The initiative provides grant awards in three program areas: understanding human cognition, brain cancer research, and studying complex systems. Scholar and collaborative activity awards in the understanding human cognition area recognize researchers contributing to a better understanding of the neural underpinnings and behavioral ramifications of human cognition, while awards in the brain cancer research area provide support for research that generates new knowledge leading to increased rates of survival and improved functional recovery for individuals with brain cancer. Scholar awards in the complex systems area support scholarship and research on the development of theoretical and mathematical tools that can be applied to the study of complex, adaptive, nonlinear systems, while postdoctoral fellowship awards enable graduate students to broaden their research experience and acquire additional skills.
Recipients of the 2012 21st Century Science Initiative Awards include Brown University, which will receive $600,000 over six years to study the neural and cognitive processes that are the foundations of goal-directed behavior; the Atlanta Research & Education Foundation, which was awarded $1.5 million over three years to explore the overlap between sleep and anesthesia; the Baylor College of Medicine, which will receive $450,000 over three years for research to improve EphA2-targeted T-cell therapy for glioma; and the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, Spain, which was awarded $450,000 over six years for a multilevel analysis of complex networked systems.
Established in 1950 by James S. McDonnell, the late aerospace pioneer and chief executive of the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, the foundation has awarded more than $211 million through the initiative since 2000.
"Support of research and applications of research findings to important problems remains a pivotal role for private philanthropy and for the McDonnell Foundation," said McDonnell Foundation vice president Susan Fitzpatrick. "The foundation is committed to the ideal that having a diversity of private and public funders helps ensure that the most creative work will obtain needed support."