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Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The goal of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation film school program is to influence the next generation of filmmakers to create more realistic and dramatic stories about science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers through the visual media.

The goal is not to propagandize on behalf of science or to create exclusively positive images of scientists and engineers. Rather, the Sloan program aims to help aspiring and professional screenwriters and filmmakers integrate science and technology themes and characters into their work.

This innovative program awards grants at six leading film schools: American Film Institute; UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television; Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama; Columbia University Film Department; NYU Tisch School of the Arts; and USC School of Cinematic Arts.

The Sloan Grant Program at SCA

Sloan Criteria:

The one condition of all submissions is that they portray science and/or scientists in realistic, non-stereotypical ways. They do not necessarily have to include sympathetic characters, and the story does not have to be strictly about science. Sloan is interested in reading about scientists as human beings whether they're fallible or heroic. The stories can be totally fiction or based on an actual event or person.

Science fiction, purely medical stories and documentaries are not accepted. All proposals must be approved for scientific accuracy by a reputable scientist, who is either a current or former full-time or part-time USC faculty member or a professional scientific expert from outside USC.

All undergraduate and graduate SCA majors from the seven academic divisions are eligible and encouraged to apply for any of the listed Sloan grants.

Types of Grants Offered

Two Production Grants are offered for $22,500 (full grant) and $12,250 (half grant)

Production proposals will include a completed script for a short film, 8-15 minutes in length, a story synopsis, shooting schedule and a budget. Previously completed films will not be accepted.

Two Screenwriting Grants are offered for $17,500 each

Screenwriting proposals must include either a completed original feature film narrative script, a television movie script, or a television pilot script that meets the Sloan criteria. This comedy or drama must be a narrative story.

One Animation Grant is offered for $17,500

Animation submission materials are the same as the production proposal with the exception of the proposed film length. Animation entries can be between 5-12 minutes.

One Games Grant is offered for $12,500 (half grant)

Proposals should include a playable prototype, game design document, concept art, production schedule, and budget.

2020 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grants Update

For undergraduate and graduate SCA majors planning to apply for grants in screenwriting, production or animation, we strongly recommend you begin developing your projects now or over the winter break.

For complete information and application requirements, go to the SCA Community site at:

In October, we will present the annual Sloan Science seminar whose attendance is mandatory for those applying for a grant. Past topics have included OCD/Phobias, Evolution, Bio-terrorism, Cloning, Memory, Earthquakes, Autism, Virtual Reality, The Oceans, and space exploration, among others. Panelists have included leading scientists and other authorities in their respective fields. The scheduled date for the seminar is Friday, October 11, 2019 from 4:00pm – 5:30pm.

For those planning to apply for a production grant, previous winning Sloan films from the six participating film programs are available online at the Museum of the Moving Image -


  1. For students who apply for and receive production, animation, or games grants, you are expected to involve your science advisor throughout the entire production process. Be clear with the advisor about the time commitment. For screenwriters, we strongly recommend that you meet with your science advisor prior to beginning your script and have him/her review it for scientific accuracy throughout the writing process.
  2. SCA production instructor, Dr. Thomas Miller, is the designated Sloan production liaison and will work closely with those students producing Sloan films. He will be an important resource as an advisor who will also monitor the project through all stages to ensure pre-determined deadlines are being met.

For questions regarding deadlines, required submission materials, or contacting a potential science advisor, contact Student Services. For specific content issues, contact associate dean Alan Baker. Most questions are already addressed on the SCA Community site.


The Sloan Grant is available to undergraduate and graduate students in any of the seven SCA divisions. You must:

  • Be a current student
  • Be an SCA major (applies to undergrads)
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Submit a Science Adviser's Report, approved by a legitimate scientist, either a USC faculty member or a scientific expert from outside USC.
  • Further submission guidelines are listed on the SCA Scholarship Web page.
Selection Process

  • Applications are reviewed by an SCA faculty panel.
  • Final selections are reviewed and decided on by the Sloan Foundation.
  • Recipients are generally announced between May and August of the particular award year.
How To Apply

Applications are submitted once a year, during the spring.

Deadlines Timetables For Completion:
  • During the fall semester students interested in applying for the Sloan grant are encouraged to attend the annual Sloan Seminar. At the seminar, information related to the grant is presented and students have an opportunity to learn more about a specific science related topic.
  • In January, the spring deadlines for the SCA Scholarship Program are announced, including the deadlines for the Sloan submissions. For more information, students should refer to the SCA Scholarship Web page.
  • Applications are assessed by SCA faculty and forwarded to the Sloan Foundation during the spring semester.
  • Between May and August, recipients are announced. Students who receive a production or animation award will have one year to begin production and one additional year to complete their film. Students receiving the script award will receive the funds as a scholarship award toward that academic year. For students with federal financial aid, the funds will be applied against outstanding debt tuition.