James S. McDonnell Foundation Announces 2021 Grants for The 21st Century Science Initiative Awards



$4 Million in New Funding Advancing Knowledge



ST. LOUIS, February 24, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Officers and Directors of the James S. McDonnell Foundation today announced more than $4 million in grants in the long running program, the 21st Century Science Initiative.



In 2021, the 21st Century Science Initiative funded new research in two program areas. Opportunity Awards in the program area Understanding Human Cognition provides funding for new research studying human behavior across the lifespan using more naturalistic designs and dynamic measures better to reflect our day-to-day behavior. The JSMF Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards in Understanding Dynamic & Multi-scale Systems provides students completing doctoral training an opportunity to broaden their research experience and acquire additional skills in this multi-disciplinary field by crafting their own postdoctoral experiences. “Private philanthropy can and should play a central role in supporting knowledge generation and use,” said McDonnell Foundation President, Dr. Susan Fitzpatrick. “Our founder believed in giving smart people the freedom to pursue important problems and JSMF is continuing with that vision.”


The McDonnell Foundation’s 2021 21st Century Science Initiative Awards are:


Opportunity Awards: Understanding Human Cognition



INSERM, Paris, France


New Horizons and a Time-Scale for Learning Transfer: Identifying the Dynamic of Brain Plasticity During Tool Use to Boost Language Learning
Project Lead: Claudio Brozzoli, $250,000 over four years



Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York


Do Tactile Exploratory Behaviors Predict Language Development in Deaf Signing Children?
Project Lead: Rain Bosworth, $250,000 over four years



University of California-Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California


A Methodology for Studying the Dynamics of Resilience of College Students
Project Lead: Magy Seif El-Nasr, $250,000 over four years



University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware


A Naturalistic Examination of the Listening Environment and its Role on Development,

Project Lead: Giovanna Morini, $250,000 over four years




University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon


Context-specific Speech Perception and Barriers to Successful Communication Between Healthcare Providers and Aging Patients
Project Lead: Melissa Baese-Berk, $250,000 over four years



University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina


The Embodied Emergence of Social Communication: Implications for Autism in Infancy
Project Lead: Jessica Bradshaw, $250,000 over four years



University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas

Effects of Financial Concerns on Low-Income Parents’ Speech to Children
Project Lead: Christine Potter, $250,000 over four years



University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin


Faces in the Wild: Understanding Real-World Communication of Emotions



Project Lead: Paula Niedenthal, $250,000 over four years


Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards: Understanding Dynamic and Multi-scale Systems


R. María del Río-Chanona, Complexity Science Hub Vienna



Iacopo Iacopini, Central European University


Adela-Maria Isvoranu, University of Amsterdam


Omer Karin, University of Cambridge


Asher Leeks, Yale University


Stefany Moreno-Gámez, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Alan Pacheco, ETH Zürich


Anton Pichler, Complexity Science Hub Vienna


Miles Wetherington, Cornell University


Lucas Vargas Zeppetello, Harvard University



Founded in 1950 by the late aerospace pioneer and founder of McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, James S. McDonnell believed that science and technology gives mankind the power to shape knowledge for the future while improving our lives. “Mr. Mac’s” vision continues to be realized through the research these grants are supporting. Since the inception of the 21st Century Science Initiative in 2000, more than $354 million in funding has been awarded.



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Susan Fitzpatrick, Ph.D.
Tel: (314) 721-1532
Email: susan@jsmf.org, or www.jsmf.org
Twitter: @jsmf