Oliphant Endowment Fund


The OEF serves as the overarching umbrella fund within which more specific individual endowment funds are contained. It serves to support priority teaching and research requirements of the School.

The aim of the fund is to provide much needed resources to strengthen the discipline of physics at ANU through the provision of fellowships and career enhancement opportunities for exceptional academic and general staff as well as students. These programs will connect staff and students with cutting edge international research, and will allow physics at ANU to be enriched by the injection of new ideas in important emerging fields.

The Fund has been established to generate an initial capital fund of $2 million, with a substantially larger longer-term goal. The Endowment is regarded as so important by ANU that both the physics discipline and the University will match contributed funds to treble the value of donations. All contributions are tax deductible. Funds generated by investment will be used to enhance research and student programs in line with the Fund’s objectives.

Gifts and bequests will also be sought to support specific initiatives such as endowed chairs, key facilities and capital works under special agreements, separate from the untied capital fund.

Sir Mark Oliphant

Sir Mark Oliphant was an eminent Australian physicist and one of the founders of The Australian National University. Sir Mark was the founding Director of the Research School of Physical Sciences (now the Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering) a post he held from 1950 -1963.

Why Physics?

Physics is the fundamental discipline underlying all science and technology. It enables us to increase our understanding of both ourselves and of the universe.

In the 20th century physics gave us: x-rays that made medical imaging possible; lasers and electronics that led to computers and revolutionised world communications; aircraft, radio, television and many other developments that would have been inconceivable just a few generations ago. In the 21st century the challenges facing humankind are more daunting than ever, but so are the opportunities to discover and develop totally new technologies. Some of these will be based on quantum mechanics, some on antimatter, and others still, on phenomena as yet undiscovered and perhaps unimaginable.

We will only be able to rise to the challenges of our century by improving our knowledge of the natural world. For example, in addressing climate change, we must better understand the physics of the atmosphere and develop new clean sources of energy. In medicine, further development of new procedures, such as as positron therapy for cancer traetment, will not be possible without advancing the basic physics that underlies them. The communications revolution that is changing the world is driven by physics, and if progress is to continue, research must harness advances in electronic materials, lasers and optoelectronic devices.

Scientists at The Australian National University are currently working on these and many other crucial areas within physics. We hope and believe that with your support, this continuing pursuit of research excellence will improve our knowledge and seed new technologies that will benefit not only Australians, but all humankind.

Contributing to the fund

The Endowment comprises funds held in perpetuity and invested in a manner that protects the principal from inflation. The investment provides a stable income stream for the objectives of the Fund.

The Fund is now seeking contributions, each of which will be matched by the physics discipline and by the University, thus providing a three-fold multiplier. All contributions are tax deductible for income tax purposes under subdivision 30-BA of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

The Fund also seeks additional contributions linked to specific goals. These funds may be matched at the discretion of the University.


School Manager