Grants Database

The Foundation awards approximately 200 grants per year (excluding the Sloan Research Fellowships), totaling roughly $80 million dollars in annual commitments in support of research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economics. This database contains grants for currently operating programs going back to 2008. For grants from prior years and for now-completed programs, see the annual reports section of this website.

Grants Database

Grantee
Amount
City
Year
  • grantee: Northeastern University
    amount: $499,967
    city: Boston, MA
    year: 2022

    To investigate the role of crises and disruption in shaping just energy transitions by examining three case studies in Puerto Rico, West Virginia, and Massachusetts

    • Program Research
    • Sub-program Energy and Environment
    • Investigator Laura Kuhl

    Energy disruptions caused by severe weather events like hurricanes, floods, or tornados can be catalysts for clean energy transitions, as damaged fossil fuel generation plants can be replaced with cleaner alternatives, or rebuilt homes or energy infrastructure can be rebuilt with more modern, efficient technologies. Effective community engagement is crucial in such situations, as policy decisions made in the wake of disaster can have lock-in effects for years to come. This grant will fund a team led by Laura Kuhl of Northwestern University that aims to advance our understanding of the role energy system crises play in shaping just energy transitions through examining case studies in three distinct regions: comparing community experiences with extreme energy system disruption and recovery in Puerto Rico with historically marginalized urban communities in Massachusetts and rural communities in West Virginia. In each case study, Kuhl and the team will work with local community organizations to conduct focus groups that employ photovoice approaches in which participating individuals use photographs and images they capture as a way to share their experiences with energy system disruptions and crises. The team will also conduct semi-structured interviews with relevant stakeholders in each area to discuss barriers to just energy transitions, how decisions on energy investment are made, and how such crises and disruptions might open new policy opportunities. The case studies will aim to paint a picture of the overlap between federal and community energy transition priorities and help to identify the conditions under which disruptions can promote more equitable transformation.

    To investigate the role of crises and disruption in shaping just energy transitions by examining three case studies in Puerto Rico, West Virginia, and Massachusetts

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  • grantee: University of Vermont
    amount: $500,000
    city: Burlington, VT
    year: 2022

    To examine rural and Indigenous just energy transitions associated with renewable energy microgrid development in Alaska

    • Program Research
    • Sub-program Energy and Environment
    • Investigator Bindu Panikkar

    Microgrids are small-scale generation and distribution systems developed to serve the energy needs of remote communities where distance, geography, or weather makes connection to larger electricity grids either technologically or economically impractical. In the United States, microgrids are particularly attractive in Alaska, where harsh weather, expansive distances, and the presence of numerous remote and Indigenous communities can make them a crucial strategy for meeting the energy needs of residents. Historically, microgrids have been powered by expensive, polluting, and carbon-intensive diesel fuels, but technological advancements in recent years have seen an uptick in microgrids powered by wind or solar, both of which are becoming more viable across much of Alaska. This grant will fund efforts by a team of researchers led by Bindu Panikkar of the University of Vermont and Erin Whitney at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks to examine the views, perspectives, and responses of historically underrepresented rural and Indigenous communities in Alaska to renewable microgrid development. Researchers will compare these community responses to renewable energy projects taking place along the more central Railbelt electric grid that spans from Anchorage to Fairbanks. Partnering with Renewable Energy Alaska Project, a local organization with strong ties to Alaska Native communities, the team will survey and engage three rural Indigenous towns (Galena, an Athabaskan community, and Buckland and Shungnak, both Inupiat communities) to understand their relationship to clean microgrid development projects. The team will also develop locally-oriented, quantitative models that simulate how renewable-based microgrids might be best structured to ensure energy resilience, reliability, stability, and cost effectiveness for the communities they serve.

    To examine rural and Indigenous just energy transitions associated with renewable energy microgrid development in Alaska

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  • grantee: The Pennsylvania State University
    amount: $551,467
    city: University Park, PA
    year: 2022

    To improve how political economy insights are represented in integrated assessment models and deepen collaboration between energy system modelers and social scientists

    • Program Research
    • Sub-program Energy and Environment
    • Investigator Wei Peng

    Energy system modeling is central to informing the transition to low-carbon energy systems in the United States. Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) are standard for such large-scale, intersectoral modeling of energy policy interventions, illustrating the various links between climate change, energy system technology development, and economic and social factors. While such models provide the most robust option for understanding the relationship of coupled climate-energy-social systems, they still include many simplified and idealized representations of how the energy system evolves over time. They often do not reflect the real-world political and policy landscape and tend to omit complicating factors like coalition building, policy revision, and incomplete policy implementation. This grant will support work by a multidisciplinary team led by Wei Peng of the Pennsylvania State University to make IAMs more representative of real-world conditions. The team will focus on improving the widely used Global Change Analysis Model (GCAM), specifically the downscaled version of GCAM that is centered on the United States, GCAM-USA. The team will devise an iterative process for updating GCAM-USA, and IAMs more generally, with concepts and insights from political economy and the social sciences. The project will start this process by undertaking two modeling demonstration projects. The first will attempt to better represent different domestic sectoral energy policy instruments in GCAM-USA. This includes modeling a more realistic set of sectoral-based regulations and policy incentives that are currently, or have a potential to be, put in place. The second demonstration project will focus on representing aspects of energy policies that are related to global supply chains, focusing initially on the impacts of policy change with respect to the global trade environment, such as domestic manufacturing incentives or the introduction of trade barriers.

    To improve how political economy insights are represented in integrated assessment models and deepen collaboration between energy system modelers and social scientists

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  • grantee: Carnegie Mellon University
    amount: $577,598
    city: Pittsburgh, PA
    year: 2022

    To examine how household energy insecurity is experienced by different demographic groups at the state and national levels

    • Program Research
    • Sub-program Energy and Environment
    • Investigator Destenie Nock

    This grant funds a study by a multidisciplinary team of scholars, led by Destenie Nock of Carnegie Mellon University, that will deploy various research methodologies to examine three aspects of household energy insecurity across multiple states. The first dimension to be studied is to better understand the energy-limiting behavior often employed by marginalized and low-income households to better afford energy services. Analyzing detailed household energy use data across three states (Arizona, Illinois, and a mid-Atlantic state), the team will further develop a new energy insecurity metric—called the “energy equity gap”—which indicates the point at which households across different income and demographic groups turn on air conditioning during hot days (or, conversely, turn on heating during cold days). This metric will help identify hidden forms of energy insecurity that are often hard to assess, or are typically ignored, in more traditional measures of energy use and well-being. Second, the team will undertake a case study that will examine the effectiveness of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the Weatherization Assistance Program, and other state-level programs designed to help low-income households pay their energy bills. Team members will analyze over a decade’s-worth of household data from these programs, focusing on the state of Minnesota, to identify the extent that eligible households do or do not take advantage of these programs. Third, the team will develop a publicly available dashboard of utility disconnection policies from across the country to enable researchers to begin to compare and analyze intra- and inter-state differences in such policies and their subsequent effects on energy insecurity.

    To examine how household energy insecurity is experienced by different demographic groups at the state and national levels

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  • grantee: Northeastern University
    amount: $892,936
    city: Boston, MA
    year: 2022

    To implement and analyze support for scientific research teams who are working together on common aims but from multiple locations

    • Program Technology
    • Initiative Virtual Collaboration initiative
    • Sub-program Exploratory Grantmaking in Technology
    • Investigator Daniel Cohen

    We have entered a period of substantial change in the ways that information technologies mediate interactions among scientists. The COVID-19 pandemic represented a substantial break with in-person working, and the coming years will see continued experimentation with hybrid and virtual interactions. Despite this shift in how scientists work together, we currently lack research, tools, and best practices to support intentional decision making about how to structure such experiences.   This grant supports an effort at Northeastern University to explore new ways of fostering effective collaboration between researchers on different campuses via their “Impact Engine” mechanism for multidisciplinary research. Grant funds will allow the Northeastern University Library  to pilot two new roles:  a collaboration coordinator who will work with teams at different campuses to understand their technological requirements, and a collaboration specialist who will focus on implementation of new workspaces, data workflows, and collaboration technologies. Grant funds will also support a postdoctoral student whose sole focus will be to assess the efficacy of the various services developed.

    To implement and analyze support for scientific research teams who are working together on common aims but from multiple locations

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  • grantee: American Geophysical Union
    amount: $366,850
    city: Washington, DC
    year: 2022

    To support the design and development of a scholarly publishing workflow for computational notebooks

    • Program Technology
    • Sub-program Better Software for Science
    • Investigator Shelley Stall

    This grant supports the development of a publishing workflow for the computational notebooks used by researchers including the American Geophysical Union (AGU)’s community of earth and planetary scientists. Computational notebooks improve the interactivity, reproducibility, and reuse of journal articles by combining text, visualizations, and other elements into narrative documents, but until now they have primarily existed as supplementary materials to traditional journal articles. Grant funds will allow the AGU to to explore ways of integrating computational notebooks with publishing platforms by bringing together representatives from scientific societies, publishers, repositories, and federal agencies for a series of events, ultimately developing a workflow to preserve the interactivity of computational notebooks into their final publication.

    To support the design and development of a scholarly publishing workflow for computational notebooks

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  • grantee: Code for Science and Society
    amount: $399,823
    city: Portland, OR
    year: 2022

    To support and strengthen the community focused on the design, production, and maintenance of sustainable research software in the United States

    • Program Technology
    • Sub-program Better Software for Science
    • Investigator Karthik Ram

    As part of a set of connected activities under the banner of the US Research Software Sustainability Institute (URSSI), this grant will support the hiring of a full-time URSSI community manager who will focus on cultivating and growing URSSI’s community while identifying new needs and potential collaborations, as well as providing support with engagement and dissemination activities. This new position will draw on expertise and support from Code for Science and Society and the Center for Scientific Collaboration and Community Engagement, as well as PI Ram’s deep experience growing the rOpenSci community.  

    To support and strengthen the community focused on the design, production, and maintenance of sustainable research software in the United States

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  • grantee: Oregon State University
    amount: $410,000
    city: Corvallis, OR
    year: 2022

    To train researchers in effective and sustainable practices for developing research software

    • Program Technology
    • Sub-program Better Software for Science
    • Investigator Kyle Niemeyer

    As part of a set of connected activities under the banner of the US Research Software Sustainability Institute, this grant funds an effort by Kyle Niemeyer, mechanical engineering professor at Oregon State University, to develop and run four, weeklong “beyond introductory” winter/summer schools for researchers who want to deepen their software engineering skills. Beyond directly training an anticipated 130 scientific and engineering researchers in sustainable software development, Niemeyer will develop, hone, and release a scalable mid-level curriculum for the training of non-expert scientists in best practices in software engineering and his project will provide useful data on the size of demand for such skills training events.

    To train researchers in effective and sustainable practices for developing research software

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  • grantee: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    amount: $350,000
    city: Champaign, IL
    year: 2022

    To collect and support the development of policies that foster sustainable research software

    • Program Technology
    • Sub-program Better Software for Science
    • Investigator Daniel Katz

    Software has been critical to research for decades, but only in the past handful of years has it become a topic of broad national conversations about the scientific enterprise. Much of this discussion has centered on the difficulties of maintaining research software beyond initial grant funding, especially when funder support has historically focused on new projects rather than maintenance of existing research infrastructure. Unlike instruments, research software is rarely commercialized, and “sustainability” usually relies on persistent, ongoing engagement by developers cross-subsidized by institutions and other grants.   As part of a set of connected activities under the banner of the US Research Software Sustainability Institute, this grant funds a project led by Daniel S. Katz at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign to collect and analyze research software sustainability policies across a host of key institutions. Katz’s targets are guidelines, rules, and practices related to research software created by institutions such as universities, laboratories, and industry as well as the funders, professional societies, and publishers that exert strong influence on the norms of scientific practice. Katz will then use the collected policies to answer several important big picture questions about research software sustainability, including characterizing the variation of strategies and institutional structures for the support of research software, the alignment or misalignment of such strategies, and funding sources and opportunities for the maintenance of research software.

    To collect and support the development of policies that foster sustainable research software

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  • grantee: Berkeley Lab Foundation
    amount: $397,544
    city: Oakland, CA
    year: 2022

    To study the production and user experience of scientific software to develop a design system for scientific software user interfaces

    • Program Technology
    • Sub-program Better Software for Science
    • Investigator Lavanya Ramakrishnan

    In most contemporary software development, investments in user experience (UX) design are viewed as highly prudent expenditures that result in products that are intuitive, meaningful, and relevant for users. When it comes to scientific software projects, however, it’s rare to find a UX designer amongst any core set of contributors. Recent research on the topic suggests that greater investment in the UX of a piece of software (especially early in the lifecycle of a project) could have large positive downstream impacts: easier adoption of software, lowered barriers to its use by a broader set of scientists with different backgrounds and levels of training, diminishing maintenance costs, and healthy cycles of user feedback informing how to build more useful software.   This grant funds a project lead by Lavanya Ramakrishnan at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBL), to help codify how to effectively implement UX design in scientific software projects through the study of LBL’s extensive corpus of UX research on myriad scientific collaborations. Ramakrishnan’s team will use the research to generalize best practices for implementing UX into the development of a diverse typology of software types (i.e., data pipelines vs. instrument control systems), and then prototype a UX design system to be used for common scientific tasks and workflows.

    To study the production and user experience of scientific software to develop a design system for scientific software user interfaces

    More
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