$11M Bequest Will Advance Interdisciplinary Science at Carnegie Mellon University

A generous gift from the late Carl and Amy Jones to Carnegie Mellon University will provide the Mellon College of Science (MCS) with significant resources as it creates the future of science through interdisciplinary collaborations. The $11 million bequest will create an endowment to support research, partnerships and education at MCS for decades to come. 

The Joneses characterized themselves as contemplative people in their decision-making, and their bequest followed numerous conversations with university leaders and staff about their vision and how to structure a planned gift to achieve their goals. Years before their passing, the Joneses had reached out to Carnegie Mellon to discuss their interest in advancing interdisciplinary studies and scholarship in the sciences, saying that Carnegie Mellon was "the one place that can champion this concept." 

"Carl and Amy Jones truly understood the vision that Carnegie Mellon has for the future of science," said Curtis A. Meyer , interim dean of MCS. "Their foresight and generosity will benefit our faculty and students for generations." 

Carnegie Mellon has long been known for its interdisciplinary approach to research. Scientists in MCS’ Departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Mathematical Sciences and Physics often pursue groundbreaking research through collaborations with their peers in the university’s other schools and colleges, including the College of Engineering, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and School of Computer Science. 

The university recently embarked on an ambitious future of science initiative that will accelerate the university’s leadership in scientific discovery and education through cross-disciplinary collaborations, specifically those that combine the foundational sciences with automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and data science. 

The Joneses’ gift will support three avenues for promoting interdisciplinary science at the university: a professorship, a research fund and a lecture. 

The Carl & Amy Jones Professorship in Interdisciplinary Science will support a faculty member who has a primary appointment in the Mellon College of Science and a secondary appointment in one of the university’s other schools and colleges. This professorship will allow the university to recruit and retain innovative researchers working in important areas of the sciences. A search for the inaugural Jones Professor has begun, led by Professor and Department Head of Chemistry Bruce Armitage. 

The Carl & Amy Jones Endowed Interdisciplinary Fund  will support early-stage interdisciplinary research, serving as a pathway to future, larger grants from other funding sources. The fund will first be used to support research that uses the Carnegie Mellon University Cloud Lab. Set to open by early 2024, the remote-controlled, automated lab is the first of its kind at a university. The Jones Fund will provide researchers with time to run experiments in the Carnegie Mellon Cloud Lab and collect data that can be used as a proof-of-concept for future grant applications. 

The Carl & Amy Jones Lecture in Interdisciplinary Science  will bring a prominent speaker to CMU’s Pittsburgh campus each year to discuss their work in interdisciplinary science. The first Jones Lecture was held on Sept. 27 and

The Joneses’ bequest is the latest gift to be announced as part of the university’s Make Possible: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University . The campaign’s supporters are accelerating the university’s ambitious strategic priorities for initiatives across its seven colleges and schools. To date, almost 63,000 supporters have contributed $2.19 billion to CMU through the campaign.

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