The Science for Public Good Fund

Published Jul 31, 2017 Updated Oct 7, 2021

The Science for Public Good Fund is a grant program for members of the Science Network  at the Union of Concerned Scientists to apply for up to $1,000 of financial support for online advocacy actions, digital community building, or other efforts to advance equitable science-based policy, with an emphasis on addressing local impacts.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the need to continue to show up, build, and organize for the world we want to see; but we also recognize that it has drastically shifted the ways in which we are able to do so. Thus, we have shifted the criteria for this funding opportunity to reflect what it means to be an active science advocate under COVID-19.

Who is eligible?

Applicants must be active UCS Science Network members (or must be willing to become members) at time of application. Join the UCS Science Network.

The Science Network embraces the full diversity of scientists and their perspectives. Read more about diversity, inclusion, and equity in the Science Network, and the Science Network Code of Conduct.

What kind of projects and activities are eligible?

All funded projects will either advocate for equitable science-based policy, build science advocacy skills, and/or address inequities in existing policies and regulations.

Projects that support community groups and environmental justice organizations will be prioritized and funded at a higher level.

As we continue to engage in this new era of physical distancing and online social connection, we are looking to support creative and collaborative approaches for reaching people online and ensuring sure they have the information and resources they need to engage in science advocacy. Dream big—how can you reach your community on social media, on new online platforms, or on their cell phones? To minimize health risks to our communities and help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Union of Concerned Scientists is discouraging in-person events and group gatherings unless proper social-distancing guidelines can be reasonably followed. 

Examples for use of funds:

  • Online tools and/or  support for virtual meetings, events, and activities. 
  • Support for advertising, promotion, or recruitment of online efforts (including digital or print advertising). 
  • Honoraria for trainers, speakers, or community voices

Priority will be given to proposals that: 

  • are led by earlier career scientists (graduate students, post-docs or those within 3 years of graduation);
  • reach new audiences; 
  • incorporate equity-informed science advocacy from the beginning;
  • work with impacted communities or justice-based groups;
  • feature opportunities for project organizers to grow their advocacy skills and leadership; and/or
  • come from applicants with a demonstrated financial need. 

For resources on building community and taking action online, see our Scientist Advocacy Toolkit.

Read more about previous Science for Public Good Fund grant recipients.

Commitments of grant recipients

All actions and events need to be completed and reported on within 6 months of receiving the grant. Activities should be documented through a write-up, with the welcome addition of photos, video, and/or social media.

Recipients will report back on the use of the funds and will share lessons learned with fellow scientists through avenues such as guest blog posts, online trainings, or other platforms.

All recipients will remain an active member of the UCS Science Network for two years (an active member is one who has taken an action online or offline within the last year,  or  attended a training or event, and has not opted out from UCS Science Network emails.) 

How to apply

We are now accepting applications—deadline is Friday, January 7, 2022. Please complete the application form.

For any questions regarding your application, please contact Tosin Fadeyi at [email protected] The Science for Public Good Fund can support individuals, informal (unincorporated), and formal (incorporated or 501 c(3)) groups. If applying for funds on behalf of a group, we recommend using a checking account in the group’s name or having a fiscal agent. If the grant is sent to you directly, it may be considered personal income for the recipient and become taxable.

In order to open a bank account to deposit funds, the bank may request an Employee Identification Number (EIN) be assigned for identification purposes. A Community Volunteer Group can request an EIN number online by following the instructions at this IRS website.

The UCS Science Network wants to spotlight and support the valuable science advocacy work you are undertaking. Let us help you put your science into action.

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