500,000 USD for Being a 'Genius'

Twenty four laureates of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, whose prize is also called the genius grant, have recently been announced

Camilo Jose Vergara; the photographer who took a series of WTC pictures; Brian Taker, the scientist investigating the aseismic stability of buildings; choreographer Liz Lehrman; and other scientists and art figures are among the laureates. Poet Joseph Brodsky was among the first laureates of the foundation.

Laureates of the foundation are paid a prize of 100,000 USD every year for five years. The foundation has a representative office in Russia as well, which also works in other countries of the former Soviet Union. The foundation assigns grants for special projects and supports groups or organizations and even individuals who conduct research and practical projects in top priority fields. A contest for individual research projects is held every year to determine the winners. The aim of the contest is to support original scientific and analytical research essential for solving pressing problems in the region. Grants are assigned to support research projects and publications in independent countries and for the distribution of materials by scientists, journalists, and activists in spheres that are of a top priority for the foundation. The program is designed to support investigations for the sake of new knowledge and also to inform the community and institutions in charge of making political decisions of this new knowledge.

All projects should satisfy one of the program’s priority spheres: Society and law (legal culture development, application of legal mechanisms to human rights protection, social security, the law from the point of view of common use, public access to information); Human rights (protection of civil freedoms, economic and social rights, rights of women and ethnic minorities, influence of economic changes upon women and ethic minorities, equal rights for women and ethnic minorities to participate in public life, women’s abortion rights, monitoring of human rights violations); Environment and society (maintenance of steady development, support of biological variety, participation of the community in protection of ecological systems, legal, economic, and social aspects of environmental protection and resource management, creative approaches to effective energy production and consumption); peace and security (development of broader security concepts for better understanding of causes and consequences of all conflicts, including environmental degradation and use of natural resources, religion, ethnicity, migration and irregular economic development, control over armament and disarmament, weapons proliferation and regional conflicts). Projects in the sphere of physical, chemical, and biological sciences, which have no practical application or no significance for the creation of political approaches to problems, are not accepted. Applications for financing journals, for the circulation of newspapers and magazines, projects that are also part of complex research projects, and projects within the framework of Ph.D. theses are not accepted.

Russia makes claims of its own regarding the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which are similar to the claims by the George Soros Foundation, and says that both of them pursue exclusively American interests, not Russia’s. To tell the truth, can any other interests be pursued with American dollars?

Yelena Kiseleva PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/culture/2002/09/27/47665.html

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