A couple’s passion to see some of the most pressing issues facing our global communities addressed, has prompted them to make a generous and significant financial gift to the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) research capabilities.
Carrying on the values of French artist, musician, painter and philanthropist, Olivier Ferrer – his relatives, who wish to remain anonymous, have continued his legacy by pledging funds from his estate to establish the Olivier Ferrer Fund which will support research with an international footprint over a period of five years.
Facilitated and co-funded by UOW’s Global Challenges Program, the Olivier Ferrer Fund aims to address the Building Resilient Communities challenge which is committed to enhancing community resilience against inequality, discrimination and vulnerability.
Applications for funding will open in March 2020, with a focus on high-impact international research in the areas of leadership integrity surrounding climate action, systemic entrapment, the source of inequality and injustice and the politics of refugee and migrant movements in an era of populist nationalism.
Global Challenges Executive Director Senior Professor Chris Gibson says the brief to UOW is clear.
“The donors came to us looking for bold ideas that would make a tangible difference in vulnerable communities; they unequivocally want to shake the global tree,” he says.
“They have made it clear that they’re not looking for incremental change. They want to really push the boundaries and look at these core, systemic causes of disadvantage and how we can boldly address them from different perspectives. That’s incredibly exciting.”
UOW Advancement Director Monique Harper-Richardson says it’s an exciting new partnership.
“The donors are enormously passionate and courageous, and they don’t want to wait to make positive change in these humanitarian issues that are close to their hearts,” Ms Harper-Richardson said.
“It’s extraordinary that they actively sought us out from the other side of the world as a partner that shared their ideals and goals and could help them bring about this fundamental change.
“Philanthropy is about the opportunity to do things that you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to do. In supporting unconventional research that may otherwise not receive funding, they are enabling our best minds to come together to genuinely drive thought leadership and transformation for humanity. We’re enormously grateful, and deeply inspired by just what this partnership could create.”
Closely engaged with the funding process, the donors will work alongside the Global Challenges team to share their vision and assist with the selection process for the annual distribution of funds.
The Olivier Ferrer Fund also seeks to promote internationalisation, with a commitment to fund projects with international collaboration, and to align research efforts with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal targets and indicators.
UOW’s Global Challenges Program (GCP) is a strategic whole-of-University response to the most pressing local and global issues. The program is designed to harness the expertise of world-class researchers to address complex, real-world problems – to transform lives and regions.
GCP provides a well-established successful framework to embed specific philanthropically funded initiatives, with complimentary goals.