Importance of the Family Fund to Visiting Scientists

Because it takes extended interactions to substantively explore ideas together and do collaborative work, visits of several weeks to entire academic years are integral to the success of our programs. The Family Fund is a crucial resource for enabling scientists to make these extended visits to the KITP. It is especially crucial for junior faculty, who tend to have young families, and whose participation is especially important to KITP’s diversity efforts. These young faculty members bring scientific talent to the institute and also experience a boost in their professional trajectories due to forming new collaborations and having increased visibility.

In calendar year 2015, we awarded $70,000 from the Family Fund to 33 recipient families. The Fund was established when a loyal housing provider to our visitors donated her home to benefit KITP, and it now receives annual contributions from many donors in the Santa Barbara community, especially Deborah and Doug Troxel.

- Maggie Sherriffs, KITP Program Manager
KITP Newsletter, Winter 2016


Andriy Nevidomskyy, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Rice University, is joined by his family at KITP for a nine week program visit.

“I would not have been able to participate (and coordinate) the Deconstructing the Sense of Smell program at KITP for a reasonable period without the support from the KITP Family Fund… As a result, the family was very settled and happy, which allowed me, as a coordinator, to immerse myself fully into the KITP program for the entire eight week period. In fact, being an experimental (not theoretical) scientist, I’ve never been involved before in such an extended program - and I’ve become a true believer! I would now strongly encourage my colleagues to consider attending these sorts of programs at KITP, and I myself will be glad to come back to KITP. All in all, the Family Fund was crucial for my own attendance, and therefore the Smell 15 program itself, since I was a coordinator.”

- Coordinator in the summer 2015 program, “Deconstructing the Sense of Smell”




Ilya Vekhter, Associate Professor of Physics at Louisiana State University, enjoying time with his toddler at a KITP gathering during his four week program visit.

KITP keeps it in the family! The program logo (above) was designed by Elena Nikanorova who is married to Alexei Koulakov, one of the Program Coordinators for “Deconstructing the Sense of Smell.”

“The Family Fund enabled our family of four to spend seven weeks in Santa Barbara... The time we spent in Santa Barbara was enriching and productive for all of us. I started several new collaborations and worked on multiple papers with colleagues. Scientifically, this was an extremely important and productive visit for me, and the long-term nature of the stay was critical to getting the research off the ground. And this was only possible because the Family Fund enabled me to bring my family along... We are enormously grateful to the KITP and to the Family Fund for all these opportunities.”

- “Deconstructing the Sense of Smell” program participant