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Alfred P. Sloan Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-07-17

At A Glance

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

630 5th Ave., Ste. 2550

New York City, NY United States 10111-0242

Telephone: (212) 649-1649


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $1,875,962,450

Total giving: $81,020,576






Incorporated in 1934 in DE - Founded by the late Alfred P. Sloan, who was for many years the President and C.E.O. of General Motors Corp. He was active in the affairs of the foundation until his death in 1966. From 1934 to 1974, the foundation received gifts totaling about $182 million from him personally; from his estate and that of his wife's, Irene Jackson Sloan; and from New Castle Corp., their personal holding company. The foundation's funds are spent in two ways: 1) on programs and activities developed by foundation staff for which grants are awarded, usually on a competitive basis, to institutions; and 2) in response to unsolicited, competitively judged proposals.

Purpose and Activities

Grants are made primarily to support original research and broad-based education related to science, technology, economic performance and the quality of American life. The foundation has a deep-rooted belief that carefully reasoned systematic understanding of the forces of nature and society, when applied inventively and wisely, can lead to a better world for all. In each of its grants programs, the foundation seeks proposals for original projects with a high expected return to society which are led by outstanding individuals or teams and for which funding from the private sector, government or other foundations is not yet widely available.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Basic Research

The foundation believes that a carefully reasoned and systematic understanding of the forces of nature and society, when applied inventively and wisely, can lead to a better world for all. Grantmaking initiatives in STEM Research seek to expand that understanding by funding original, high-quality research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Also funded through this area are programs that examine the ethical and societal risks associated with the pursuit of scientific knowledge and regulatory measures designed to mitigate those risks. To maximize impact, grantmaking focuses on a small number of limited initiatives. Current initiatives supported in this area include research characterizing microbiological populations in built environments, investigation into the abundance, distribution, and properties of deep earth carbon, and examinations of ethical and regulatory issues raised by advances in synthetic biology. For application information visit the foundation’s website.

Civic Initiatives

Grants in this program area respond to unique opportunities to benefit the New York City metro area in ways that advance the foundation's interests in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economics. Representative grants in this program include support for the Sloan Public Service Awards, which recognize achievement among NYC civil servants, and the Sloan Awards for Excellence in Teaching Science and Mathematics, which honor exceptional science and math instruction in NYC public schools. For application information visit the foundation’s website.

Digital Information Technology and the Dissemination of Knowledge

Grants in this program area aim seeks to better our understanding of the relationship between technology, information, and society, primarily through research on and the development of digital information technology for the conduct of scholarly research and public engagement with knowledge. Grantmaking focuses on three sub-areas: data and computational research, scholarly communication, and universal access to knowledge. Grants in data and computational research aim to help researchers develop tools, establish norms, and build the institutional and social infrastructure needed to take full advantage of contemporary developments in data-driven, computation-intensive research. Grants in scholarly communication aim to support the development of new models of filtering and curating online scholarly materials and engage the emerging community of stakeholders and practitioners tackling similar issues in widely divergent disciplinary contexts. Grants in universal access to knowledge support the digitization and democratization of scientific and cultural knowledge in all its forms and aim to preserve its openness and accessibility for the widest public benefit. For application information visit the foundation’s website.

Economic Performance and the Quality of Life

The foundation believes that a theory-based, empirically-tested understanding of the U.S. economy and the U.S. workforce is essential to improving the lives of all Americans. In this program area, the foundation funds grants to support high-quality research and programs to enhance U.S. economic performance and the quality of American life. To maximize impact, grantmaking focuses on a small number of limited initiatives. Current initiatives supported in this area include support for research on U.S. economic institutions, understanding work-life decisions made by older workers, research broadening our understanding of the science and engineering work force and efforts aimed at improving the quality of federal statistics. For application information visit the foundation’s website .

Grants to Individuals Program

Fellowships by nomination only to regular faculty members in chemistry, physics, computer science, mathematics, economics, and neuroscience at colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada.

Public Understanding of Science

Grants in this program area aim to enhance people’s lives by providing a better understanding of the increasingly scientific and technological environment in which we live, and to convey some of the challenges and rewards of the scientific and technological enterprise and of the lives of the men and women who undertake it. The program supports the use of books, film, radio, television, theater, and other efforts to reach a wide general audience. For application information see the foundation’s website. .

Sloan Research Fellowships

This program seeks to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise. Its two-year fellowships are awarded yearly to 126 researchers in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field. Candidates are required: to hold a Ph.D. (or equivalent) in chemistry, computer science, economics, mathematics, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, neuroscience, ocean sciences, physics or in a related interdisciplinary field; hold a tenure track (or equivalent) position at a college, university, or other degree-granting institution in the United States or Canada (tenure track faculty positions at the candidate's institution must include a yearly teaching requirement); and, be no more than six years from completion of the most recent Ph.D. or equivalent as of the year of their nomination (some exceptions are made in special circumstances). Candidates must be nominated by department heads or other senior researchers. Direct applications are not accepted. For nomination and other information, see web site. .

STEM Higher Education

Grants in the STEM Higher Education program area aim to increase the quality and diversity of higher education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. To maximize impact, grantmaking focuses on a limited number of initiatives. Current initiatives include fellowship support for minority students engaged in post-graduate work in STEM disciplines, projects aimed at better understanding undergraduate and graduate retention and attrition in STEM fields, new applications of the science of teaching and learning STEM at the post-secondary level, and programs to help advance underrepresented minorities in leadership roles in science and academia. For application information visit the foundation’s website.

Fields of Interest

  • Disasters and emergency management
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Family services
  • Graduate and professional education
  • Higher education
  • Science
  • Technology
Population Groups
  • Academics

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $1,875,962,450 (market value)

Expenditures: $106,802,032

Total giving: $81,020,576

Qualifying distributions: $94,378,629

Giving activities include:

$74,092,675 for 321 grants (high: $3,500,000; low: $1,525)

$6,927,901 for 146 grants to individuals (high: $65,000; low: $4,525)

$707,207 for 4 foundation-administered programs