In 1932, Emile Francqui and Herbert Hoover together decided to set up a foundation, which they entrusted with a large amount of money. The Francqui Foundation was founded by Royal Decree of February 1932 under the legal form of an « Institution of Public Utility »(« Etablissement d’Utilité Publique » – « Instelling van Openbaar Nut »). It is not a governmental institution but is ruled by private law.
The purpose of the Francqui Foundation is to encourage the prestige of disinterested fundamental research. It also provides Belgian scholars and scientists with indisputable moral support. The statutes clearly state that its objective is « to further the development of higher education and scientific research in Belgium ». This implicitly means that interuniversity collaboration is also encouraged.
In order to realize this aim, the work of the
Francqui Foundation revolves around four areas of activity :
1.The Francqui Prize is awarded in recognition of the achievements of a young Belgian scholar or scientist. It not only bestows a large sum of money but also irrefutable prestige as it is presented by the King himself.
2.The Francqui Chairs : Each year, each university may propose to the Francqui Foundation the organization of one or more courses of lectures on particular subject. The Foundation will invite a Belgian or foreign professor to hold the Chair and organize an educational course of the highest level in his field.
The added benefit of the « Francqui Chairs » is that they encourage exchanges between Belgian Universities. The inaugural Lecture for such a course is usually an opportunity to bring together all the prominent figures of the field in question and to emphasize this collaboration.
3. The International Francqui Professor Chair : The Board of Directors of the Francqui Foundation has also decided on the annual attribution of International Francqui Professor Chair. This initiative makes it possible to invite a non-Belgian scientist for a stay of six months’ duration (« Sabbatical ») at a Belgian University, in collaboration with the other Universities of the country. During this stay, the invited guest is expected to organize specialized teaching in his field for the specialists who are present at all Belgian Universities. These Chairs are divided as follows : one for the Exact Sciences, one for Human, Sciences, one for Biological and Medical Sciences.
This should facilitate the development of close relations with foreign Universities, and extend the scholarly and scientific horizons of our young assistans.
4.The Francqui Foundation works together with the « Belgian American Educational Foundation, Inc. (B.A.E.F.), in its program of grants for young Belgians who wish to complete their education at an American University. The Francqui Foundation provides the necessary funds to make it possible for ten Belgians, chosen from among the most promising candidates selected by the B.A.E.F., to stay for one year in the United States.
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