Schemati of the spin-olarized edge channels in a quantum spin Hall insulator. Schemati of the spin-olarized edge channels in a quantum spin Hall insulator.
  • Written by  Will Snow

The impact of Foundation-funded research


Foundations often choose a mission to provide far-reaching benefits to humanity by making grants that enable cutting-edge research possible. This research, when translated to real-world solutions, creates the exponential "impact" of improving our lives for the future. Let's look at one example.

With funding from the W. M. Keck Foundation, principal investigator Professor Soucheng Zhang and his colleagues Yi Cui and David Goldhaber-Gordon researched novel "topological insulator" materials where electrons move like automobiles on a highway. Spatially separated into different lanes called "autobahn" interconnects, electrons flow avoiding backscattering and the resulting heat dissipation losses. These findings could open the door to new computing devices in the future that do not dissipate heat.

We can see in the Navigator timeline below that in 2010 the Zhang Group had already established a track record of successful projects. Dr. Zhang had just become the Co-director of the IBM-Stanford Center for Spintronics Science and Application Center. The insightful and timely grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation five years ago contributed to the acceleration of innovation in the Zhang Lab toward the development of high performance interconnects for integrated circuits.

Scientists win $1 million for physics research.

Foundations contribute in well-thought-out ways to catalyze research of specific topics of their interest that yield innovations poised to deliver substantial social or environmental benefit. The "impact" of this grant-funded research is when the innovations are picked up by industrial partners and brought to the world as solutions. Buy connecting the dots of repeated successes such as the W. M. Keck Foundation and Stanford University, Visible Legacy helps its users to identify hotspots of innovation.

Soucheng Zhang wins Franklin Medal in Physics.

Visible Legacy Comment

Dr. Zhang was recently awarded the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics, one of the oldest and most prestigious science awards in the United States.

updated 161003.2

Additional Info


source: Keck Foundation Impact Blog
back to top