NEST (New Europe School for Theoretical Biology and Ecology) is the first privately endowed foundation for the advancement of theoretical biology in Europe. Prof. Eörs Szathmáry using the New Europe Prize (awarded to him in 1996 for higher education and research by the network of the Institutes for Advanced Study from Stanford) as seed money to set up the foundation. NEST's main goal is to support young talents in the field in Eastern Europe, especially Hungary (Hungary has demonstrably the most promising stock of theoretical biologists in Eastern Europe). The development in the field contributes to the basic understanding of life phenomena and the intellectual development of the region.
Eörs Szathmáry is a former premanent fellow of Collegium Budapest, and Professor at the Department of Plant Systematics, Ecology and Theoretical Biology.
NEST gives stipends, support for short visits abroad, and hosts guests from more developed countries in the field of specialization of the fellows in a given year. NEST provides acceptable working and financial conditions for Hungarian theoretical biologists, especially to young people, thus hampering significantly the brain drain in this particular field.
Board of Trustees
President: Prof. Dr. Balazs Gulyas Karolinska Institut, Stockholm, Sweden
Prof. Dr. László Papp, Museum of Natural Sciences, corr. mem. of the Hungarian Academy
Prof. Dr. Pal Mezey, Department of Chemistry, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Prof. Dr. Zoltán Varga, Dept of Mathematics, Agricultural University, Gödöllő
Former member: Prof. Dr. Frigyes Károlyházy, Dept of Theoretical Physics, Eötvös University
Academic Advisory Board
Prof. Dr. Béla Novák, Dept of Biochemistry, Budapest University of Technology (president)
Dr. Tamás Czárán, Ecological Modelling Research Group, Dept of Plant Taxonomy and Ecology, Eötvös University
Dr. István Scheuring, Ecological Modelling Research Group, Dept of Plant Taxonomy and Ecology, Eötvös University
Goals of NEST
The complementary (partly overlapping) goals of NEST can be summarised as follows:
to keep up the excellent theoretical biology work in Hungary;
to provide adequate working and financial conditions to at most five (mostly youngish) theoretical biologists (referred to as fellows from now on);
to stop, or at least slow down, the expected brain drain of theoretical biologists that would ensue in the near future;
to support, in full, short visits (up to 1 month per person per academic year) of the fellows to Western research groups working on similar problems;
to cover, in full, short-term visits of foreign fellows to the NEST, whose research programme is closely related to those of the resident fellows;
to organise and co-host (partly international) meetings of theoretical biology;
to serve as an organising centre for biological thinking in general in the country;
to provide an eminent example of a lively, non-feudalistic small research institute;
to facilitate the creation of a Department of Theoretical Biology at the Eötvös University of Budapest.