Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation: Grants for Science Research

OVERVIEW: The family foundation of tech and investment billionaire Thomas Siebel gives in four main areas: the homeless and underprivileged, education and research, public health, and energy solutions. The core of the foundation is the Siebel Scholars program, which awards graduate students in science and business and then recruits them to guide the foundation's future initiatives.

IP TAKE: Siebel focuses on Scholars, but eligibility for grants is limited to a short list of pre-selected universities. The foundation also gives to a handful of favored universities and its own stem cell research and energy research institutes.

PROFILE: The Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation, founded in 2000, has very little infrastructure outside of its awards program for science and business grad students. It supports four key areas: the homeless and underprivileged, education and research, public health, and energy solutions.

For science researchers, most of its grantmaking supports a very small number of targeted initiatives, which are in part determined by the very same Scholars who win the awards. There are a few main ways to secure Siebel funding, but interestingly, they usually do not involve applying to the foundation.

First, Siebel Scholars makes grants to 12 pre-selected universities, which nominate their leading grad students in computer science, bioengineering, and business. The winners are chosen “based on outstanding academic performance and leadership,” and grantees “receive a $35,000 award toward their final year of studies.” The Scholars then join a consortium of academics meant to continue collaborating and further guide the foundation, including at a yearly conference. Some of Siebel’s funding priorities come from this collaboration. For example, a Siebel Scholars conference launched the Siebel Stem Cell Institute. Heavily backed by the foundation, SSI is a joint program between the University of California, Berkeley Stem Cell Center and the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. More information about the SSCI can be found in its annual report, available at the foundation’s web site.

More recently, Siebel also launched the Siebel Energy Institute, a multi-university “consortium for innovative and collaborative energy research” that offers $25,000 and $50,000 research grants “to accelerate advancements in the safety, security, reliability, efficiency and environmental integrity of modern energy systems.” Before submitting to SEI’s call for proposals, grantseekers should keep in mind that grants here are again limited to the consortium’s university members.

Other examples of work the foundation has funded include initiatives in computer science and data analysis for projects such as mapping the human genome or winning presidential elections.

Grantseekers can search a database of Siebel Scholars here. Profiles include a brief bio and a synopsis of each scholar’s work.

Finally, the foundation makes a small number of support grants to universities. The majority of recent university grants were allocated “to support academic and scholarship programs,” and recipient universities included the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, MIT, the University of Chicago, and Princeton.


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