George Soros, a Hungarian-born investor active in promoting free and open societies in Central and Eastern Europe through his philanthropy, has announced a $100 million donation to support scientific research in the countries of the former Soviet Union. His donation will establish an International Science Foundation for the Former Soviet Union.

Although details about the foundation's staff and procedures remained sketchy when Soros announced the donation at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., on December 9, he made it clear that he envisions a grant-making body loosely modeled on the United States' National Science Foundation. It would leapfrog the hierarchical structure of science that existed in the former Soviet Union, in which senior scientists got money to disburse to more junior colleagues. Instead, the new foundation plans to make grants to individual scientists based on merit.

"I very much hope the foundation will work to the transformation of...

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