The Esther A. & and Joseph Klingenstein Fund, Inc.
Home Description Finances Eligibility Fellows Advisory Comitee How to Apply Contact Us Conference News
Klingenstein Fellowship Awards in the Neurosciences


The Esther A. & Joseph Klingenstein Fund and the Simons Foundation announce the opening of its 2020 competition for research fellowships in the neurosciences.

Previously known as the Klingenstein Fellowship Awards in the Neurosciences, this year's awards are the seventh from this joint project of the Klingenstein Fund and the Simons Foundation. The awards are among the nation's oldest and most illustrious fellowships for young investigators in neuroscience research.

Aimed at advancing cutting-edge investigations, the awards are presented to highly promising, early career scientists. At this critical juncture in young investigators' careers, when funding can be a challenge, the fellowship awards promote higher-risk, and potentially higher-reward, projects.

We mourn the passing of John Klingenstein, who died on August 19, 2018, after a long illness. Born and raised in New York City, he attended Deerfield Academy, Yale and the University of Michigan where he received a master’s degree in engineering. His first job was at Westinghouse where he was a member of an elite team that designed jet engines. He continued his engineering career at Ross and Roberts before joining Wertheim & Co. an investment firm co-founded by his father, Joseph Klingenstein. He was a partner of Wertheim until the family interest was sold in 1987, after which he became a managing member of the money management firm, Klingenstein, Fields & Co. LLC.

As the leader of his family’s philanthropy for over 40 years, he felt that while charity came from the heart, philanthropy was a serious business that required the discipline and rigor of a business. He was patient with his giving, understanding that worthwhile things take time to develop. His interests ranged broadly, but he placed particular emphasis on private secondary school education and neuroscience basic research.

To promote neuroscience research, John established the Klingenstein Fellowship Awards in Neuroscience (now called the Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Awards in Neuroscience) which has, since its inception in 1981, helped advance the work of many of the country’s finest neuroscientists. “John shepherded this program to become a gold standard in biomedical philanthropy, which has had an outsized effect on progress in neuroscience research,” said Charles Gilbert, Chair of the program’s neuroscience advisory committee.

John led the effort to establish the Klingenstein Center at Columbia Teachers College in 1977, which offers leadership programs and degrees for independent school teachers and administrators.

He put more stock in people than in programs, young people in particular. He was loyal and trusting and, although he never expected anything in return, he always got back respect and admiration, often friendship. He was a gentleman, honorable in everything he did. Always direct and straight ahead. Modest to a fault, he was a master at deflecting praise and generally gave credit to others.

He served on many boards. Virtually all his fellow board members could be counted on to observe that when he began a question, as he invariably did, with “I don’t know anything about the subject,” you knew right away that he knew more than you did and that he was about to raise a critical point, one for which, you were uncomfortably certain, you were ill prepared.

His passion was his family. He met his wife Patricia of 66 years when he was at Yale and she at Smith. He loved her and he leaned on her, as she on him. Although not always emotive, he was unmistakably and unreservedly proud of his four children. They survive him as does his wife, a daughter in law, brother Frederick, 10 grandchildren and one great grandchild.