History of Science & Technology

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Engineering undergraduates in 1970 work on a helicopter they designed at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now NYUs Tandon School of Engineering).

Program Goal

To advance our understanding of the historical context of scientific research and inform current and future research, policy, and institutional practices.


Historical scholarship is critically valuable to understanding the contemporary context of scientific research, and it is important to informing how we think about the current and future state of the research enterprise. Themes of interest in this program relate directly to some of the Foundation’s current programmatic and strategic interests, including but not limited to: the changing nature of interdisciplinary research and collaborative team structures; the role of instrumentation, data, and computational tools within and across disciplines; the changing nature of research organizations; the formation and development of professional societies, conferences, and scholarly communication systems; the establishment and evolution of fellowship and training programs; and the formation and development of research funding agencies. Cutting across all topics and thematic areas is an interest in examining issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and in illuminating the role played by under-represented scholars and perspectives in the advancement and development of these areas.


This program is currently accepting letters of inquiry. Interested scholars should send a letter of inquiry, no more than two pages long, to [email protected]. Our application guidelines can be found here

Letters of inquiry should be for scholarly projects and should result in outputs that are mainly academic in nature. Inquiries related to the writing of popular books; film, television, or media production; or projects that otherwise target the general public should inquire with the our Public Understanding of Science and Technology program. 

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