In 1932, Emile Francqui and Herbert Hoover jointly decided to set up a Foundation, to which they entrusted an important capital. This Foundation was intended to « promote the development of higher education and scientific research in Belgium ». It was Herbert Hoover who insisted that this Foundation should bear the name of Emile Francqui in order to make the memory continue to the man who had done so much for his country and for science.
The Francqui Foundation was established by a Royal Decree of February 25, 1932, as a Foundation for Public Utility.
The purpose of the Francqui Foundation is to encourage the prestige of the unselfish fundamental investigation. To this end it grants undeniable moral support to our scientists. The articles of association clearly state that its objective is to « promote the development of higher education and scientific research in Belgium ». Implicitly, this also means that inter-university cooperation is encouraged.
The Francqui Foundation works to make this objective a reality around four major initiatives:
1.The Francqui Prize is meant to recognize the merit of a young Belgian scholar. The Prize represents an important financial amount, but it also has an irrefutable prestige by the presentation of the Prize by the King himself.
2.The Francqui Chairs: each University may annually propose to the Foundation to organize one or more cycles of lectures on a specific topic. The Francqui Foundation will invite a Belgian or international professor who will occupy this Chair and will organize a top-level educational cycle in his field.
These Chairs have the advantage that they encourage exchanges between Belgian Universities. The inaugural lesson of such a cycle is usually the opportunity to bring together all the personalities of the discipline concerned and to emphasize this cooperation.
3.The International Francqui Professor of Chairs: The possibility exists to invite foreign scholars each year for a three to six-month stay (« Sabbatical »). These Chairs are divided as follows: one for the Exact Sciences (mathematics, physics, chemistry and related); one for the Human Sciences (literature, philosophy, art and related) and one for the Biological and Medical Sciences. These Chairs must be requested by two or more Universities. The holder of such a Chair stays at one of them but divides his activity over several institutions.
This should allow us to strengthen scientific cooperation with foreign countries and to expand the horizons of our young university staff.
4.The Francqui Foundation works together with the Belgian American Educational Foundation, Inc. (B.A.E.F.), in the program of scholarships for young Belgians who wish to perfect themselves by staying at an American university. The Foundation provides the necessary for one year.
* * *