Known for its support of cognitive research, the James S. McDonnell Foundation became frustrated by how little of what it learned ended up in classrooms. Here's what it did next.
While a number of philanthropists have fixated on the dangers of AI, Paul Allen is focused on its potential and just gave another $125 million for research. What's he thinking?
The Vilcek Prizes stand out by rewarding individuals for contributions in arts and sciences, but there’s an underlying celebration of cultural exchange and immigration. This year’s recipients drive that message home.
One thing science funders love is the creation of new tools. Sometimes that means paying for a massive telescope, sometimes it’s a creating tiny machines.
Len Blavatnik’s been making headlines, both for his philanthropy and his political connections. He continues to be a donor to watch, with an expanding suite of science research prizes and grants.
CZI is a science funder with some unique attributes that resemble a tech company. It's now teaming up with UMass to build an AI-powered tool that will help researchers analyze published findings.
The Open Philanthropy Project has been feeling out different approaches for its nascent science program. One interesting RFP sent $11 million to a handful of applicants the NIH had to turn away.
Food companies have a history of using funding research that minimizes the health risks of their products. They're still doing it—in developing countries where obesity is rising fast.
Sloan just extended its funding for a massive survey of the sky with a $16 million grant. It's an example of science philanthropy backing partnerships that can have outsized impacts.
Boston College is known mainly for its enviable liberal arts education, but it’s been building up an emphasis on science and technology. A $25 million gift helps the school follow this higher ed trend.
Backstopped by a $13 billion Google fortune, Wendy and Eric Schmidt have long funded marine research and environmental causes. A new fellowship for interdisciplinary science is taking things in a fresh direction.
Philanthropy’s no replacement for crucial government science funding, but that message can get lost amid the high-profile gifts. Some science funders are now backing a push to protect federal funding.
The Lasker Foundation has advocacy for medical research funding in its DNA, but the grantmaker has been particularly active lately in rallying support for larger research budgets.
This environment experiment is a unique example of a passion project shepherded into existence by a private donor. It's also producing some useful research findings, which is why the donor is sticking with it.
In what's becoming a familiar trend, a gift to Boston University finds a billionaire donor trying to propel his alma mater to the upper echelons of the American university research system with a stroke of a pen.
Heising-Simons’ science grantmaking is heavily focused on physics and astronomy, fields with some of the largest gender imbalances in STEM. The funder has a new program to advance equality in the fields.
The Moore Foundation gives more than $100 million to science research annually, ranging from marine microbiology to big data. Chief Program Officer Robert Kirshner tells us how the funder decides what to back.
It's one of the largest industry-academic partnerships in history and raises some real ethical concerns. But what do both parties get out of a $240 million deal for collaborative AI research?
Conservation needs research, but it also needs research to go beyond academic settings. Here's a foundation that supports early career scientists working on applied solutions to biodiversity threats.
These are dark days for math researchers who depend on government funds. So it's a good thing that "quant" philanthropists have been writing some very big checks, lately.
Foundations are notoriously fixated on metrics, but they don’t come easy when you’re funding the long game of basic science. Here's how some top funders are grappling with this challenge.
Four research teams are sharing $10.8 million from RWJF and a pool of Deepwater Horizon settlement money to explore complex factors that make up community resilience in the Gulf Coast region.
Heavy hitters like Gates and Wellcome Trust are demanding that grantees publicly disclose the results of all clinical trials within 12 months. Till Bruckner of Transparify explains what's at stake.
Artificial intelligence has emerged as a hot issue in philanthropy, with an eye on keeping the rapidly expanding technology in check. Here's where a new fund is sending its grant money.
Dallas philanthropist Lyda Hill approaches science funding by supporting emerging fields and scientific solutions to problems. Here's what this big-league giver has been up to lately.
The Microsoft billionaire is giving tens of millions of dollars to support "out-of-the-box approaches at the very edges of knowledge." What does that look like in practice, exactly?
What some chemists might not realize is that all of this funder's power is contained within the state of Texas. Underwriting basic research at universities is a top priority.
Rita Allen's grants are intended to free up young scientists at the earliest stages of their careers to take the risk of traveling down unknown paths of inquiry. Here's the logic of that strategy.
We talk to mathematician-turned-hedge fund billionaire Jim Simons and foundation head Marilyn Simons about their big bet on a unique new research institute in Manhattan.
The Lemelson-MIT Prize is as much about making an impact as it is about invention. The latest winner not only made some mind-boggling imaging devices, he’s also helping other inventors make a difference.
Elon Musk notably sounded the alarm about AI being potentially catastrophic. As concern grows, Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna’s funding initiative is fully on board with a $5.5 million grant.
As Star Trek celebrates its 50th birthday, we take a look at the philanthropy of creator Gene Roddenberry’s family, including a new prize with a total of $1 million in annual awards.
RCSA pulls together groups of early career scientists to put their heads together around important topics, then cuts checks for the multidisciplinary, potentially groundbreaking projects that emerge.
Simons’ Math+X investigator program is all about collaboration between high-level mathematics and other fields. The 2016 awardee’s ideas have impacted photo sharing, spotting phony art, even fossil hunting.
The hunt for subatomic particles can require massive facilities. But $3 million in funding from two foundations will back a lab-sized, highly sensitive instrument to explore secrets of matter and antimatter.
Funders have been some of the biggest champions of making publication of research faster and more accessible. The latest push supports “preprinting” life sciences research ahead of journal publication.
When public funding cuts escalated in 2012, major foundations formed the Science Philanthropy Alliance to up their game. President Marc Kastner tells us what they’ve learned since about private funding’s role in research.
The Merage family has a bundle of foundations and philanthropic interests, including Jewish causes, arts, and education. But one of its members has homed in on storm tracking and the study of severe weather.
The Gruber Prizes aren’t the highest-profile philanthropic awards for research, but are quite prestigious nonetheless, and $500,000 a pop is serious cash.
Sky-high subscription fees, inflated prestige, and cumbersome review are frequent complaints about research publications. Funders are bankrolling a competing, open access journal. How's that going?