Funding Criteria

There really is no limit to the number of approaches — and types of experiences — that can boost science engagement. We don’t currently field open requests for proposals. We seek out programs and partner with thought leaders and powerful organizations to build our portfolio of grant-making. In order to ensure that our awards align with our vision, we keep the following objectives in mind and ask ourselves how a potential project might achieve one or more of them.

Please note that Science Sandbox does not accept unsolicited proposals.

Bring science to the people.

Don’t wait for the general public to find science. Bring science to where people already are, and engage those who think that science is not for them.

We support projects that bring scientific concepts — and scientists — to the general public. Often, these projects allow participants to see scientific concepts in everyday life. Whether it means literally putting a research-grade lab on wheels and delivering it to schoolchildren or bringing high-quality science interactions to large mainstream events, we engage those who don’t think of themselves as scientific thinkers — and in situations where they least expect it. We give them the experience of being scientists themselves.

Encourage innovative science storytelling.

Combine the best storytellers and the most sophisticated science with the most effective platforms.

We seek out science storytellers who uncover the intrinsic link between science and culture. Our goal is to encourage creative minds from both inside and outside of the sciences to adopt pioneering narrative approaches in order to rebrand science as inseparable from the human experience. We support multiple storytelling platforms, from film to live science events, across disciplines.

Make scientific thinking a part of everyday life.

Create hands-on experiences that reveal the creative process of science and reinforce an innate sense of curiosity.

We find projects that encourage scientific thinking in everyone through informal, experience-based learning. We support and develop STEM programs that emphasize hands-on projects. These projects remind learners of all ages that we are all scientists — that science is a lens through which to view the world, make decisions and develop creative solutions to problems, both simple and complex.

Invite experts to the conversation.

Develop new ways for scientists to engage with the public, and use scientific tools to measure the efficacy of new modes of science engagement.

We can’t do this on our own. We welcome others to question our ideas, help us think through how we can improve our approaches, and promote what we’ve learned. We believe in developing new ways for scientists to engage with the public — from sharing their research on popular web platforms to practical problem solving in local communities. We also support mechanisms to test which emerging science engagement practices do and don’t work and then share these results with the field.

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