Recent Grants

Foundations and corporations provide key, strategic support for the university’s educational, research, and social missions.

The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation

The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation is supporting the Digital Amati project, an initiative led by Professor of Computer Science Harry Mairson. Prof. Mairson has translated the Euclidean geometrical operations that informed the design and production of the first modern stringed instruments into a computer programming language that enables scholars and conservators to reconstruct the thought and work of luthier Andrea Amati (1505 - 1577) and his followers in Cremona (Italy), like Stradivari and Guarneri. The same language enables contemporary makers to inhabit the work-worlds of the Cremonese makers, and recreate and build on those classical methods, using computer-driven tools. The project is a collaboration between Brandeis, the Museo del Violino in Cremona, and the Oberlin Violinmaking Workshop.  

Pew Charitable Trusts

Assistant Professor of Biology Amy Si-Ying Lee was recently named one of 22 Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences by the Pew Charitable Trusts. The recognition and funding for promising early-career researchers is the latest award for Lee, who joined the Brandeis faculty in 2016. Each Pew Scholar receives a $300,000 grant over four years to advance their explorations of the biological mechanisms underpinning human health and disease. The Lee lab will investigate how cells become specialized by selecting which specific proteins they will produce. Associate Professor of Biology Avital Rodal served as a Pew Scholar  from 2013-2017.

JPMorgan Chase Foundation

The JPMorgan Chase Foundation has awarded a grant to the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management to study the effects of self-employment by entrepreneurs of color on family wealth, well-being, and the racial wealth gap. The study will contribute to a greater understanding of entrepreneurship as one of the drivers of the racial wealth gap and help to find strategies that enhance economic security for entrepreneurs of color, their families, and their communities. Findings from the study will be structured to inform concrete recommendations for investment, policy, and practice so that financial institutions, foundations, policymakers, businesses, and community leaders can work together to support the growth of businesses of color, reducing the nation's growing racial wealth gap.

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Working Longer program has awarded a major grant to Margie Lachman (Psychology) and Adam Jaffe (Economics) to create the first comprehensive database linking patenting activity to age, by matching the NBER Patent Data File, a widely used database of US patents, with the birth and death dates and gender of approximately two million inventors who received a U.S. patent between 1976 and 2012. Lachman and Jaffe will measure how inventive creativity varies over the life course of inventor and how the age-inventiveness relationship varies by gender, technology field, and industry. The research will result in new knowledge and insight for economists, psychologists and other social scientists interested in how aging-related cognitive changes manifest in the domain of innovative work. The research could also have important implications for individual decisions, employer decisions, and public policy regarding maintaining older workers, including job assignments, retirement policies, and the structure and management of research teams. Lachman is an authority on using longitudinal data sets to examine individual differences in trajectories of cognitive change, health, and well-being, and Principle Investigator of the Boston Roybal Center for Active Lifestyle Interventions (RALI), an NIH-funded research center dedicated to improving health in middle-aged and older adults by fostering an active and engaged lifestyle. Jaffe is a leading scholar of the economics of technological change and pioneered the use of patent data as indicators of inventive activity. Together with colleagues at the NBER, he conceived and created the NBER Patent Citations Database.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy (ICYFP) at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management was awarded a three-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to build the next generation of, its pioneering research project to monitor and analyze whether children of all racial/ethnic groups have adequate and equitable opportunities for healthy development. The grant will allow the ICYFP team to deepen their work in five areas: significantly expanding their innovative database, which feeds all policy research work; developing new equity-focused analysis to highlight the state of wellbeing and equity among U.S. children; updating their signature indicators, including the Child Opportunity Index; enhancing their data storytelling and visualization capacity to improve the reach of their analysis; and increasing the project’s impact through targeted outreach and dissemination efforts.

Bay Area Lyme Foundation

The Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a nonprofit that funds Lyme disease research, gave the Laure Woods Emerging Leader Award to postdoctoral fellow Yuko Nakajima, who works in the lab of Professor of Biology James Haber. The award comes with a grant to investigate potential treatments to block immune evasion by the bacteria causing Lyme.

The Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation
Wendy Cadge

The Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation has awarded a one-year Presidential Grant to Wendy Cadge, professor of sociology and chair of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, to help train healthcare clinicians to provide culturally competent spiritual care in senior care settings and study the impact on health outcomes. The project, entitled "Interprofessional Spiritual Care Training for Senior Care Providers", is a collaboration between Brandeis and Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL), one of the largest senior care organizations in Massachusetts and a Harvard Medical School affiliate. This project will, for the first time, adapt materials developed for pediatric care to senior care, and train 75 HSL caregivers—including physicians, nurses, certified nursing assistants, social workers, and community life staff—to work alongside chaplains to deliver spiritual/religious care to the more than 3,000 seniors receiving long-term care at HSL. The resulting research will inform the further development of training materials and advance the integration of spiritual care into elder care.

Alphawood Foundation

The Chicago-based Alphawood Foundation awarded a generous grant to Associate Professor Charles Golden (Anthropology) to support archaeological excavations, epigraphic research, and regional surveying in and around the sites of Piedras Negras, Guatemala and Lacanja-Tzeltal, Mexico. The work will clarify details of the Classic period (ninth century AD) of Maya politics and economies through comparative study of these neighboring, often competing, kingdoms of the Usumacinta River basin. Professor Golden is exploring how, as the kingdoms expanded, trust among polities broke down and Mayan dynasties failed. The model may be applicable in other cultural contexts where emergent states contend with the challenges of maintaining coherence across expanding territory.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Brandeis University a generous grant to support the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’s (GSAS) Re-Imagining Doctoral Education in the Humanities initiative. The funding will enable the school to extend its Dissertation Year Fellowship (DYF) program, which provides resources to Ph.D. students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences to ensure completion in their sixth year. The new grant will help sustain a set of programs first launched with the Mellon Foundation’s support in 2009, which have helped reduce time-to-degree and created cross-disciplinary bridges and support mechanisms for Brandeis doctoral students in the humanities. The new funds will also support the GSAS Working Group on the Future of Graduate Education, which will be evaluating these programs in the context of other initiatives and the changing pressures on graduate education in the humanities.

The AVI CHAI Foundation

With support from the AVI CHAI Foundation, the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies hosted a two-day conference examining the growing phenomenon of anti-Jewish politics on North American college campuses. Day school administrators and educators learned what their graduates are likely to experience on campus; how to cultivate an environment for teaching about antipathy towards and delegitimization of Israel; and identified tools, materials, and practices to prepare students for this new reality and beyond.

Students present at SciFestThe M.R. Bauer Foundation

A generous grant from the M. R. Bauer Foundation will support 10 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows each year for the next five years. Each summer, over 150 undergraduates undertake original and cutting-edge research projects in Brandeis laboratories under the mentorship of Brandeis scientists.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

James Pustejovsky (Computer Science) was awarded a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to lead an international collaboration that will enable the leading US- and Europe-based platforms for computational language analysis to talk to one another.  The European CLARIN and the U.S.-based Language Application Grid each offer cutting-edge, complementary facilities for sharing data and software, but currently operate on different standards and protocols. The Mellon Foundation grant will enable the project team--including Nancy Ide (Vassar College), Erhard Hinrichs (University of Tuebingen), and Jan Hajic (Charles University in Prague)--to make their respective services mutually accessible and interoperable.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

RWJF is funding the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management to expand, under the direction of Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, Samuel F. and Rose B. Gingold Professor of Human Development and Social Policy. is the first national-scale, interactive tool for data and policy analysis on the well-being of children across racial and ethnic groups.    

Professor Donahue leads undergraduates on a woodlands tour.

Henry David Thoreau Foundation

The Henry David Thoreau Foundation supports the work of young environmental leaders nationally through grants and scholarships. Brian Donahue, Associate Professor of American Environmental Studies (on the Jack Meyerhoff Fund), received a grant to launch the Research Practicum at Walden Woods and train the next generation of environmental leaders.

Students participate in the mobile app design boot camp


A grant from Akamai sponsored female high school students in the Mobile App Design Boot Camp, a six-week summer program that immerses teens from across the country in the challenge and joy of building useful computer applications.

Sanofi Pasteur, S.A.

With grants from pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur, Donald S. Shepard, Professor at the Schneider Institutes for Health Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, is conducting research into the global economic and disease burden of dengue, and the cost-effectiveness of the first vaccine.  Dengue is the most common mosquito-borne viral disease, with around half the world’s population at risk of infection. Accurate estimates of the economic and disease burden of dengue and the economic value of vaccination are critical to track health progress, assess program impact and results, and inform decisions about health policy, research, and health service priorities.

The John Templeton Foundation

Two grants from the John Templeton Foundation will better equip hospital chaplains to use research to guide, evaluate and advocate for the spiritual care they provide. The “Training Research-Literate Chaplains as Ambassadors for Spirituality and Health" project seeks to close the gap between hospital chaplains’ current limited research literacy and the importance of evidence-based care for all members of the health care team. Wendy Cadge, professor of sociology and chairperson of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, is leading the project with George Fitchett, DMin, PhD, professor and director of research in the Department of Religion, Health and Human Values at Rush University Medical Center.

Gina Turrigiano

Simons Foundation

Professor of Biology Gina Turrigiano received a grant from the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) in support of her research on autism and brain plasticity. Professor Turrigiano studies mechanisms of homeostatic synaptic plasticity and the role of these stabilizing mechanisms in the development and function of the cortex. Her work has been instrumental in demonstrating the existing of “self-tuning” mechanisms that allow neurons and circuits to adjust their excitability to prevent states of hyper- or hypoexcitability that underlie brain disorders such as epilepsy and autism spectrum disorders.

Lenny Bruce

The GRAMMY Foundation

The GRAMMY Foundation is helping the Brandeis Library to digitize and curate the recordings of Lenny Bruce, a collection of performances, rehearsals, and home sessions by the late comedy pioneer and free-speech advocate that the University acquired as part of the Lenny Bruce papers in 2014. The historic recordings are extremely fragile and would be lost without restoration and reformatting.