The institut de france: celebrating philanthropy that rewards excellence

Wednesday 7th June: Beneath the carved marble interiors of the dome of the prestigious setting of the Institut de France, the 2017 Foundations Prize awards ceremony took place in an atmosphere of quiet solemnity.


The Foundation for Cardiovascular Research, which also calls the Institut de France home, had the great privilege of being invited to this celebration of learning, the human spirit and philanthropy. Founded in 1795 and comprising five different Academies, the immensely prestigious Institut de France has financially supported endeavours in its various fields of expertise for the last two hundred years. It has done this through foundations which award prizes to recipients chosen by the members of the Academies themselves. In keeping with this heritage, June 7th was an occasion replete with significance and sober-mindedness, marked by the erudition of the male and female Académiciens, who had come dressed in their ceremonial robes.

The meeting was opened by Hélène Carrère d’Encausse, the Permanent Secretary to the Académie française. A speech by Gabriel de Broglie, the Chancellor of the Institute, followed, focusing on the key role that communications now played in philanthropy. Next, Hélène Carrère d’Encausse spoke of the activities and initiatives of the Institute’s various Foundations, as well as their hugely varied commitments. It was a very apt introduction to the official prize-giving ceremony – and an emotional time for the winners, who were so looking forward to seeing their work recognized and celebrated. In total, 8 Grands Prix des Fondations were awarded to 11 prize-winners (3 prizes having joint winners) by the Académiciens.

  1. Prix Christophe Mérieux de la Fondation Mérieux (500 000 €) presented by Alain-Jacques Valleron from the Académie des Sciences to Serge Eholié and Xavier Anglaret for their work in the field of infectious diseases in developing countries.

  2. Prix Scientifique de la Fondation Louis D (450 000 €) presented by Christian Dumas from the Académie des Sciences to Tatiana Giraud for her work on biodiversity.

  3. Prix Scientifique pour la Fondation Lefoulon-Delalande (500 000 €) presented by Alain Carpentier from the Académie des Sciences to Alain Cribier for his work in the field of cardiovascular conditions.

  4. Prix Scientifique de la Fondation NRJ (100 000 €) presented by Yves Agid from the Académie des Sciences to Jean-Yves Delattre for his work in the field of neuroscience.

  5. Prix Scientifique de la Fondation Simone et Cino Del Duca (275 000 €) presented by Gérard Berry from the Académie des Sciences to Laurent Massoulié for his research on ‘networks’.

  6. Prix Humanitaire de la Fondation Louis D (450 000 €) joint award presented by Jean-Robert Pitte from the Académie des Sciences morales et politiques to the Basiliade, l’Arche and l’Ose Foundations for their humanitarian endeavours.

  7. Prix d’Archéologie de la Fondation Simone et Cino Del Duca (150 000 €) presented by Olivier Picard from the Académie des inscriptions & belles lettres to the Thanar expedition for its discoveries in Thassos, Greece.

  8. Prix mondial Cino Del Duca de la Fondation Simone et Cino Del Duca (200 000 €) presented by Hélène Carrère d’Encausse from the Académie française to Benedetta Craveri, Italian writer and academic specialized in 18th century French literature.

The solemn occasion was brought to a close by Hélène Carrère d’Encausse. She reiterated just how crucial a role the Institut de France continued to play in funding scientific, cultural and humanitarian initiatives and schemes in France. France’s reputation is well-deserved in this field, given the fact that between June 2016 and June 2017, 21.41 million euros were awarded by 70 different foundations to organizations in 55 countries, including 80,000 € given by the Foundation for Cardiovascular Research-Institut de France. Long may philanthropy continue to reward excellence!

Some photos of the ceremony:



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