American husband and wife philanthropists are to make a multi-million pound gift to the University of Cambridge to enhance the teaching and research of its prestigious Economics Faculty.

This transformative gift will help Cambridge maintain its world-class position as well as its distinguished heritage in economics.

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz

Bill and Weslie Janeway have agreed to donate $27 million (£17.5 million) to the Faculty of Economics, part of which will create a new Fellowship at Pembroke College..

The proposal, which will go for approval by the Regent House, the University’s governing body, later this month, is to establish the Janeway Professorship of Financial Economics within the Faculty, with a linked Fellowship at the College, and to establish the Janeway Fund for Economics.

The Fund will provide support in perpetuity to an Institute for fundamental research in economics. This Institute will provide funding for postdoctoral fellows, doctoral and research students, visitors and international conferences.

Cambridge economists have made substantial contributions to the subject over the last two hundred years. Distinguished figures include Thomas Malthus, Alfred Marshall, John Maynard Keynes, Frank Ramsay, Richard Stone, James Meade, Amartya Sen and James Mirrlees.

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, the Vice-Chancellor, said: “This transformative gift will help Cambridge maintain its world-class position as well as its distinguished heritage in economics.”

Bill Janeway said: ”Our gift celebrates and extends Cambridge’s renewed leadership in new economic thinking and, especially, supports the reunion of the disciplines of economics and finance.”

Professor Sanjeev Goyal, Chairman of the Faculty of Economics, said: "This generous gift from Bill and Weslie Janeway will allow us to push the boundaries of teaching and research as a world leading centre in economics.”

The Master of Pembroke College, Sir Richard Dearlove, said: “Pembroke is very grateful to Bill and Weslie Janeway for establishing this Fellowship in Economics in the College to encourage both research and teaching.  It will greatly strengthen our commitment to the subject.”

Bill Janeway has been an active venture capital investor for more than 40 years. During that time he built and led the Warburg Pincus Technology Investment team that provided financial backing to a series of companies making critical contributions to the internet economy, including BEA Systems, Veritas Software and, more recently, Nuance Communications, the speech recognition company. He remains actively engaged as a Senior Advisor and Managing Director at Warburg Pincus.

Janeway received a Ph.D in Economics from Cambridge University where he was a Marshall Scholar at Pembroke College. His doctoral study on the formulation of economic policy following the Great Crash of 1929 was supervised by Keynes' leading student, Richard Kahn (author of the foundational paper on "the multiplier."). With his wife, Weslie, Janeway went on to found the Cambridge Endowment for Research in Finance. Currently he serves as a Visiting Scholar in the Economics Faculty of Cambridge University.

Janeway is a director of Magnet Systems, Nuance Communications, O'Reilly Media and a member of the Board of Managers of Roubini Global Economics. He is a member of the board of directors of the Social Science Research Council, and a co-founder and member of the Governing Board of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET). He is the author of Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy: Markets, Speculation and the State, published by Cambridge University Press in 2012.

Weslie Janeway has an extensive background in philanthropy, frequently with an emphasis in science. She is president of the Pyewacket Foundation, which supports young investigators in the natural and social sciences as well as community and cultural organizations in New York City. She is currently vice chair of The Jackson Laboratory, and served for six years as Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Rockefeller University and the Board of Managers of the New York Botanical Garden, where she serves on the science committee. She is an honorary member at Robinson College at Cambridge and a Companion of the University of The Cambridge Guild of Benefactors.

Ms. Janeway holds a bachelor’s degree in government from Barnard College and a master’s in politics from Brown University. When she and her husband moved to England in 2006, Ms. Janeway studied genetics at the University of Cambridge and she joined the lab of Roger Pederson, a stem cell scientist. During the academic year, Ms. Janeway lives in Cambridge, where she is a sabbatical visitor in the Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine, working with Mark Kotter, a neurosurgeon focused on adult central nervous system stem cells and their precursors. When in New York, she volunteers in Frederick P. Rose Professor Mary E. Hatten’s Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology making the vectors used to transfer genetic material.

She also coauthored the 2008 cookbook Mrs. Charles Darwin’s Recipe Book based on Emma Darwin’s personal notebook found in the Cambridge University library.

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