Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The goal of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Film School program is to influence and encourage 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 visual media storytelling.

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 students, professional screenwriters and filmmakers to 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. The story does not have to be strictly about science. Sloan is interested in stories that portray 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 eligible. All proposals must be approved for scientific accuracy by a reputable scientist who is a current or former 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.

Sloan Grants Offered

Two Production Grants are offered for $27,500 each

Production proposals will include a completed script for a short narrative 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 annually for $17,500 each

Screenwriting proposals will include either a completed original feature film narrative script, a television movie script, or a television pilot script that meet the Sloan criteria.

One Games Grant is offered for $13,500

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

2024 - 2025 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grants Update

For complete information and application requirements, SCA students should go to the passowrd-protected SCA Community site at:

Each October, SCA presents its annual Sloan Science Seminar whose attendance is mandatory for those planning to apply for one of the Sloan grants. Past topics have included OCD/Phobias, Evolution, Bio-terrorism, Cloning, Memory, Earthquakes, Autism, Virtual Reality, The Oceans, Scientific Ethics and Misinformation, and space exploration, among others. Panelists have included leading scientists and other authorities in their respective fields. The scheduled date for 2024 has not been set yet and will be set for some time in October .

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


  1. Students who apply for and receive Production or Games grants are expected to involve your science advisors 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 them review it for scientific accuracy throughout the writing process.
  2. SCA production instructor, Jeremy Royce, is the designated Sloan production liaison and will work closely with those students producing Sloan films. He will be a valuable resource as a creative advisor who will also monitor the project through all stages from planning, and pre-production, production, and post-production to ensure that all deadlines are being successfully met.

For questions regarding deadlines, required submission materials, or contacting a potential science advisor, contact Jordan Tabaldo in Student Services. For specific story content questions, 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 an accredited scientist.
  • Further submission guidelines are listed on the SCA Scholarship Web page.
Selection Process

  • All applications are reviewed by a qualified SCA panel.
  • Final grant awards are made by the Sloan Foundation.
  • Recipients are generally announced between May and August during the applicable award year.
How To Apply

Applications are submitted once a year, during the spring. Generally, deadline submissions for the Production grant are in early February, and in late April for Writing and Games. Actual dates have not yet been announced.

Deadlines Timetables For Completion:
  • During the fall semester, students interested in applying for the Sloan grant are encouraged to attend the annual Sloan Science Seminar with important science-based topics discussed by pre-eminent scientists. Grant details, including submissions deadlines, are also distributed to students attending the seminar.
  • 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.
  • Between May and August, Sloan grant recipients are announced. Students who receive a Production or Game grant will have one year to begin production and one additional year to complete their project. Students receiving the Writing awards will receive the funds as a scholarship award that for those with federal financial aid loans, will be applied to reduce their outstanding debt.

2023 & 2024 SCA Awarded Sloan Grants

  1. ETERNAL CELLS. Submitted by Daeil Kim, MFA Production Candidate. Based on a true story, a young scientist questions the validity of his mentor's cloning and cell technology and not telling science colleagues the truth. He has to decide between his loyalty to the scientist which is against his principles and the probable consequences of exposing him.
  2. ECLIPSE. Submitted by Ziqi Yang, MFA Production candidate. Based on the life of 18th century Chinese woman astronomer, Wang Zhenyi who in a young girl's dream accompanies the astronomer to watch a lunar eclipse. The astronomer challenges a magician exploiting an audience to believe that he controls this divine phenomenon and is attacked by the crowd who want her arrested. They are unready to accept a woman in science.
  1. LA FORZA. Written by Justine Beed, MFA Production Candidate. 2023 Student Grand Jury Award from the Museum of the Moving Image that included a $20,000 cash award in addition to one-year of mentorship by a professional writer to continue developing her project. A television pilot based on the life and work of Laura Bassi, who was one of the first women to be awarded a Chair in Physics at the University of Bologna in the eighteenth century.
  1. THE DEMON CORE. Submitted by J. Zachary Thurman, MFA Production candidate. Scientist Louis Sotkin, a daredevil with nuclear elements, is working in Los Alamos on the atom bomb in 1946, and while handling plutonium materials in the lab, his screwdriver slips and immediately causes a radiation leak. While trying to help others to evacuate, Slotkin is heavily radiated and hospitalized with severe burns. His colleagues are unsuccessful in trying to find solutions to save him.
  2. SILENCE = DEATH. Submitted by Trace Pope, MFA Production student. In 1990, 1,000 activists marched to the National Institute of Health to protest the lack of available drugs to treat HIV/AIDS. The director of the AIDS arm of NIH was Anthony Fauci who the protestors accused of ignoring them since many of them were on the front lines and knew which drugs NIH should be testing.
  1. CARDS OF HEART. Proposed by Marielle Brady, MFA Interactive Media candidate. an interactive game to represent a psychotherapeutic relationship while also allowing players to learn about mental health challenges and how to manage them in their daily lives.