All You Need to Know About the Sloan Foundation Grants and Fellowships

Publish Date: May 28, 2021

Can the Sloan Foundation support your Research? 

Do you aim to make a breakthrough in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, or Economics?

If yes, scroll down through this article to read all the details you need to receive research funding for your projects. 

What kind of funding can you get?

Explore the projects that the Foundation has already completed before to have an insight into its activities. For more detail, read on.

Who is Alfred P. Sloan?

Alfred P. Sloan Jr. is an enthusiast of technology and innovations. He devoted most of his conscious years of life (from 24 to 81 y.o.) to careers in the machine industry. He served for several machine companies and different positions, while all his paths were meant to reach the giant General Motors. 

He started his career as a draftsman in a small machine shop, Hyatt Roller Bearing Company. With time, Hyatt merged with United Motors Corporation and then became a part of General Motors Company. Meantime, the careers of Mr. Sloan were rising in parallel. He served as the company president while it was still Hyatt and when it became a United Motors Corporation. In General Motors, his career started from vice president and developed to CEO of the whole company. 

Alfred P. Sloan lived from 1875 to 1966, and he wanted to devote all his efforts to encourage others in STEM research both while living and after his death. With this mission coming from the founder's heart, he created the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in 1934. And if you love STEM as much as Sloan did it, the Foundation would not leave it unnoticed. 

What does specifically the foundation cover?

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation offers grants to individuals or groups of researchers who apply with a unique and original research project proposal in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, or Economics. 

The Foundation pays special attention to the research project's relevancy to the real issues in practical life. The more your project addresses the real problems humans face, the higher is the probability you will receive the funding.

Also, the organization works to fund those researchers who are not eligible or were rejected to receive sponsorship from other funding organizations such as the private sector, government, or other foundations. Therefore, apply to Alfred P. Sloan Foundation if you meet this first initial eligibility criteria. 

Also, there are certain factors that will automatically reject your funding applications. Read the below list of projects that the Foundation does not cover to avoid unnecessary applying.

- Political campaigns

- For-profit institutions' proposals

- Religion Research

- Medical Research

- Research in Humanities

- Creative and performing arts projects

- Fundraising projects

- Purchase, construction, or renovation of buildings

Read more about the fields not covered by the Sloan Foundation

The specific programs I can apply to

As the Foundation aims to support scientific and economic development, the leading programs you can apply to rotate over those fields. While you can apply with any research project idea you believe in, there are also special programs developed by the Foundation you should explore before organizing your application. 

The main programs include the following:

- The research program focuses on sponsoring the STEM frontiers filled with ideas and need support to research directions like Energy & Environment, Tabletop Practical Physics, etc. 

- Higher Education programs enhance scientific education at the college, graduate, and postgraduate levels. Therefore, K-12 science education projects are not eligible for funding. 

- Technology programs support projects that deal with data collection, manipulation, storage, analysis, and transmission. A special emphasis has the projects related to the new opportunities the internet and computing technology provides.

- Public Understanding will support any project that bridges science and humanities to understand the new world we live in. Projects of New Media, Films, Radio, Theater, Television, etc., are widely welcomed. 

- The New York City Program funds the projects based in New York, as this is the home city for the Foundation. The project includes all of the STEM directions. 

Here is the link for all the programs that Sloan Foundation covers. Read the programs in detail and with great attention, as the further application process highly depends on each program's individual description and requirements. 

Move on to the application of Sloan Foundation programs

The more complicated part of the application is to come up with a unique research project idea. If you have already found your academic passion and know the direction you want to advance your academic skills in, the rest of the application will be easy and quick to organize. 

Let's move on through the main steps.

Carefully explore the program you will apply to

In the above section of this article, you have the major breakdown of the programs that the Foundation supports. Each of the five presented program sections has its subdivisions, which you should carefully check before starting this application. Choose the program and move on with the next steps.

Submit a letter of inquiry

The letter of inquiry is the main body of your proposal. You should send it to the specified email address mentioned in your chosen program's application. Some programs do not require inquiry letters, while others might require extra information and the inquiry letter. 

The inquiry letter includes the following main sections.

- A brief statement of 1-2 sentences, which should give a brief introduction to your research project.

- A description of your research project.

- An estimate of the project's total expense, along with the portion of that expense that researchers anticipate receiving from the Foundation. 

- An estimate of the project's duration

- Grantseeker's title and contacts, as well as titles of other project participants.

*Make sure the letter is two pages at most. 

**The Foundation's response to the letter might take up to a month.

Submit a formal grant proposal

Scholars reach this stage if the grant reviewing committee finds the inquiry letters promising enough to allow scholars to present their grant proposal further. 

The research grant should include the following elements:

- Proposal Cover Sheet

- Proposal

- Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

- Budget and budget justification

- Required Appendices

- Optional Appendices

- Proposal Administration Form

More details about each of those application documents can be found in the Sloan Foundation's official guidelines

Also, as the program you decide to apply might not fall under the classification of Research, here are the grant proposal guidelines for two other project types: Non-research projects and Book proposals.

*Use the proposed templates for the Sloan Foundation Grant proposal main documents to organize the proposal formatting easier.

Sloan Research Fellowship

Each of the fellowships funds the two-years of research for the 126 researchers every year, and you can become one of them by applying following the requirements below.

  • An essential requirement is that candidates should be members of the faculty of the higher educational institution in the US or Canada. Their role in the faculty should contain regular teaching obligations.
  • Candidates should hold Ph.D. or equivalent degrees in chemistry, computer science, Earth system science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience, physics, or similar.
  • Also, candidates should be tenure-track, though untenured for September 15 of every nomination year.
  • The candidate should have a letter of nomination by a senior faculty member or researcher. Each faculty can nominate 1-3 researchers for Fellowship. 

What will the Fellowship give you? 

The Fellowship provides researchers with a lump sum of $75,000, which is granted to support any research-related costs, such as staffing, professional travel, equipment, etc. To ensure the funds are used toward their intended direction, the fellows submit two reports: substantive and financial, once a year. 

How to apply?

The application should be submitted online via the Alfred P. Sloan application portal. Ensure the proper preparation of the following documents as they will be required during the application:

  • A letter of nomination
  • CV
  • Two articles of the independent research
  • A one-page self-description
  • Three letters from other researchers complementing the nomination letter

The applications are open every year from July 15- September 15. 

This article discussed all the main steps you need to apply for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's grants and fellowships. The official website of the Sloan Foundation will support you with any further details you would need to know.

Similar Opportunities







Opportunity Types



Eligible Countries