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: National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc.
    amount: $1,000,000
    city: Alexandria, VA
    year: 2021

    To support the Alfred P. Sloan Minority Ph.D. Program (MPHD) through Phase 4 renewal grant for University Centers of Exemplary Mentoring (UCEMs) at Duke University

    • Program Higher Education
    • Sub-program Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in STEM Higher Education
    • Investigator Carmen Sidbury

    The University Centers for Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM) program is a series of three-year grants to eight universities around the country that are working to transform graduate education to better serve Black, LatinX, and Indigenous doctoral students in STEM fields.  Grant funds primarily provide direct support to graduate students to be used in support of their studies.  The remaining funds support a diverse but interrelated set of resources designed to create an inclusive, connected, and supportive educational environment conducive to successful doctoral completion and subsequent career success.  These include faculty and peer mentoring, networking events, professional development seminars and resources, access to resilience counseling, a five-week research immersion program for incoming graduate students, and much more.   This grant provides three years of continued support to the UCEM housed at Duke University.  In addition to continuing its prior activities, the Duke UCEM team plans to implement new initiatives over the three year grant term to bring more academic departments at Duke into the UCEM and to further institutionalize the center’s recruitment and support activities as core functions at the university. The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering acts as the Foundation’s partner and fiscal steward for the program: verifying student eligibility, administering stipends, and collecting and tracking data on UCEM expenditures and outcomes.

    To support the Alfred P. Sloan Minority Ph.D. Program (MPHD) through Phase 4 renewal grant for University Centers of Exemplary Mentoring (UCEMs) at Duke University

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  • grantee: National Public Radio, Inc.
    amount: $650,000
    city: Washington, DC
    year: 2021

    To support NPR’s coverage of economics via two podcasts, Planet Money and The Indicator; online short videos; a weekly newsletter; and educational outreach

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Radio
    • Investigator Erin Sells

    This grant continues core operational support for the production and broadcast of Planet Money, National Public Radio’s (NPR) award winning media brand devoted to the production of accurate, accessible, and engaging reporting on the American economy. Planet Money is best known for its acclaimed twice-weekly podcasts, which take deep dives into the latest economic news and reached over one million downloads per episode during their first month. More recently, Planet Money launched a new, short-form economics podcast, The Indicator, which is produced daily and allows them to be more responsive to the news cycle. To date, The Indicator averages over 350,000 downloads in its first month, which brings the total monthly audience for Planet Money podcasts to nearly 1.4 million listeners. Grant funds will allow Planet Money to continue the production of more than 300 podcast episodes per year—approximately 100 new episodes of Planet Money and approximately 200 new episodes of The Indicator—as well as five to six episodes of its online video series, Planet Money Shorts, and 150 TikTok videos each year.

    To support NPR’s coverage of economics via two podcasts, Planet Money and The Indicator; online short videos; a weekly newsletter; and educational outreach

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  • grantee: WGBH Educational Foundation
    amount: $1,000,000
    city: Boston, MA
    year: 2021

    To support the production and associated marketing and promotion of two prime time American Experience documentary films about the role of science and technology in history

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator Cameo George

    This grant supports the production and broadcast of two new technology-themed documentary films by American Experience, the long-running, award-winning history series produced by Boston television studio WGBH and distributed nationally on PBS. The first documentary, Black Death at the Golden Gate, looks at the scientific and social challenges posed by the threat of rampant disease through the true story of the outbreak of Bubonic Plague that hit San Francisco around 1900. Efforts to contain the disease were hampered by poor understanding of disease transmission, perceived threats to the city’s economic interests, and racially-biased assumptions about the nature and spread of the disease, as well as by an earthquake that roiled the city in 1906. The second documentary, The St. Francis Dam Disaster, tells a cautionary tale of one of the worst American civil engineering disasters, the collapse of the St. Francis Dam in March 1928, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people, the loss of millions of dollars, and the end of the career of pioneering Los Angeles civil engineer, William Mulholland. Occurring in a period when the control of water via massive engineering projects was transforming the American west, the disaster inspired a renewed emphasis on safety in dam siting and construction, including at the nascent Hoover Dam.

    To support the production and associated marketing and promotion of two prime time American Experience documentary films about the role of science and technology in history

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  • grantee: L.A. Theatre Works
    amount: $400,000
    city: Venice, CA
    year: 2021

    To record four new Sloan plays for public radio broadcast and online streaming and a 12-play podcast while disseminating 16 science plays to millions of people and thousands of libraries and schools

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Theater
    • Investigator Susan Loewenberg

    L.A. Theatre Works (LATW) produces high quality audio theater via staged readings by leading actors of some of the nation’s most exciting new plays. Plays recorded by LATW continue to have a life well after their theatrical runs and are broadcast on over 50 public radio stations across the U.S., on Radio Beijing in China, on the BBC World Service, via free online streaming and downloading, and through educational outreach to over 4,000 teachers and 14,000 community libraries. LATW’s Relativity series is a subset of its larger catalog that focuses on those plays that tackle scientific and technological themes. Two thirds of its 39-play Relativity catalog are plays that have been commissioned, developed, and/or produced by the Sloan Theater program. In addition to the recordings themselves, Relativity includes supplementary audio content, including interviews with directors and playwrights, and educational materials to help audiences further engage with a work’s scientific content and themes.  Funds from this grant will allow LATW to record and disseminate four new Sloan-developed plays as part of its Relativity series. Additional funds will support a project to remaster 12 plays in the existing catalog, bringing audio quality more in line with modern standards, and release them as podcasts for wider distribution.

    To record four new Sloan plays for public radio broadcast and online streaming and a 12-play podcast while disseminating 16 science plays to millions of people and thousands of libraries and schools

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  • grantee: National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    amount: $622,860
    city: Cambridge, MA
    year: 2021

    To encourage, grow, and further strengthen research on behavioral macroeconomics by providing doctoral fellowships and training support to early-career scholars

    • Program Research
    • Initiative Behavioral and Regulatory Effects on Decision-making (BRED)
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Yuriy Gorodnichenko

    Over the past 30 years, behavioral economists have succeeded in cataloging an impressive number of cognitive “biases” that manifest in how individuals make economic decisions.  These describe how real people defy the assumptions made about them in economic models. The big idea is that these biases are uniform enough across decision-makers that they can be incorporated into standard economic models, rendering the models both more accurate and more robustly predictive.  Behavioral macroeconomics is a growing field that seeks to incorporate these insights about human biases into attempts to model whole economies in a more realistic way.    Funds from this grant support a fellowship program run by Yuriy Gorodnichenko at the National Bureau of Economic Research that provides stipends to early career economists interested in conducting research in behavioral macroeconomics.  In addition to supporting the work of two fellows per year, Gorodnichenko runs an intensive every-other-summer “boot camp” to introduce new economics scholars to the concepts, methods, models and findings of behavior macroeconomics.  Topics addressed in the boot camp include the scarcity of attention, decision-making under incomplete information; the formation of expectations; optimal policy design in the presence of informational frictions; and interactions among agents with different levels of knowledge.  

    To encourage, grow, and further strengthen research on behavioral macroeconomics by providing doctoral fellowships and training support to early-career scholars

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  • grantee: Northwestern University
    amount: $499,988
    city: Evanston, IL
    year: 2021

    To consolidate, coordinate, and communicate research on the science of science by establishing both an annual international conference and a multidisciplinary professional society

    • Program Research
    • Initiative Economic Analysis of Science and Technology (EAST)
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Dashun Wang

    The science of science is a burgeoning new multidisciplinary field that is attempting to rigorously measure and study the factors that drive scientific innovation and productivity.  Drawing from economics, public policy, sociology, history, management science, and information systems theory, researchers working in the science of science explore questions like: Can (just barely) failing to receive a big research grant be better for one’s career than winning one? Are some ways of structuring work in a lab more conducive to higher productivity than others? Can the decay rate of a scientific paper’s citations be predicted well enough to help measure the long-term impact and influence of relatively new work? And do great discoveries arrive randomly during a scientific career, or are there “hot streaks?” This sprawling new research community crosses departmental, methodological, and international boundaries.  Progress will require this community to coalesce around common standards, structures, norms, and infrastructure—particularly regarding data resources.  This grant funds efforts by Dashun Wang, director of Northwestern University’s Center for the Science of Science and Innovation, to help build community within and among science of science researchers.  Grant funds will be used to launch an annual international conference hosted by the National Academy of Sciences in 2022, planning activities for the launch of a new scholarly society dedicated to the Science of Science, and a small program of seed grants and research prizes designed to encourage diversity, data sharing, methodological training, and mentoring.

    To consolidate, coordinate, and communicate research on the science of science by establishing both an annual international conference and a multidisciplinary professional society

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  • grantee: Yale University
    amount: $563,786
    city: New Haven, CT
    year: 2021

    To advance fundamental research on the industrial organization and regulatory economics of markets run by digital platforms

    • Program Research
    • Initiative Economic Analysis of Science and Technology (EAST)
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Fiona Scott Morton

    Seven of the ten most valuable businesses in the world are digital platforms. Their names are familiar to everyone: Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet (Google), Alibaba, Facebook, and Tencent. The user base for Facebook alone includes 2.7 billion people, more than the populations of India and China combined. Google processes more than 60% of online searches in the United States, and almost 90% of those in Europe. Such companies not only wield enormous economic power, they have increasing power over our social, political, and personal lives, too.  It is unsurprising then, that lawmakers of all kinds are interested in how to regulate such platforms in a way that would inhibit this power from being excercised contrary to the public good. The economics of these digital platforms, however, is complicated.  First, most of these platforms facilitate two-sided markets, serving two distinct customer bases.  Apple’s app store serves both consumers interested in finding interesting and useful apps, and app developers interested in finding customers to sell their creations to.  In such a situation, what counts as an optimal pricing strategy- and thus what counts as worrisome deviations from it—is complicated.  It may be rational and beneficial, for instance, for Apple to undercharge phone users and make up the loss by overcharging app developers.  Second, digital platforms are often dominated by network effects.  This term refers to those goods or services that become more valuable as more and more people use them.  Vendors want to sell their wares on Amazon because that’s where the customers are, and customers shop on Amazon because so many vendors sell on the site.  Funds from this grant support a project by Fiona Scott Morton at the Tobin Center at Yale to convene a multidisciplinary working group of leading scholars to produce a compelling research agenda that lays out the fundamental theoretical and empirical research needed to advance our understanding of the economics of regulating two-sided platforms.

    To advance fundamental research on the industrial organization and regulatory economics of markets run by digital platforms

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  • grantee: Open Collective Foundation
    amount: $648,000
    city: Walnut, CA
    year: 2021

    To develop open-source software that facilitates widespread adoption of privacy-preserving methods in artificial intelligence

    • Program Research
    • Initiative Economic Analysis of Science and Technology (EAST)
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Andrew Trask

    Funds from this grant provide support for OpenMined, an online community of nearly 12,000 members from academia, industry, and government devoted to advancing privacy-preserving research methods in machine learning and AI development.   The OpenMined community is creating an ecosystem of advanced but accessible cryptographic tools designed to allow machine learning researchers to probe sensitive datasets without the need to copy, move or share any data.  Resources available on the OpenMined website (OpenMined.org) include a beginner’s guide, free classes and tutorials in a dozen languages, blogs and lectures from leading researchers in privacy-preserving research, and open-source coding repositories and projects on such topics as remote execution and federated learning, differential privacy, encrypted computation, and secure natural language processing.  Grant funds provide core operating support for the continued operation and expansion of the OpenMined community for a period of two years.

    To develop open-source software that facilitates widespread adoption of privacy-preserving methods in artificial intelligence

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  • grantee: National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    amount: $725,614
    city: Cambridge, MA
    year: 2021

    To investigate and experiment with alternative peer-review methods for selecting among scientific research proposals

    • Program Research
    • Initiative Economic Analysis of Science and Technology (EAST)
    • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance
    • Investigator Paula Stephan

    Funding decisions by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health are based on a process of peer review where independent subject-matter experts are invited to rate and rank potential research projects along a number of criteria, including the importance of the issue being examined, the strength of the experimental design, the likelihood of success, and the qualifications of the research team.  Projects that review well are funded.  Those that review poorly are not.  The budgets of just those two institutions total some $50 billion dollars per year—the lion’s share of basic research funding in the U.S.—so a lot rides on whether the peer review process is a good way to identify and select promising research projects.  This grant funds a series of projects led by Paula Stephan, Professor of Economics at Georgia State University and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and Chiara Franzoni, Associate Professor at the School of Management at Milan Polytechnic University, to rigorously study peer review when used as a grant allocation process.  Stephan and Franzoni will partner with Novo Nordisk, a Danish foundation that has been funding research to combat diabetes since 1923 and that has kept meticulous records of its peer review and funding decisions.  This unique longitudinal dataset will allow the research team to compare the initial judgements of reviewers with the eventual successes of both funded and unfunded projects.  Second, Stephan and Franzoni have designed a series of experiments that will set up peer review panels with different decision structures and racial and gender compositions and give each panel the same set of research proposals to rate, giving the team some evidence of how structure and composition affect the verdicts of peer review committees.  Third, the team has assembled a small cohort of foundations that are willing to experiment with doing away with parts of the peer review altogether, introducing randomness at different stages of the selection process from a pool of proposals that meet certain base quality criteria.  These three separate initiatives will be supplemented alongside a host of qualitative and quantitative interviews that probe experts about the peer review process and their own judgements about its efficacy.

    To investigate and experiment with alternative peer-review methods for selecting among scientific research proposals

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  • grantee: Fund for Public Health in New York, Inc.
    amount: $50,000
    city: New York, NY
    year: 2021

    To increase rates of vaccination in the NYC communities most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19

    • Program New York City Program
    • Investigator Sara Gardner

    To increase rates of vaccination in the NYC communities most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19

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