Press Room

Unprecedented Partnership Will Advance Applied Conservation Efforts

Washington D.C. — Jul 20 2022

Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and U.S. National Science Foundation Anticipate Providing up to $8 million for science-based solutions

(Partner Release)

The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation (the foundation) and U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) have formed a unique partnership to tackle biodiversity loss and climate change that threaten our natural world. Calling upon the research community to apply for up to $8 million in new research funding, this is the first NSF collaboration with a private philanthropy organization that focuses on applied conservation research. 

“We are facing unprecedented environmental challenges that call for new and different ways of working, including a fresh approach to public/private partnerships,” said Lara Littlefield, Executive Director on behalf of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. “This partnership combines the strength of NSF’s stellar reputation, rigor, and reach with the foundation’s experience in conservation technology to generate on-the-ground impact. Simply put, science is about understanding, and technology is about putting that understanding into action. We need both.”  

Designed to engage academic researchers with conservationists, the program will prioritize proposals that connect highly collaborative, conservation science with practical conservation outcomes. Proposed projects must include an assessment plan that evaluates the efficacy of the conservation efforts, thus informing new scientific understanding and the potential to scale in-field applications.

“NSF-funded researchers have created a wealth of knowledge that is poised to be converted into practical applications and solutions to Earth’s most pressing conservation issues,” said Joanne Tornow, Assistant Director for Biological Sciences. “Engaging with the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation joins together our scientific expertise with their conservation technical experience to support research-based activities that we have not considered in the past.” 

The effort builds on both organizations’ history of supporting work that addresses biodiversity loss and climate change. NSF has been investing in fundamental understanding of the biological response to climate change and environmental biology for years, including grant support for a recent study showing how biodiversity loss could increase exposure to zoonotic pathogens, and another leading to new models and maps of how climate-driven drought and fires could contribute to the release of carbon into the atmosphere due to trees dying.

The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation manages a robust portfolio working with partners to preserve ocean health, protect wildlife, combat climate change, and strengthen communities. It invests in grantees to leverage technology, fill data and science gaps, and support public policy to enable lasting change. Related grants include a kelp monitoring program using new technology to track changes in Puget Sound kelp forests, and Global FinPrint, a reef shark census that showed sharks are functionally extinct in 20 percent of the reefs surveyed. 

This new program will be administered by NSF with awards jointly funded by the two organizations. NSF anticipates awarding between 4 to 8 grants with a maximum three-year timeline. 

For full details on the program including deadlines, proposal preparation, and contacts can be found on the NSF program page. Full proposals are due by October 11, 2022. 

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About the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation 

For more than three decades the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has focused on changing the trajectory of some of the world's toughest problems. Founded by philanthropists Jody Allen and the late Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, the foundation supports a global portfolio of frontline partners working to preserve ocean health, protect wildlife, combat climate change, and strengthen regional arts and communities.  

About the U.S. National Science Foundation 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science, advance the nation’s health, prosperity, and welfare, and secure national defense. With an annual budget of $8.8 billion (FY 2022), NSF is the funding source for approximately 25% of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.   



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