Generous donation sees fund established for global research

Generous donation sees fund established for global research

Fund to fuel research into climate action, refugee movement politics, systemic injustice

A new fund has been established within the Global Challenges Program at the University of Wollongong (UOW) thanks to a generous donation from two young philanthropists.

The Olivier Ferrer Fund will allow researchers at UOW to address some of the most pressing issues facing the global community.

Olivier Ferrer was a French artist, musician, painter and philanthropist. The generous gift has come from his family through the distribution of his estate.

An Olivier Ferrer portrait.

In March 2020, applications for funding will open for researchers undertaking impactful global research in the areas of climate action, inequality and injustice, and the politics of refugee and migrant movements in an era of populist nationalism.

The funding pool will grant researchers the opportunity to make a tangible impact in vulnerable communities and has been established to reduce inequalities in the world.

The fund aims to address the Building Resilient Communities challenge.

Global Challenges Executive Director Senior Professor Chris Gibson said the donors’ determination to facilitate significant change in the world aligned perfectly with the vision of Global Challenges.

“The donors came to us looking for bold ideas that would make a tangible difference in vulnerable communities; they unequivocally want to shake the global tree,” Professor Chris Gibson said.

“The donors have made it clear that they’re not looking for incremental change. They want to really push the boundaries and look at these core, systemic causes of disadvantage and how we can boldly address them from different perspectives. That’s incredibly exciting.”

UOW Advancement Director Monique Harper-Richardson keenly awaits the outcomes of the new partnership. 

“The donors are enormously passionate and courageous, and they don’t want to wait to make positive change in these humanitarian issues that are close to their hearts,” Ms Harper-Richardson said.

“It’s extraordinary that they actively sought us out from the other side of the world as a partner that shared their ideals and goals and could help them bring about this fundamental change.

“Philanthropy is about the opportunity to do things that you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to do. In supporting unconventional research that may otherwise not receive funding, they are enabling our best minds to come together to genuinely drive thought leadership and transformation for humanity. We’re enormously grateful, and deeply inspired by just what this partnership could create.”

The Olivier Ferrer Fund also seeks to promote internationalisation, with a commitment to fund projects with international collaboration, and to align research efforts with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal targets and indicators.

The donors wish to remain anonymous, and for the amount donated to remain private.

About Global Challenges

UOW’s Global Challenges Program (GCP) is a strategic whole-of-University response to the most pressing local and global issues. The program is designed to harness the expertise of world-class researchers to address complex, real-world problems – to transform lives and regions.

GCP provides a well-established successful framework to embed specific philanthropically funded initiatives, with complimentary goals.