.3M to support the development of the chemistry research cluster.
Some of the donations have been used to fund innovative and creative projects, the drive for excellence and scholarships for deserving students. In parallel, a general fund has been established by the foundation to provide permanent funding for Strasbourg’s researchers. Thanks to the interest earned, this endowment makes it possible to fund numerous chemistry research projects, at the frontiers of biology and physics.
With donations totalling €1.6M, BASF is an historic partner of the Jean-Marie Lehn Foundation. Thierry Herning, president of BASF France, sees the alliance as a means to “support the more rapid emergence of innovative solutions, in line with society’s expectations. Our priority is support for education, the promotion of science and chemistry, and the development of sustainable innovations”.
By distributing the donations and the interest earned by the fund to the laboratories, the foundation is able to support high-risk research that would struggle to attract funding from state bodies. A winning strategy to keep Strasbourg in pole position for chemistry amongst the European Union’s universities.