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: Colorado State University
    amount: $253,684
    city: Fort Collins, CO
    year: 2018

    To develop and test software to identify isomers based on differences in binding energy using time-of-flight chemical ionization mass spectrometry

    • Program Science
    • Sub-program Chemistry of Indoor Environments
    • Investigator Delphine Farmer

    Mass spectrometry is a technique that ionizes chemical species and then sorts them by mass. While useful, spectrometry does not distinguish between chemical isomers, species with the same number and types of atoms as another chemical species. This is important; isomers possess distinct properties because their atoms are arranged into different chemical structures. Isomers may differ, for instance, in reactivity, vapor pressure, and the identity of products. This grant will support work by Delphine Farmer, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Colorado State University, in collaboration with Ellison Carter, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, to develop and test novel software for time-of-flight chemical ionization mass spectrometry that will allow researchers to identify isomers based on differences in binding energy. Funded work includes software development, calibration, and validation using both individual isomers and mixtures of isomers, and field testing in an unoccupied residence. The project will result in new software for both data acquisition and analysis, as well as field datasets, for sharing with the broader scientific community. The findings will be shared through publications from the instrument development component of the proposal, and additional publications when the instrument is used in an indoor study. The project will train at least one Ph.D. student in indoor chemistry and mass spectrometry instrument development.

    To develop and test software to identify isomers based on differences in binding energy using time-of-flight chemical ionization mass spectrometry

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  • grantee: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
    amount: $312,170
    city: Blacksburg, VA
    year: 2018

    To develop and test a field-deployable gas chromatograph coupled to a chemical ionization mass spectrometer, GC- CIMS, to identify isomers

    • Program Science
    • Sub-program Chemistry of Indoor Environments
    • Investigator Gabriel Isaacman-VanWertz

    Funds from this grant support a team lead by Virginia Tech’s Gabriel Isaacman-VanWertz to improve our ability to detect chemical isomers indoors through the development of a field-deployable gas chromatograph coupled to a chemical ionization mass spectrometer. This proposed research is divided into three technical tasks: First, Issacman-VanWertz will engineer the physical and technical interface between the major instrument components. Then he will characterize and calibrate the new instrument. Finally, he will deploy the instrument in an on-campus controlled indoor environment to examine emissions. The team plans to share their findings through peer-reviewed articles and presentations at several scientific and professional conferences.

    To develop and test a field-deployable gas chromatograph coupled to a chemical ionization mass spectrometer, GC- CIMS, to identify isomers

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  • grantee: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    amount: $299,424
    city: Cambridge, MA
    year: 2018

    To develop a low-cost monitor for measurements of volatile organic compounds in the indoor environment

    • Program Science
    • Sub-program Chemistry of Indoor Environments
    • Investigator Jesse Kroll

    Test bed studies require Chemistry of Indoor Environment researchers to be able to make important indoor chemistry measurements quickly and at low cost. Unfortunately, there are no good low-cost sensors for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This grant funds an effort to build one. It’s an important effort. Many VOCs are harmful to human health and even those that aren’t can react with oxidants, eventually leading to new particle and aerosol formation. Over the next three years, Jesse Kroll—Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—will attempt to develop a low-cost monitor for measurements of volatile organic compounds in the indoor environment. The work plan has two major parts: the construction, characterization, and optimization of the VOC monitor, and the use of several such monitors in real indoor environments, providing both a proof-of-concept and initial measurements of indoor VOC levels. The primary output of this project will be the monitor and associated algorithms as well as the associated research results. Descriptions of the optimized monitor design and calibration algorithms will be disseminated broadly via the peer-reviewed, open-access literature and conference presentations. At least one graduate student will be trained.  

    To develop a low-cost monitor for measurements of volatile organic compounds in the indoor environment

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  • grantee: Indiana University
    amount: $743,509
    city: Bloomington, IN
    year: 2018

    To examine radical concentrations and associated aerosol production in indoor environments

    • Program Science
    • Sub-program Chemistry of Indoor Environments
    • Investigator Phillip Stevens

    Outdoors, strong ultraviolet light from the sun drives the photolysis of ozone, resulting in the production of hydroxyl (OH) radicals. Hydroxyl radicals, sometime referred to as “nature’s vacuum cleaner” are highly reactive and short lived. They can react with volatile organic compounds leading to the formation of peroxy radicals. These radicals, in turn, react rapidly with a range of compounds, eventually producing secondary organic aerosols in the atmosphere. Yet much is unknown. Despite the absence of the strong ultraviolet light that drives oxidation reactions outdoors, there is preliminary evidence that indoor environments contain hydroxyl radicals. The pathways that generate these radicals and the role they play in indoor chemistry are mysteries. Funds from this grant support an effort by Philip S. Stevens (Indiana University), in collaboration with Brandon Boor (Purdue University), to examine radical concentrations and associated aerosol production in indoor environments. The team aims to improve our understanding of oxidation chemistry in indoor environments through comprehensive measurements of radical concentrations, including their sources and sinks, as well as the impact of radical concentrations on aerosol production in several laboratories, chambers, and at least one residence. The results of the studies will be shared through peer-reviewed journals and through presentations at meetings of the International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate, the American Chemical Society, and the American Association for Aerosol Research. At least four students will be trained.

    To examine radical concentrations and associated aerosol production in indoor environments

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  • grantee: Columbia University
    amount: $299,998
    city: New York, NY
    year: 2018

    To examine hydrolysis reactions on damp surfaces and the impact on indoor air quality

    • Program Science
    • Sub-program Chemistry of Indoor Environments
    • Investigator V. Faye McNeill

    Hydrolysis is a reaction in which water is used to break down chemical bonds. Preliminary evidence suggests hydrolysis reactions could be very important indoors, breaking down common man-made ester (MME) compounds like those found in PVC pipes, and diffusing the resulting degradation products into the air. This grant funds a project by V. Faye McNeill, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Columbia University, to assess the impact of hydrolysis reactions of a range of man-made esters—occurring on damp indoor surfaces—on indoor air quality. Grant funds will allow McNeill to adapt her outdoor atmospheric chemistry model, GAMMA (Gas-Aerosol Model for Mechanism Analysis), for application to the indoor environment. The adapted model, GAMMA-CIE, will introduce MME species, intermediates, and reaction products into the aqueous phase chemical mechanism, incorporate mass transfer between the aqueous and gas phases, and model oxidation in the gas phase. In addition to this modeling work, McNeill will perform laboratory measurements to provide missing data for the MME hydrolysis cascade under alkaline conditions and will examine the effect of acidic pH and ionic content of the aqueous film on MME hydrolysis kinetics. Among the MME compounds to be characterized are Texanol, a component of latex paints; TXIB (trimethyl pentanyl diisobutyrate); BBzP (benzyl butyl phthalate); and DEHA (diethylhydroxylamine). Last, McNeil will use the modified model to predict indoor air quality under typical domestic and commercial building scenarios. The model will simulate the fate of esters and the role of damp surfaces in realistic indoor conditions, providing new insights about indoor chemistry.

    To examine hydrolysis reactions on damp surfaces and the impact on indoor air quality

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  • grantee: Carnegie Institution of Washington
    amount: $1,648,920
    city: Washington, DC
    year: 2018

    To support the Secretariat of the Deep Carbon Observatory to bring the program to effective closure and assure its legacies

    • Program Science
    • Sub-program Deep Carbon Observatory
    • Investigator Robert Hazen

    This grant provides operational and administrative support to the governing secretariat of the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO), headquartered at the Carnegie Institution for Science, which is charged with coordinating and synthesizing the work of DCO’s researchers, who number more than 1,300 and are spread across some 40 countries worldwide. Grant funds will offset operational costs of the international steering committee; provide support for the secretariat chairs, geoscientists Robert Hazen and Craig Manning; facilitate the DCO’s grand finale in Washington, D.C. in October 2019; and support several activities aimed at securing the legacies of the DCO at the conclusion of Foundation funding.

    To support the Secretariat of the Deep Carbon Observatory to bring the program to effective closure and assure its legacies

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  • grantee: Astrophysical Research Consortium
    amount: $530,000
    city: Seattle, WA
    year: 2018

    To continue support for the Faculty and Student Team (FAST) program within the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) that aims to increase the number of underrepresented minority students and faculty in the collaboration and increase the number of students pursuing astronomy Ph.D. programs

    • Program Science
    • Sub-program Sloan Digital Sky Survey
    • Investigator Michael Blanton

    In 2015, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey established a Faculty and Student Team (FAST) program to improve on the low numbers of underrepresented minorities (URMs) both in the SDSS collaboration itself and in astronomy as a whole. The FAST program introduces clusters of faculty and students (mainly URMs) from non-SDSS-participating universities into the collaboration, usually with one faculty member supervising anywhere from one to three undergraduates or one graduate student. These faculty-student teams are then paired with mentors from the SDSS collaboration to help them become full members of the collaboration. To date, institutions sending FAST teams to SDSS include DePaul University, New Mexico State, University of California San Diego, Texas Tech, and two from City University of New York (Hunter College and Staten Island). Funds from this grant will allow the addition of three new FAST teams to the project, each completing a three-year term. Each FAST team faculty lead receives salary support for approximately one summer month in their first year of participation, and students on each team receive financial support through the entire period of FAST program participation. A dedicated SDSS FAST science liaison oversees the day-to-day operation of the program.

    To continue support for the Faculty and Student Team (FAST) program within the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) that aims to increase the number of underrepresented minority students and faculty in the collaboration and increase the number of students pursuing astronomy Ph.D. programs

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  • grantee: Fairfield University
    amount: $50,000
    city: Fairfield, CT
    year: 2018

    To support the research and writing of a book about the thalidomide scandal of the 1960s to be published by Random House in 2020

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Books
    • Investigator Jennifer Vanderbes

    To support the research and writing of a book about the thalidomide scandal of the 1960s to be published by Random House in 2020

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  • grantee: Middlebury College
    amount: $45,522
    city: Middlebury, VT
    year: 2018

    To support the research and writing of an updated version of the 1993 Sloan-supported book Nuclear Choices: A Citizen’s Guide to Nuclear Technology to be published by MIT Press

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Books
    • Investigator Richard Wolfson

    To support the research and writing of an updated version of the 1993 Sloan-supported book Nuclear Choices: A Citizen’s Guide to Nuclear Technology to be published by MIT Press

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  • grantee: Lydia Denworth
    amount: $19,000
    city: Brooklyn, NY
    year: 2018

    To support the research and writing of Friendship: A Natural History, to be published by W.W. Norton in 2019

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Books
    • Investigator Lydia Denworth

    To support the research and writing of Friendship: A Natural History, to be published by W.W. Norton in 2019

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