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Courtesy of Kylie Peppler - Maker Education InitiativeCourtesy of Ross Powell and Reed Scherer, Northern Illinois Univ., data recovery from the ROVCourtesy of Ken Buesseler/WHOI, Fukushima cruise mapCourtesy of Yangnan Gu and Xinnian Dong - NPR-GFP fluorescence micrographCourtesy of UCSC - 'guide star' to enable operation of adaptive optics for reduction of atmospheric blurring of image
Unique research beyond our core investments

Special Projects

Exploring opportunities for short-term investments in a range of fields

The Science Program explores additional areas where we can drive significant scientific advances beyond our major core investments with the California Institute of Technology, Marine Microbiology Initiative, new initiatives in Data-Driven Discovery and Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems, and the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Approximately 15 percent of our portfolio is dedicated to grants that support unique and promising research opportunities in a broad range of scientific disciplines. From funding the first international expedition to assess the impact of radiation released into the Pacific Ocean after the 2011 tsunami in Japan to the creation of the Airborne Taxonomic Mapping System, which creates 3D digital maps from the air, we support projects that make a difference.

We also support work that has the potential to evolve into larger, future projects and portfolios. Examples of this potential include:  

  • Imaging Molecular Interactions: We’re supporting the development of higher-resolution tools for imaging living cells to better understand how cells work and to potentially discover new cellular processes.
  • Science Learning:We’re building understanding around what sparks scientific curiosity in children to cultivate a lifelong interest in science. We want to improve society’s understanding of the inherent value of science and in doing so, create a more informed public that appreciates science. These efforts are leveraging our investments in science and technology museums in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Recent Grants

$105,500.00 Aug 2014 Office of Science and Technology Policy Fellow Partnership for Public Service
$563,130.00 Jul 2014 Manipulating the jellyfish: towards a strategy for controlling blooms University of California, San Diego Office of Contract and Grant Administration
More Grants
Courtesy of Bob Paz, chip that contains optofluidic microscope


Vicki Chandler, Ph.D., Chief Program Officer, Science

Vicki spearheads the foundation’s Science Program. She studied biochemistry for her undergraduate and doctoral degrees at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of …

Aanika Carroll, Program Associate, Science

Aanika provides strategic, research and operational support for the Science Learning portfolio. She also supports the Caltech and Thirty-Meter Telescope commitments. Previously, she helped launch the…

Janet Coffey, Ph.D., Program Officer, Science Learning

Janet oversees the Science Learning portfolio of grants at the foundation.  Previously, Janet was a College of Education faculty member at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research i…

Gary Greenburg Ph.D., Program Officer, Science

As a Science Program officer, Gary focuses on advanced biological imaging technologies, cell and molecular biology, and biological research at the interface of physics, chemistry and engineering. Prev…

Chris Mentzel, Program Director, Data-Driven Discovery Initiative

Chris leads the foundation’s Data-Driven Discovery Initiative, a $60 million effort within the Science Program to enable data scientists to turn the scientific data deluge into opportunities to …

Dusan Pejakovic, Ph.D., Program Officer, Science

Dusan helped launch the foundation’s Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Systems Initiative, whose aim is to promote the discovery and understanding of materials in which strong interactions between c…

Jasan Zimmerman, Program Associate, Science

As a Science Program associate, Jasan supports the Data-Driven Discovery Initiative, Imaging Molecular Interactions portfolio and Plant Science Collaboration with Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Prev…