Google Seeking K-12 Science, Engineering Grant Applicants

The 2014 Google RISE grants range from $15,000 to $50,000 and are aimed at nonprofit groups that work with K-12 students.

IT Skills

Google is now accepting applications for its 2014 RISE (Roots in Science and Engineering) Awards, which are a series of $15,000 to $50,000 grants to nonprofit groups that work with K-12 students to increase their involvement with science and engineering studies.

The awards are to be used by organizations to help create future scientists and engineers, especially among young girls and other groups that have been traditionally under-represented in those fields, Marielena Ivory of Google's K12/Pre-University Education Outreach program wrote in an Aug. 1 post on the Google Official Blog.

"Inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers is crucially important—breakthroughs don't happen without people to make them," wrote Ivory. "We want students to not just be consumers of technology, but also creators of it; to enrich not only their own lives, but those of their communities. That's the motivation behind the Google RISE Awards."

The annual awards are designed to promote and support education initiatives to increase engagement in science and technology, especially computer science, according to Ivory's post.

Applications for the 2014 awards must be submitted by 9 p.m. EDT on September 30, 2013. They can be submitted in English, French, Japanese, Russian or Spanish.

For 2013, 30 organizations received RISE grants, with projects ranging from robotics contests in Germany to programming challenge days for girls in New Zealand, wrote Ivory. In North America, grant recipients included Girlstart in Austin, Texas, which runs teacher development programs, summer camps; science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career conferences; science events for families and community STEM education outreach programs for girls; Level Playing Field Institute in Oakland, Calif., which runs a Summer Math and Science Honors Academy (SMASH) for high-potential students of color in under-performing high schools; and CodeNow in Washington, D.C., which focuses on teaching under-represented high school students in grades 9-12 foundational skills in computer programming through free extra-curricular off-campus training.

Other 2013 grant recipients included Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering (ELiTE) in Harlem in New York City, which runs STEM enrichment and creative problem-solving programs for students from resource-limited communities in Ghana, Tanzania, Jamaica, Mexico, and Harlem; Girls Who Code in New York City, which works to educate, inspire, and equip high school girls with the skills and resources to pursue opportunities in engineering and technology; and Thinkersmith in Eugene, Ore., which runs a Traveling Circuits program to take hands-on computer science classes on the road to local K-12 schools and to home-schooled students.

Google is active in a variety of educational awards programs each year.

In June, Google announced the 39 recipients of its 2013 Ph.D. Fellowship program, which the search giant promotes as a way to gain new insights and innovations from some of the best minds in colleges and universities around the world. Google launched its Ph.D. Fellowship Program in 2009 to recognize and support outstanding graduate students who were pursuing work in computer science, related disciplines or promising research areas. In the first year of the program, 13 United States Ph.D. students were awarded fellowships. The program has since been extended to Europe, China, India and Australia.

In February, Google sought applicants for its sixth annual Google Policy Fellowship Program, which brings interested college and university students together to spend their summers immersed in the world of Internet policy as Google Policy Fellows.

Also in February, Google awarded its first-ever Google App Engine Research Awards to seven projects that will use the App Engine platform's abilities to work with large data sets for academic and scientific research. The new program, which was announced in the spring of 2012, brought in many proposals for a wide variety of scientific research, including in subject areas such as mathematics, computer vision, bioinformatics, climate and computer science.

In addition, Google's Summer of Code contest, which invites college students to submit applications to learn about the world of open-source code development, is in its ninth year this summer. The program has involved some 6,000 college and university students from more than 100 countries since its start in 2005.