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: WGBH Educational Foundation
    amount: $2,000,000
    city: Boston, MA
    year: 2019

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

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator Mark Samels

    This grant provides support to WGBH Educational Foundation to research, produce, and broadcast four science- and technology-themed episodes on its popular, award-winning documentary history series American Experience. The four shows are “The Poison Squad,” based on Deborah Blum’s book about Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, chief chemist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, whose dogged efforts to test the health effects of popular chemical food additives led to modern standards of food safety; “The Man Who Tried to Feed the World,” about Norman Borlaug, an Iowa agronomist who introduced innovative breeding techniques for wheat and overcame many obstacles to help feed millions in Mexico, Pakistan, and India; “The Codebreaker,” about Elizabeth Smith Friedman, cryptanalyst-in-charge for the U.S. Treasury Department, whose codebreaking skills helped bring down a Nazi spy network in South America; and “Mr. Tornado,” about Tetsuya Theodore “Ted” Fujita, professor of meteorology at the University of Chicago, who proved that tornadoes were not random but predictable and whose discovery of microbursts—intense downdrafts that caused airplanes to suddenly drop from the sky—led to life-saving advances in aviation.

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

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  • grantee: North Fork TV Festival, Inc.
    amount: $125,000
    city: New York, NY
    year: 2019

    To recruit, curate, and exhibit a high-quality science or technology focused television pilot at the 2019 North Fork TV Festival

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator Noah Doyle

    To recruit, curate, and exhibit a high-quality science or technology focused television pilot at the 2019 North Fork TV Festival

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  • grantee: Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association Inc.
    amount: $1,000,000
    city: Arlington, VA
    year: 2018

    To support production and outreach for The Gene: An Intimate History, a three-hour documentary, based on Siddhartha Mukherjee’s book, to air nationally on PBS primetime

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator Dalton Delan

    This grant is to the Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association (WETA) to produce and air a three-part television documentary series, The Gene: An Intimate History. Produced by legendary documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and based on the critically acclaimed bestseller by physician and oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Gene: An Intimate History will use human case studies of the genetic treatment of illness to tell the story of genetic research while exploring its scientific, medical, social, and ethical implications. In addition to a three-hour documentary and associated website, the broadcast will be accompanied by a major public engagement effort around genetics, as well as a wealth of educational curricula.

    To support production and outreach for The Gene: An Intimate History, a three-hour documentary, based on Siddhartha Mukherjee’s book, to air nationally on PBS primetime

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  • grantee: Catticus Corporation
    amount: $600,000
    city: Berkeley, CA
    year: 2018

    To produce Look Who’s Driving, a one-hour documentary about autonomous vehicle technology, to air on PBS’s NOVA

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator Michael Schwarz

    This grant to the Catticus Corporation provides support for the production and broadcast of a one-hour documentary special on driverless cars, “Look Who’s Driving,” that will explore both the promise and pitfalls as we move toward adoption of autonomous vehicles (AVs). In addition to explaining the major technological advances that have enabled progress in AVs—mapping, sensing, and artificial intelligence—the series will explore the engineering, legal, regulatory, security, privacy, and ethical challenges behind this much-ballyhooed potential revolution in transportation. The documentary will include interviews and commentary from leading technologists and engineers working on AVs, as well as scholars, historians, research scientists, and ordinary citizens. The show is slated to be broadcast on the PBS series, NOVA.

    To produce Look Who’s Driving, a one-hour documentary about autonomous vehicle technology, to air on PBS’s NOVA

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  • grantee: Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association Inc.
    amount: $1,035,000
    city: Arlington, VA
    year: 2018

    To continue weekly broadcast of Paul Solman's economic and business coverage Making Sen$e on PBS NewsHour and to support online, social and mobile platforms with related content and to support an evaluation

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator Lee Koromvokis

    This grant provides one year of support to the PBS NewsHour to continue its regular broadcast of Making Sen$e with Paul Solman, a weekly segment that explains business and economic issues clearly and engagingly to a general audience both on air and online. Grant funds support the production of 50 7-to-10-minute Making Sen$e broadcast segments on major issues facing the American and global economy, such as tax policy, health insurance, immigration, and the gig economy. Additional grant funds support increased outreach and development of the Making Sen$e website and social media presence, and the production of hundreds of original pieces of web native content, including long-form think pieces written by economists or based on Paul Solman's interviews with economists.

    To continue weekly broadcast of Paul Solman's economic and business coverage Making Sen$e on PBS NewsHour and to support online, social and mobile platforms with related content and to support an evaluation

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  • grantee: WNET
    amount: $750,000
    city: New York, NY
    year: 2018

    To support a three-part television series broadcast and accompanying outreach on the engineering and technology of LaGuardia Airport, with a focus on the current new terminal project

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator Stephen Segaller

    This grant to WNET, New York’s PBS station, in partnership with Windfall Films, supports the production and broadcast of a three-hour series about one of America’s biggest infrastructure projects: the rebuilding of LaGuardia airport, which is currently underway and slated for completion in 2021. Episode One: A Grand Terminal will focus on the state-of-the-art, 1.3-million-square-foot terminal itself, including its history and an overview of terminal design. Episode Two: Runways and Highways will cover building the runway space that surrounds the terminal, including flood-proofing the new taxiways—LaGuardia is surrounded on three sides by water—and preparing for environmental threats such as climate change and hurricanes. Episode Three: Bridges, Belts, and Baggage will explore the construction of two skybridges to get passengers from the new terminal to the 35 boarding gates as well as upgraded systems for moving baggage and passengers. The series will discuss a host of topics in science and engineering, including new construction techniques and machinery, the logistics of urban planning, impacts on local communities and the environment, tailoring runways to limit noise pollution, advanced radar technology to detect runway debris, and the use of swarm modeling mathematics to efficiently guide passengers and avoid congestion. In addition to primetime broadcast, grant funds support the production and dissemination of complementary educational resources through PBS Learning Media, and outreach through social and other media. 

    To support a three-part television series broadcast and accompanying outreach on the engineering and technology of LaGuardia Airport, with a focus on the current new terminal project

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  • grantee: WNET
    amount: $750,000
    city: New York, NY
    year: 2017

    To support a two-hour public television broadcast of a multimedia live stage play about Albert Einstein’s journey to the general theory of relativity

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator David Horn

    This grant funds a project by WNET, working with physicist Brian Greene, the World Science Foundation, 59 Productions and CounterPunch Studios, to adapt the live stage piece “Light Falls: Space, Time, and an Obsession of Einstein” for broadcast on public television. The piece, which debuted at Lincoln Center during the 2016 World Science Festival and is narrated by Greene, traces Einstein’s journey to the discovery of the general theory of relativity. The piece walks the audience through the stages in Einstein’s journey—from his boyhood fascination with a compass to his desperate efforts to understand gravity to his fear that mathematician David Hilbert would beat him to the general theory. In addition to providing historical information about Einstein himself, the production will explain, explore, and make compelling key scientific ideas related to the general theory such as Lorentz contraction, time dilation, the equivalence principle, Riemannian geometry, and curved spacetime. The producers, working with the award-winning CounterPunch Studios, will also explore deploying a pioneering holographic rig that can generate a digital, life-like, three-dimensional rendering of Einstein so that Greene can interact and converse with a realistic looking historical figure. The completed production will be broadcast on the one hundredth anniversary of the 1919 solar eclipse measurements that confirmed Einstein’s theory and made him the most famous scientist in the world.

    To support a two-hour public television broadcast of a multimedia live stage play about Albert Einstein’s journey to the general theory of relativity

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  • grantee: Open Mind Legacy Project
    amount: $200,000
    city: New York, NY
    year: 2017

    To support eight to ten interviews with Sloan-supported authors and Sloan-related thinkers each year on The Open Mind

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator Alexander Heffner

    This grant provides two years of support for continued production and broadcast of Open Mind. Hosted by Alexander Heffner and broadcast on 214 PBS stations, Open Mind is a 30-minute, one-on-one interview show that dives deeply into a rich variety of topics pertinent to the public discourse. Grant funds will allow Heffner and the Open Mind team to interview five Foundation-supported science and technology authors per year, allowing them to discuss their books and the ideas behind them in a thoughtful and engaging public forum. An additional 3-5 interviews per year will focus on topics of Sloan Foundation interest such as the Digital Public Library of America, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, or the economics of the aging workforce. Additional grant funds support efforts to improve the reach of the program, including expanded outreach on social media and enhanced promotion of the Open Mind podcast.

    To support eight to ten interviews with Sloan-supported authors and Sloan-related thinkers each year on The Open Mind

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  • grantee: City Lore, Inc.
    amount: $500,000
    city: New York, NY
    year: 2017

    To support the theatrical release, festival run, and PBS broadcast of Oliver Sacks: The Life of the Mind, a documentary about the renowned neurologist, clinician, and writer

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator Steve Zeitlin

    The grant provides production support to filmmaker Ric Burns for a new documentary about Oliver Sacks, the celebrated neurologist, clinician, and bestselling writer who died in 2015. Upon receiving his fatal diagnosis, Sacks invited Burns to film his final days and this production will draw on some 80 hours of unique footage from the end of Sack’s life, as well as other footage covering the full arc of Sacks’ remarkable career. Foundation funding includes support for the addition of three science advisors to the project, to ensure the accuracy of the film’s portrayal of Sack’s work The finished film will have a theatrical release, a US and international film festival run, and will be broadcast on American Masters on PBS.

    To support the theatrical release, festival run, and PBS broadcast of Oliver Sacks: The Life of the Mind, a documentary about the renowned neurologist, clinician, and writer

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  • grantee: WGBH Educational Foundation
    amount: $2,000,000
    city: Boston, MA
    year: 2017

    To support the production of four prime time American Experience documentary films about the role of science and technology in history

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator Mark Samels

    This grant provides funds to the popular television history series American Experience for the production of four new shows for a total of eight hours of new, prime time science programming over the next two years. Supported shows include one two-hour series on the history of the eugenics movement (“Eugenics on Trial”) and one four-hour series about the decade-long U.S. effort to reach the moon (“Chasing the Moon”). The other two shows include a one-hour documentary about Alfred Loomis and the team of scientists who helped develop radar and the atomic bomb during World War II (“Tuxedo Park”), and a one-hour special  about advances in the science of deep sea exploration and rescue (“SeaLab”).

    To support the production of four prime time American Experience documentary films about the role of science and technology in history

    More
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