Tate Williams

The Week in Science Funding: Fracking, Human Behavior and Prepping for Climate Change

Tate Williams May 6, 2014
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A weekly digest of science and environment news, originally published on Inside Philanthropy. A big week for environment funding, including a family foundation battling fracking, and a Detroit-based program bracing for the impacts of climate change.

I blog about the latest in funding for research, science education, and the environment, as science editor at the news site Inside Philanthropy. I post the occasional roundup of highlights from my coverage over there. Inside Philanthropy is a subscription-based site, but visitors get a few freebies. Here’s what happened in the past week (or so).


Why This Climate Funder is Shifting to Battle Positions  “…Part of that revolution is a reconceptualization of what the future post-industrial city will look like and how it will function. The decisions we make today have to move beyond lifting the city out of a state of extremis toward creating the foundational elements of a city that is stable, vibrant and sustainable.”

Harvard’s Hunt for the Secrets of Human Behavior “…will be an interdisciplinary effort to research the roots of why people do what they do, and pursue interventions that will improve “societal well-being.” Laibson previously spoke at a panel, touting his high hopes for using fields like genomics and neuroscience to achieve breakthroughs in behavioral science, which could in turn transform policies and institutions.”

The Edgy Environmentalists Who Just Won the ‘Green Nobel’ “…Ramesh Agrawal worked out of an Internet cafe to organize villagers against a new coal plant in India. Agrawal has done ongoing work as a watchdog for rural communities facing environmental threats from industry, and his latest campaign led a coal company’s permits to be revoked, stopping construction. Agrawal, 60, has been shot and jailed as a result of his activism.”

The Family Foundation That’s Become a Hero for Fracking Opponents “…while some other funders are either hedging on the subject, tolerating it, or even supporting it. In some states, a ban is far from political reality, and even some environmentalists are walking softly on the issue. Not the Park Foundation. They’re after a straight-up ban, and it’s landed them some attention.”

Chevron Has Gone Big With STEM Giving “…These programs, and Chevron’s latest bump in their funding, reflect an ongoing trend in which large corporations are becoming more directly involved in public and higher education—boosting the country’s lagging STEM education programs, while plugging graduates into the workforce—in many cases, directly to their own companies.”

Photo by Axel Kristinsson from Reykjavík, Iceland

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