The Perimeter Institute is a renowned research center devoted entirely to theoretical physics. Launched with funds from a single donor, one secret to its success has been a robust combination of government funds and philanthropy.
Two funders that focus on basic science are set to delve into life's distant evolutionary past. In the process, they may also shed light on ecological, biological and health issues that are increasingly pressing today.
Nature-focused legacy institutions like zoos and gardens are finding creative ways to engage the public and appeal to funders, including the billionaire donor class. A major gift to the Chicago Botanic Garden shows this dynamic in action.
With donors giving big for trendy areas like data science and artificial intelligence, a gift out of Chicago finds the Pritzker Foundation going against the grain. We dig into its $75 million gift earmarked for the nascent field of molecular engineering.
An estimated 8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean each year, threatening vital marine ecosystems, and most of it comes from rivers. Can a new partnership between the Benioff Ocean Initiative and Coca-Cola “turn off the tap” of river plastic?
Funder interest in data science shows no signs of abating, and it isn’t just tech funders leading the charge. Given the field’s potential to revolutionize risk management, insurance companies are also digging deep to support data science initiatives.
The latest installment in the higher ed artificial intelligence gold rush finds a corporate funder backing new research on health and AI. Other campus donors will likely follow, even as some experts warn that this new technology could exacerbate health inequities.
Open Philanthropy Project’s unique approach has led it to animal welfare, global health and curbing the risks of artificial intelligence—most recently with a $55 million grant for research and policy analysis on AI. What’s the thinking behind this big investment?
Having funded marine microbiology since 2004, the Moore Foundation has announced it will wrap up its initiative in 2021. We talked to program director Jon Kaye about the initiative’s impact, how it decided to move on, and what’s next.
A $20 million gift seeks to increase accessibility for underrepresented and first-generation students to Duke’s School of the Environment. It comes at a moment when there’s growing acknowledgement that green groups must do more to diversify their ranks in an era of rapid demographic change.
Another huge campus gift for artificial intelligence research leaves us wondering: Can donors concerned about the ethical, social and humanitarian consequences of the AI revolution keep pace with rapid technological change and the forces of private enterprise?
How life springs up from chemical soup is one of the biggest mysteries in science. The Templeton Foundation is one of a couple of funders backing exciting work springing up in related disciplines.
A report by Science found top research funders make billions in shady offshore investments, at times contradicting their missions for public good. It’s the latest example of philanthropy’s swelling assets and investments under fire.
The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation, housed at the Pittsburgh Foundation, is investing in campus-based efforts to support young researchers and to stimulate collaboration across disciplines. Where’s the money heading?
MIT is making its largest structural change since the 1950s, fueled in part by a historic gift from Stephen Schwarzman of $350 million. The campaign underscores a number of trends in academia and philanthropy amid a surge of interest in AI.
Paul Allen, who died recently, exemplified the best of big philanthropy. He embraced risk taking and cared deeply, journeying to the outer frontiers of scientific knowledge and to the front lines of the world’s biggest challenges. IP editor David Callahan assesses his legacy.
A key strength of philanthropy is that it can play the long game, taking risks in a quest for transformative change. A great example is the Moore Foundation’s huge investment in the study of quantum materials. How’s that effort going?
The Lasker Awards celebrate research achievements, but also service and advocacy in the scientific community. The latest example is Joan Argetsinger Steitz, a renowned researcher of RNA, and an advocate for gender equality in the sciences.
The Keck Foundation is known for giving to transformative science and undergraduate research and education. In its latest round of giving, one Oregon school will set up a lab for undergrads to study smart grid technology.
The foundation has pledged $10 million to Stanford Medicine for the training of graduate students in the biomedical sciences, increasing the pipeline of talented young researchers who might otherwise struggle.
The Heising-Simons Foundation has emerged as a leader in supporting women in physics and astronomy. A program it’s backing at MIT is funding young researchers, including coaching them on landing more funding.
The Hertz Foundation has been awarding fellowships to STEM postdoctoral students for more than 60 years. A new program is sending students in diverse scientific fields to work in health and development at the Gates Foundation.
The Science Philanthropy Alliance released its third survey on private funding for basic science. Overall numbers are steady, and funding continues to be highly concentrated.
It takes extensive training and the right personality to both treat patients and conduct scientific research. There’s been growing concern about the dwindling supply of physicians who do both. This foundation is on the case.
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are still on the margins, but interest is surging, with some people getting very rich in the frenzy. One company in the space is giving big to campus researchers.
HHMI’s Investigator program—already legendary for its flexible, long-term streams of funding—has now outdone itself, bumping up the period that it supports researchers to seven years. What’s behind this move?
The Kavli Foundation is best known for its high-stakes science prizes and endowed research institutes. A new program is extending its work convening researchers by funding “Dream Teams” to explore early-stage concepts.
Since 2000, the Kavli Foundation has been a relatively small funder with a big footprint in the science research world. Since the passing of its founder, and the tripling of its assets that followed, Kavli’s ramping up.
Never mind that backlash to technology’s impact on society, including skepticism of its ability to solve tough problems. Eric Schmidt’s philanthropic game plan is focused on the good that science and tech can do.
The Open Philanthropy Project is now moving $100 million in grants a year, so it's a big deal that its research funding has finally been getting up to speed after a long gestation. Here's a peek.
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?