Press release

James S. McDonnell Foundation Announces New Grants for The 21st Century Science Initiative Awards

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The Officers and Directors of the James S. McDonnell Foundation today announced more than $15 million in grants in their ongoing program, the 21st Century Science Initiative.

Founded in 1950 by the late aerospace pioneer and founder of what would become the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, James S. McDonnell believed that science and technology gives mankind the power to shape knowledge for the future while improving our lives. “Mr. Mac’s” vision continues to be realized through the research these grants are supporting. Since the inception of the program in 2000, more than $340 million in funding has been awarded.

The 21st Century Science Initiative funds research in three program areas. The Understanding Teacher Change and Teachers as Learners in K-12 Classrooms program provides funding to multi-disciplinary team research committed to improving our understanding of teachers learning to communicate in the classroom. The JSMF Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards in Understanding Dynamic & Multi-scale Systems provides students completing doctoral training an opportunity to broaden their research experience and acquire additional skills. The Special Initiative program supports projects closely related to existing programmatic interests that allow JSMF to pursue unusual opportunities.

“The foundation continues to fulfill James S. McDonnell’s vision of serving society by supporting the quest for new knowledge and its responsible application,” noted President Susan M. Fitzpatrick. “These new grants are pushing forward the Foundation’s agenda to improve education and to continually hone the ability of science to contribute solutions to important complex problems.”

In other news, the Foundation welcomes Sarah Paterson, Ph.D. as a new Program Officer. Sarah earned her Ph.D. in psychology from University College London, and as Program Officer she will be supporting the Teachers as Learners and Understanding Human Cognition programs. Additionally, JSMF has promoted leadership from within naming M. Brent Dolezalek to Vice President of Operations and Brian Knox to Grants Manager.

In 2020, the James S. McDonnell Foundation Board of Directors approved:

Teachers as Learners: Understanding Human Cognition

Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Development of Novice Teachers’ Role-Identities as Discussion Facilitators in Social Studies Classrooms

Project Lead: Abby Reisman (University of Pennsylvania) Co-Project Lead: Tim Patterson (Temple), $2,464,087 over five years

University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Teachers as Learners – Teachers as Thinkers: Improving Classroom Communication in Mathematics

Project Lead: Nicole Kersting, $2,500,000 over five years

University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colorado

Developing a model of teacher learning to support computationally rich communication in science classrooms

Project Lead: Tamara Sumner, $2,499,702 over five years

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Facilitating Digital Discourse: Teachers as Learners in a Digital Age

Project Lead: Amy Stornaiuolo, $2,499,399 over five years

University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Preparing Teachers to Facilitate Asset-based Science & Literacy Discourse in Dual and Multilingual Elementary Classrooms

Project Lead: Jessica Thompson, $2,496,461 over five years

In other actions in 2019, the James S. McDonnell Foundation Board of Directors approved:

Collaborative Activity Awards: Understanding Human Cognition

Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts

From Defensive Responses to Clinical Interventions: Understanding the Mechanisms of Anxiety Phase 2

Project Manager: Stefan Hofmann, $406,240 over two years

Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards: Understanding Dynamic and Multi-scale Systems

Romain Frelat, Wageningen University, Netherlands

Katelyn Gostic, University of Chicago

Marysa Laguë, University of California – Berkeley

Laura Maiorino, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Haripriya Vaidehi Narayanan, University of California – Los Angeles

Marco Pangallo, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Italy

Predrag Popovic, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France

Handuo Shi, Stanford University School of Medicine

Felix Wong, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Katherine Xue, Stanford University

Special Initiatives

University of Missouri – Columbia, Columbia, Missouri

Support to Establish a Postdoctoral Science and Technology Policy Fellowship (MOST)

Project Manager: Rachel Owen, $558,000 over four years