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Presidential Innovation and Excellence (PIE) Fund Investments

December 5, 2022

To All Faculty and Staff:

When the Presidential Innovation and Excellence (PIE) Fund was announced in December 2021, it presented exciting possibilities to invest in our ambitions and respond to society’s greatest needs. Today, I am pleased to share an update on our investments that put bold new opportunities within reach.

The $75 million-dollar PIE Fund is fully supported by philanthropic gifts with the goal of enhancing our externally funded research on campus. The Simons Foundation provided $50 million of these funds, with a matching challenge that attracted an additional $25 million from other generous donors. Our philanthropic partners believe as wholeheartedly as I do that Stony Brook is an institution that can develop innovative solutions to the world’s most critical challenges. And this is exactly what is happening.

Initial PIE Fund investments support our faculty’s leadership in several of Stony Brook’s current areas of strength, such as climate science, clean energy, and quantum information science technology.  This funding is dynamic, however, and will evolve. There are opportunities for expansion into areas like aging, artificial intelligence, cancer, addiction, and drug discovery, among many others.

If we are to propel the university to even higher levels of excellence, we will need to set ambitious goals and make significant investments, like those we’ve made to reimagine Governors Island as a global hub for climate science research and innovation. Simply stated, we could not have competed and advanced as a finalist in this process without the financial support provided by the PIE Fund. We anticipate the City of New York and the Trust for Governors Island will provide a project update by the end of the year. As a result of this investment and collaboration, Stony Brook is well on its way to taking its place as a global convener at the forefront of climate solutions.

Another significant investment of PIE funds includes our commitment of over $10 million to support the next evolution in quantum mechanics by enabling Quantum Information Science and Technology (QIST), which addresses how the fundamental laws of quantum physics can improve information acquisition, computation, transmittal, and processing. More details are forthcoming regarding our development of a university-wide consortium to help develop faculty-led, cutting-edge centers that can elevate Stony Brook’s role in the future of QIST and push boundaries in the field. Notably, this investment has also been instrumental in leveraging $6.5 million of state funding from the Long Island Investment Fund. We are grateful to Governor Hochul and the State of New York for this transformative support, which will enable Long Island to be the future epicenter of quantum networking.

In order to increase Stony Brook’s impact and prominence on the world stage, we must prioritize our ability to both attract exceptional faculty and provide critical resources toward their groundbreaking research. To that end, PIE funds were instrumental in the recruitment of world-renowned faculty, including Nobel Prize-winning physicist Barry Barish and Ivet Bahar, the new director and chair of the Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology.  PIE funds also enabled several seed grants to support collaborative work between Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory, as well as important renovations to the Stony Brook Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility.

Our designation as a flagship institution and the number one public university in New York State is proof that innovative ideas, and the exceptional scholars behind them, are accelerating our goal to push Stony Brook University toward our next level of excellence. We must continue to examine, define, and live up to the incredible standards we’ve set. I have no doubt that together we will meet—and, in fact, exceed—these expectations.

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Maurie McInnis