Books are critical entry points for the entire Public Understanding program. They allow us to delve deeply into any subject and uncover or synthesize new knowledge while imparting the profoundest understanding of issues and individuals. Books also frame important questions and concerns for the public in an enlightened and accessible context. The Foundation remains committed to books, both for their intrinsic value as a matrix of uniquely rich experience and deep learning, and for their adaptability to other media for broader dissemination and popularization.
The current book program began in 1996 and has supported over 200 authors. For the prior two decades, the Foundation supported the Sloan Series of Scientific Autobiographies in the 1980s and the Sloan Technology Series, begun in 1994, which was continued under the current program.
- Books that elucidate important subjects where the science is confusing or controversial;
- Books that profile important figures in science and technology;
- Books relating science and technology to daily life;
- Books exploring the numerous connections between science, technology, and art;
- Books about the relationship between women and science and technology;
- Books about the culture and philosophy of science.
The Foundation will sometimes deviate from these categories for book projects of unusual scientific, artistic, or cultural importance.
The Next Big Idea Club
Brainscapes: The Warped, Wondrous Maps Written in Your Brain—And How They Guide You
The National Book Foundation’s newest initiative will celebrate books about science and technology.
Beloved Beasts Is A Perfect Read For The West—And Our Time
Instant Genius Podcast
Instant Genius Podcast: The end of the Universe, with Dr Katie Mack
Review: The Memory Thief
What Does It Mean To Be Alive?
Proposals are reviewed three times per year: for a January 1, May 1 & September 1 deadline.*
- Applicants for the January deadline will receive a final decision no later than April 30.
- Applicants to the May deadline will receive a final decision no later than October 15.
- Applicants to the September deadline will receive a final decision no later than January 15
*Note that applicants who submit proposals early, ahead of the deadline, may receive a decision sooner.
Only submit a full proposal if one is invited in response to your letter. Book grants can be made to individuals or to affiliated nonprofit organizations, such as a university. Book grants are typically $50,000 or less.
If a proposal is invited, please follow the guidelines below.
Book proposals are accepted via email at email@example.com. Email is the preferred form of submission. Please do not submit a hard-copy of any materials, except in the case of a completed book as a previous work sample.
Applications should include all of the required components listed below, and should be sent as one PDF document, with the documents in order as they appear below. If the file is too big to send as an attachment, the application can be sent via email using a file sharing service such as Dropbox.
Please note that the requested start date should be no earlier than the first day of the month after a final decision will be received.
- Applicants for the January deadline should list a requested start date of May 1 or later.
- Applicants for the May deadline should list a requested start date of November 1 or later
- Applicants for the September deadline should list a requested start date of February 1 or later.
- Proposal Cover Sheet
- The main argument for the book, including what else has been published in this area and why your book is needed. (The main argument combined with the budget, budget justification, and CV should be no more than 20 pages total.)
- A budget (See sample here). Please note that the Foundation does not permit overhead/indirect costs on grants of $50,000 or under. Budgets should include only expenses to be incurred after the requested start date.
- Budget justification providing more detail on your planned expenses
- Outline for the book
- Sample chapter
- A CV (1-3 pages)
- A publisher agreement or strong letter of support from the publisher
- Copy of relevant previous book or previous work. If sending a hard-copy of a book, please address it to Attn: Books Program, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, 630 Fifth Ave, Suite 2200, New York, NY 10111
- Conflict of Interest Statement (For more info, please read the "Conflict of Interest Appendix" requirements of our general grant application guidelines)
- Diversity Statement (For more info, please read the "Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion" requirements of our general grant application guidelines)
- Completed and signed Proposal Administration Form. If applying as an individual, please fill in your SSN in the “US Tax ID” blank. Please be sure to sign the form under the “Endorsement and Verification” section.