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: Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association Inc.
    amount: $1,500,000
    city: Arlington, VA
    year: 2011

    For high quality on-air and online coverage on PBS's NewsHour to enhance economic and financial literacy

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator Linda Winslow

    This grant provides continued support for enhanced coverage of economic and financial topics on The PBS NewsHour. Through its recurring weekly segment, Making Sen$e with Paul Solman, the NewsHour aims to produce and broadcast at least 60 on-air segments over the next two years covering economic and financial topics. Additional funds from this grant will support a host of complementary web activities, including the production of at least 60 web-only videos on economic topics, continued operation of an online "Q&A desk" where Solman answers questions from readers, the development of a free iPad app allowing iPad users to easily access NewsHour economics content, and the production of syllabi, lesson plans, and other materials to facilitate the use of NewsHour segments in American classrooms.

    For high quality on-air and online coverage on PBS's NewsHour to enhance economic and financial literacy

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  • grantee: WGBH Educational Foundation
    amount: $700,000
    city: Boston, MA
    year: 2011

    For broadcast of a 2-hour NOVA special on the discovery and the scientific role of the elements in the periodic table with enhanced digital outreach and mobile application

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

    This grant provides support for the production and broadcast of a two-hour NOVA special about the elements of the periodic table, their discovery, and the important role they have played over the course of human history. Hosted by author and New York Times technology columnist David Pogue and based on Theodore Grey's bestselling book, The Elements, the NOVA special will cover a broad range of topics, including the organization of the periodic table by Dmitri Mendeleev, how early human technological development was driven largely by our understanding and mastery of metals, and the role rare earth elements currently play in such modern conveniences as cell phones and batteries. Also funded through this grant are digital outreach efforts to broaden the scope and impact of the special, including production of exclusive web-only content to complement the special, expanded activities on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and the development of an interactive iPad app.

    For broadcast of a 2-hour NOVA special on the discovery and the scientific role of the elements in the periodic table with enhanced digital outreach and mobile application

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  • grantee: Connecticut Public Broadcasting, Inc.
    amount: $1,196,390
    city: Hartford, CT
    year: 2011

    For production, broadcast, and outreach for a two-part public television series about what impact the science behind brain scans could or should have on the criminal justice system

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator Graham Chedd

    Funds from this grant support the production and broadcast of a two-hour PBS series on how new developments in neuroscience may affect the criminal justice system and our understanding of free will and personal responsibility. Produced by Graham Chedd and hosted by Alan Alda, the series will seek to explain the science behind fMRI brain scans-both its enormous potential and its very significant current limitations-and explore what this new technology could mean for how we determine guilt and innocence. The series will feature commentary from a host of experts-neuroscientists, philosophers, ethicists, legal scholars, and judges- bringing diverse variety of perspectives to the topic and ensuring that it remains both engaging and accessible.

    For production, broadcast, and outreach for a two-part public television series about what impact the science behind brain scans could or should have on the criminal justice system

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  • grantee: WGBH Educational Foundation
    amount: $600,000
    city: Boston, MA
    year: 2011

    To research, produce, and broadcast a one-hour PBS Frontline documentary about the implications of the Fukushima accident for the future of nuclear power in the U.S.

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator Jon Palfreman

    Funds from this grant provide support for a one-hour documentary, to be produced and broadcast by the influential PBS documentary series Frontline, about the repercussions of Fukushima Daichi nuclear accident caused by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan. Starting with an analysis of what went wrong at Fukushima, the program will track the still-developing story and critically evaluate the implications for U.S. nuclear safety and for the future of nuclear energy in the U.S. Using a mixture of archival footage, location shooting in the U.S., Japan, and China, interviews with scientific and technical experts, politicians, policymakers and citizens, the documentary will seek to present a measured, fair, and factually-based analysis of one of the many major policy choices of our time. To ensure accuracy, the production team will draw on a scientific board of advisors who will provide expert guidance and information.

    To research, produce, and broadcast a one-hour PBS Frontline documentary about the implications of the Fukushima accident for the future of nuclear power in the U.S.

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  • grantee: WGBH Educational Foundation
    amount: $2,500,000
    city: Boston, MA
    year: 2011

    To research and produce four hours of documentaries on the role of science and technology in history for The American Experience with ancillary outreach including two interactive games and marketing campaign

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

    Funds from this grant support the development, production, and broadcast of three science-and-technology-themed documentaries by the PBS series American Experience. The three proposed documentaries include: "The Poisoner's Handbook," based on Deborah Blum's Foundation-supported book about the birth of toxicology and forensic science in the Jazz Age and how new crime-fighting techniques led to improvements in safety; "Robert Noyce, the Integrated Circuit and the Birth of Silicon Valley," based on Leslie Berlin's The Man Behind the Microchip: Robert Noyce and the Invention of Silicon Valley, a formative tale about one of the most important inventions of the twentieth century that has received relatively little exposure in the mass media; and "The Grand Coulee Dam" about the damming of the Columbia River-at the time, the largest concrete structure ever built-which transformed the Pacific Northwest. In addition, American Experience is proposing two interactive games to accompany the broadcast of "The Poisoner's Handbook."

    To research and produce four hours of documentaries on the role of science and technology in history for The American Experience with ancillary outreach including two interactive games and marketing campaign

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  • grantee: Fred Friendly Seminars, Inc.
    amount: $19,095
    city: New York, NY
    year: 2011

    To rebroadcast the program Minds on the Edge: Facing Mental Illness, to publicize available resources, and to encourage dialogue about the mental health care system

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator Richard Kilberg

    To rebroadcast the program Minds on the Edge: Facing Mental Illness, to publicize available resources, and to encourage dialogue about the mental health care system

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  • grantee: WGBH Educational Foundation
    amount: $1,700,000
    city: Boston, MA
    year: 2010

    To produce 12 scientist profiles for prime time broadcast on Nova ScienceNow, to produce and promote 32 additional scientist profiles for the award-winning "The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers" website, and to increase the website's audience

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

    This grant to WGBH Educational Foundation provides two years of support for the award-winning broadcast series NOVA scienceNow and for the Emmy-nominated Web series The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers. Launched with exclusive Sloan funding, The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers enhances the public understanding of science by producing compelling stories about the life and work of contemporary working scientists and engineers and has already garnered an impressive list of achievements, garnering 600,000 visitors in the first year, major press coverage, and a much-coveted Emmy nomination in the category New Approaches to News and Documentary Programming. The NOVA scienceNow prime time television series has continued to perform well with three million viewers per episode, plus an additional 1.3 million video downloads. The profiles that the Foundation supports are a popular part of the show, and in response, the new profiles funded under this grant will be longer and compose a bigger fraction of each hour-long show. Additional grant funds will support series promotion, new content, and outreach.

    To produce 12 scientist profiles for prime time broadcast on Nova ScienceNow, to produce and promote 32 additional scientist profiles for the award-winning "The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers" website, and to increase the website's audience

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  • grantee: Public Media Lab
    amount: $797,836
    city: Chevy Chase, MD
    year: 2010

    To produce and broadcast a one-hour PBS documentary "Admiral Rickover and the Nuclear Navy"

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

    This grant funds a project by The Public Media Lab, under the auspices of veteran, award-winning television producer Michael Pack, to produce and broadcast a PBS documentary about the pugnacious, pioneering Admiral Hyman Rickover and his role in the development of both the first nuclear submarine and the first civilian nuclear power plant. Admiral Hyman Rickover was a take-no-prisoners innovator who transformed the navy and the role of commercial nuclear power as part of President Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace program, a subject that remains timely today. In addition, Rickover recruited more scientists and engineers into the navy and attempted to transform the American educational system to produce more qualified technologists. The documentary will combine interviews, footage, and live-action sequences and promises to appeal to a significant audience, advancing the public understanding of science and technology with an important and compelling story that has never been seen on television before.

    To produce and broadcast a one-hour PBS documentary "Admiral Rickover and the Nuclear Navy"

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  • grantee: Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association Inc.
    amount: $1,500,000
    city: Arlington, VA
    year: 2009

    For on-air and online coverage of economic and financial literacy on The PBS NewsHour

    • Program Public Understanding
    • Sub-program Television
    • Investigator Simon Marks

    Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association, Inc., requests two years of funding for enhanced economics coverage on The PBS NewsHour (The NewsHour), both on-air and online. The NewsHour continues to be the most serious and effective news show on television and has impressively maintained an audience of 1.2 million viewers nightly, higher than every news show except Fox News and the networks. Sloan's 2008 grant for public understanding of economics on The NewsHour resulted in a very impressive output-twice the number of on-air spots by Paul Solman about economic and financial literacy as originally envisioned. A reviewer remarked of Solman: "Among us professors of economics he is regarded as the best economics reporter on television." Few people even try to achieve this, and none are as qualified as Solman or have a better platform from which to teach. As one reviewer noted, "His reports are as unbiased and accurate as the discipline of economics allows them to be. He rarely presents a perspective as his alone. Instead, he finds the relevant experts, and lets them speak for themselves." An important component of this grant is the Web site. Currently, The NewsHour Web site attracts about half a million visitors a week and about 100,000 visit the three Sloan-supported economics sites. Just under a million users have visited Solman's site in the past six months and 720,000 have downloaded his material. This request represents a 25% reduction from the previous grant-from $1 million to $750,000 per year-for 40 ten-minute economics segments on the show each year, plus enhanced educational outreach through the Web, social networking sites and other media. The reduction reflects in part our diminished financial resources and in part it is a signal to The NewsHour that we expect them to take very seriously our suggested improvements to their Web site and our desire to more prominently feature Paul Solman on it. Support of this series gives us a direct line to Solman for suggesting topics and guests and provides the Public Understanding of Science, Technology, Business, and Economics Program with an outstanding and cost-effective vehicle for providing strong, consistent, economics coverage.

    For on-air and online coverage of economic and financial literacy on The PBS NewsHour

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  • grantee: WGBH Educational Foundation
    amount: $2,500,000
    city: Boston, MA
    year: 2009

    To research and produce four documentaries about the role of science and technology in history for The American Experience

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

    The American Experience, the longest running and most esteemed history series on television, requests a grant of $2.5 million for four documentaries over the next two years that will focus on the role of science and technology. The four proposed episodes include a two-hour special by the acclaimed director Ric Burns "Into the Deep: America, Whaling, and the World" that tells the story of three centuries of American whaling and traces the remarkable growth of this early global industry to its decline; another two-hour show about the creation of the Panama Canal, the largest and most ambitious engineering project in history; a one-hour feature about the harrowing scientific expedition to the Arctic led by Adolphus Greely in 1881, the first international Polar Year; and a fourth program to be determined that will be reviewed by outsiders and approved by the staff prior to beginning production. The budget has been cut by half a million dollars from the original request given current funding constraints, and we also now demand, given our long association with this series, that the American Experience produces and broadcasts four S&T shows for the price of three. In addition, two of the shows are two hours long so we are effectively getting six hours of programming while paying for three hours, or a doubling of our production allotment. The American Experience continues to define excellence in documentary filmmaking-it has received every television award numerous times-and is America's most-watched history series.

    To research and produce four documentaries about the role of science and technology in history for The American Experience

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