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: 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

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  • grantee: Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association Inc.
    amount: $1,000,000
    city: Arlington, VA
    year: 2017

    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

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

    This grant continues support for the PBS NewsHour’s regular weekly broadcast of Making Sen$e with Paul Solman, a series that explains business and economic issues clearly and engagingly to a general audience both on air and online. Grant funds support the production of 52 Making Sen$e broadcast video reports each year on major issues facing the American and global economy. Additional funds support the production of hundreds of original pieces of web content, including long-form think pieces written by economists or based on Paul Solman's interviews with economists. The NewsHour also has a formalized partnership with NBER to feature its economists, and the reach of its segments is magnified by dissemination on Extra, the NewsHour’s educational website, on PBS Teachers, and on partner sites such as the Council for Economic Education’s econedlink.org. Planned segments over the grant period include many topics that address the economic concerns of everyday Americans. Questions to be investigated include, among others: What's going to happen if Obamacare is repealed? What rate of economic growth is plausible? Why has there been a reversal of mortality for middle-aged white men? Can jobs in the coal industry come back?

    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

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  • grantee: WGBH Educational Foundation
    amount: $1,000,000
    city: Boston, MA
    year: 2016

    For a two-hour NOVA special, Beyond the Elements, that investigates the substances composed of the elements in the periodic table and accompanying educational outreach and marketing

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator Paula Apsell

    Funds from this grant support the production of a two-hour NOVA special, Beyond the Elements, that will explore the millions of substances that make up everything in our world or that we create from about 100 naturally occurring elements in the periodic table. Conceived as a follow-up to NOVA’s popular (and also Sloan-supported) Hunting the Elements, the special will be divided into thematic segments. One will focus on the chemistry of substances that drove trade during humanity’s age of exploration, such as salt, pepper, caffeine, nicotine, morphine, silk, and porcelain. Another will focus on molecules related to life itself, such as amino acids, DNA, nitrogen, and the molecular changes caused when we cook food. A third segment will focus on synthetic molecules, such as neoprene, nylon, and Kevlar, that are produced through modern industrial processes. This special will be hosted by popular technology writer David Pogue, and will be accompanied by significant online and on-air outreach efforts by NOVA, including a 3- to 5-minute immersive video piece about a molecule that changed the course of history, a suite of online articles on NOVA Next, a collection of PBS Learning Media resources, virtual field trips for science classrooms, and screening events at museums and science centers.

    For a two-hour NOVA special, Beyond the Elements, that investigates the substances composed of the elements in the periodic table and accompanying educational outreach and marketing

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  • grantee: Filmmakers Collaborative
    amount: $100,000
    city: Melrose, MA
    year: 2016

    To support the development of "FRONTIERS," a new television show that profiles scientists as explorers conducting research across the globe

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator Jen Myronuk

    To support the development of "FRONTIERS," a new television show that profiles scientists as explorers conducting research across the globe

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  • grantee: Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association Inc.
    amount: $525,000
    city: Arlington, VA
    year: 2016

    To support the scientific, technological and engineering component of a six-part public television series on the history of Africa, presented  by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

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

    This grant provides partial support for production of a six-part history of the African continent to be hosted by the prominent academic Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African American Research. Foundation funds will support segments devoted to documenting the scientific, technological, and engineering achievements of various African civilizations, including such events as the founding of the world's oldest university at Al-Karouine in Morocco in 859 AD; the advanced mathematics developed in Fes, Marakesh, and Timbuktu between the 12th and 17th centuries; and Abu Raihan al-Biruni's precise calculation of Earth's radius. The proposed documentary series not only contains interesting information about the historical development of science and technology, but also challenges widespread stereotypes of Africa as backward and undeveloped and the widespread misunderstanding of the pivotal role African civilizations have played in humanity’s scientific and cultural advance.

    To support the scientific, technological and engineering component of a six-part public television series on the history of Africa, presented  by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

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  • grantee: Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association Inc.
    amount: $1,000,000
    city: Arlington, VA
    year: 2016

    To continue weekly broadcast of Paul Solman's economic and business coverage Making Sen$e on PBS NewsHour and to support online, social media, and digital content and audiences

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

    Funds from this grant support the continued production of Making Sen$e with Paul Solman. Broadcast on the PBS NewsHour and supplemented by original content produced for the segment’s website, Making Sen$e is a series of short news segments that explain business and economic news clearly and engagingly to a general audience. Topics covered by Making Sen$e segments include the contingent workforce, welfare-to-work programs, the minimum wage, the carried interest tax loophole, the foreclosure crisis, the EB?5 visa program, and the economics of terrorism, online dating, and sports gambling. Grant funds support the production of 52 segments over the next year, as well as additional funds for improved graphics and the production of high-quality web-exclusive content.

    To continue weekly broadcast of Paul Solman's economic and business coverage Making Sen$e on PBS NewsHour and to support online, social media, and digital content and audiences

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  • grantee: WNET
    amount: $100,000
    city: New York, NY
    year: 2015

    To  produce at least three annual Sloan-related science, technology, and economics themed episodes of The Open Mind for two years and to support enhanced outreach and promotion for the show to a national PBS audience

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

    To  produce at least three annual Sloan-related science, technology, and economics themed episodes of The Open Mind for two years and to support enhanced outreach and promotion for the show to a national PBS audience

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