In a new and generous act of personal philanthropy, Mike Lazaridis has provided an additional $50 million (Canadian) to Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI). This private donation increases his personal contributions to $150 million in the research institute.
The private funding announcement, delivered by The Honourable John Wilkinson, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation, was celebrated by over 600 people just prior to a PI Public Lecture. The donation was acknowledged by all dignitaries representing the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada, important members of a public-private partnership that fund the scientific research and outreach operations.
Dr. Neil Turok, the incoming Executive Director of Perimeter Institute, said, “Mike Lazaridis and his colleagues, and the Governments of Canada and Ontario, have shown exemplary vision in creating the Perimeter Institute. More than any other field, theoretical physics epitomises the power of mathematical thinking to understand and predict the natural world. PI's brave mission, to stimulate the next great breakthrough, will attract brilliant students and leading researchers from the world over to Waterloo, encouraging ambitious, innovative approaches. The outcome cannot be predicted with certainty. But the journey will be exciting, with many positive spinoffs. And success will be priceless."
Speaking at the event on behalf of the Government of Ontario, The Honourable John Wilkinson, Minister of Research and Innovation said: “Ontario’s $3B Innovation Agenda focuses on our government acting as a catalyst to support our top researchers and entrepreneurs – extraordinary people like Mike Lazaridis who are leading the way to turn groundbreaking ideas and innovation into Ontario’s next generation of jobs. Ontario’s commitment to fundamental and applied research has not only been informed but also inspired by Mike’s personal commitment to innovation, and his contributions to the Perimeter Institute. That’s why our government has already invested over $65M to support this important initiative. This new investment will strengthen the Institute and the government-industry partnerships that have made it possible, and help us to continue to attract the world-class talent and the scientific knowledge Ontario needs to compete in the 21st century.”
On behalf of the Government of Canada, The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of Industry, sent these words, “Mr. Lazaridis is one of Canada’s most significant science and technology (S&T) leaders and is making an extraordinary contribution to further strengthen our country’s S&T capacity. His personal commitment to the Perimeter Institute has enabled Canada to attract the best researchers in the field of theoretical physics. The recent nomination of Mr. Neil Turok as the new Executive Director of the Institute is one of many examples of this success. The Government of Canada is an important partner in the development of the Perimeter Institute, having renewed public funding in March 2007 to further propel the scientific research and outreach activities at international levels. In keeping with the government’s S&T strategy, the Perimeter Institute continues to provide the country with a competitive advantage in the area of basic research, pushes the frontiers of knowledge, attracts highly qualified researchers, promotes the nation’s world class excellence abroad, and shares the joys of scientific research, discovery and technologies with Canadians from coast to coast. Perimeter Institute is highly regarded as an international focal point for scientific inquiry, and the Government of Canada has been very pleased to be a partner and help accelerate the pace of research and outreach activities of this organization through its contribution of $50 million (See March 2007 Announcement). The vision and role of Mike Lazaridis in the partnership have been central, including his advocacy on behalf of basic research and education, his leadership at the Institute, and overwhelming financial support that now totals $150 million in personal philanthropy. On behalf of the Government of Canada, it is a pleasure to acknowledge Mike’s steadfast commitment, contributions, and to reaffirm our belief in a partnership that is successfully positioning Canada with the highly qualified researchers and the scientific knowledge we need to compete in the competitive world of ideas and innovation.”
Mike Lazaridis, the founder and Chairman of the Board of Perimeter Institute, thanked all national, provincial, regional and municipal partners for their commitment to scientific research and their direct role in shaping the institute. He also acknowledged those in wider society who engage in the outreach activities. Among many comments and conversations that evening, he said, “Though Perimeter Institute began as my dream, it exists because of a shared commitment by all of the partners. Partners who know that today’s scientific research will seed tomorrow’s biggest innovations. The power of human understanding and new ideas has a long and proven history in transforming society – such as Maxwell’s unification of electricity and magnetism, and Einstein’s insights about the nature of space, time, and light. Today’s scientists are pushing our fundamental understanding even further. They are working on the most challenging problems we have ever known and they are calculating new solutions that, over time, will improve our society – intellectually, materially, and by stimulating future generations of researchers to dig even deeper. These are exciting times in science and we have the good fortune to propel new ideas right here in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It is an important mission I feel passionate about and wish to support. Finally, all of us at Perimeter wish to thank you – the students, teachers and members of the general public. Your enthusiasm for science provides constant motivation to our researchers, outreach staff, and the partnership. Collectively, we all share in the grand quest to research, discover, and innovate.”