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Achievements and Recognition

Donors to The Rockefeller University Women & Science Initiative generously provide more than $1 million annually to support research and education at the University. Through gifts to Partners in Discovery, Women & Science has:

  • Raised $3 million to establish the REBECCA C. LANCEFIELD PROFESSORSHIP for a senior woman scientist at Rockefeller. Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D., an internationally recognized authority on the genetics of skin and hair, is the first occupant of this distinguished chair.
  • Funded over 240 GRADUATE FELLOWSHIPS and POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIPS. These Women & Science fellowships, awarded annually to some of the University’s most outstanding women Ph.D. students and postdoctoral researchers, are greatly prized by their recipients.
  • Created a SEED FUND FOR GLOBAL HEALTH RESEARCH (2004), which supported the development of vaccines aimed at protecting against HIV infection.
  • Created a SEED FUND FOR CANCER RESEARCH (2005), which provided start-up support for Dr. Paul Nurse’s cancer research laboratory at Rockefeller.
  • Created a SEED FUND FOR NEUROSCIENCE (2006), which supported landmark research by Dr. Paul Greengard. These studies showed that people who suffer from depression may be deficient in a protein called p11—a breakthrough that might lead to the development of improved treatments for depressive illness.
  • Raised $2.6 million for a TENTH ANNIVERSARY FUND (2007), to offer additional Women & Science Fellowships, and provide funds for Faculty Recruitment, the Child and Family Center, Career Development, and Pre-Ph.D. Education.
  • Created a W&S INVESTIGATOR SEED FUND (2008), to enable postdoctoral fellows to pursue independent research by providing them with seed money, beyond their salaries, to engage in novel, risk-taking research.
  • Raised over $5 million for a W&S FUND FOR INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH ON BREAST CANCER (2012), to support Rockefeller scientists engaged in innovative approaches to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of breast cancer.
  • Raised over $2.4 million to create a FUND TO RECRUIT WOMEN FACULTY (2015), to enable Rockefeller to continue to attract the most talented senior-level women scientists to the University.
  • Supported female college students through the SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) program, which prepares undergraduates to meet the challenges of a graduate education in the biological sciences by bringing them to campus for ten weeks of intensive training in laboratory research.
  • Supported female college students through GATEWAYS TO THE LABORATORY. This summer training program provides the opportunity for freshmen and sophomores from groups under-represented in the sciences to gain the skills necessary for admission to—and success in—M.D.-Ph.D. programs.


INCREASING THE NUMBER OF ROCKEFELLER’S WOMEN SCIENTISTS Today 40 percent of Rockefeller’s scientists—including research and clinical scientists, assistant and associate professors, and tenured senior professors—are women. More than 42 percent of the University’s 325 postdoctoral investigators are women. And of the 200 students enrolled in Rockefeller’s Ph.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. programs, approximately 40 percent are women.
PROMOTING THE LEADERSHIP OF WOMEN AT THE UNIVERSITY Women & Science has introduced a number of its volunteers to the University’s BOARD OF TRUSTEES and THE ROCKEFELLER UNIVERSITY COUNCIL, thereby broadening the role of women in the governance and leadership of the University. The number of women Trustees has tripled in the last twelve years. Women now constitute one-third of the Rockefeller Board. The University’s commitment to achieving greater gender balance on the Board of Trustees has sent a powerful signal to potential new faculty that Rockefeller provides an environment conducive to participation—at the highest levels—by women.
SPONSORING LECTURES RELATED TO A WIDE RANGE OF WOMEN’S HEALTH CONCERNS Women & Science was born out of Rockefeller’s longstanding commitment to educating the lay public. Over the years, the initiative has offered many presentations on such topics as heart disease, cancer, and estrogen’s effects on the brain, which have drawn thousands of women to campus. Today, Women & Science includes twice-yearly breakfast programs, evening lectures, and the annual Spring Lecture and Luncheon.
RECOGNIZING OUTSTANDING WOMEN IN BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH The PEARL MEISTER GREENGARD PRIZE, awarded annually by The Rockefeller University, was established by the late Dr. Paul Greengard, who served as the University’s Vincent Astor Professor, and his wife, the sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard. Named in memory of Dr. Greengard’s mother who died giving birth to him, the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize provides recognition for the accomplishments of women in biomedical science.
HOSTING LECTURES RELATED TO NURSING EDUCATION The BEATRICE RENFIELD LECTURE IN RESEARCH NURSING is designed to present topics in clinical research nursing and nursing education. This lecture is made possible by a generous donation from the Beatrice Renfield Foundation memorializing Mrs. Renfield’s philanthropic generosity in the field of nursing.
RECOGNIZING OUTSTANDING FEMALE PHILANTHROPISTS Sponsored by the Women & Science Initiative, the BROOKE ASTOR AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE honors women who further biomedical science through their philanthropy. To date, the award has been presented to:

  • Brooke Astor
  • Gwen Grant Mellon
  • Irene Diamond
  • Constance Lieber
  • Evelyn Lauder