The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

An nonprofit organization assessing benefits and risks of scientific advancements

Grant Information
Categories Peace , Environment
Location United States
Cycle Year 2016
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Kendal Gladish
Phone 773-382-0723
1155 E. 60th St.
Room 210
Additional Information
Used for The grant will be used to increase understanding of and engagement with two of the world’s most urgent problems--climate change and nuclear security--by increasing the publication and distribution of articles and multimedia presentations, similar to the examples in Appendix A and Appendix B (updated to August 2016). The grant will also help the Bulletin to identify, train, publish, and engage with a larger number of the world’s next generation scientists, policy experts, and promising young scholars who are eager and qualified to find ways to lower carbon emissions, adapt to alternative energy resources, and lower existential threats from nuclear weapons and waste materials. Lastly, the grant will enable the Bulletin to develop more multi-media features that can be posted on responsible social media platforms, and to host more interactive teleconferences between experts and the public on climate and nuclear issues.
Benefits Our goal is to use these funds to engage top level scientists, dedicated policymakers, and concerned citizens in shaping policies for a safer, healthier, and more peaceful planet. We do this by publishing our award-winning journal, setting the time each year on the iconic Doomsday Clock, maintaining a robust public access website and hosting regular set of convenings. With smart, vigorous prose, multimedia presentations, and information graphics, the Bulletin puts issues and events into context and provides fact-based debates and assessments. For 71 years, the Bulletin has bridged the technology divide between scientific research, foreign policy, and public engagement.
Proposal Description This grant will first benefit the readers and subscribers to the Bulletin’s publishing platforms, including an average of more than 140,000 monthly website visitors. Although the subsequent effects can be difficult to quantify, we can point to specific examples, listed in Appendix C (Samples of Public Impact 2016), of how scientists and government officials have used our materials to shape debates and policies to mitigate the effects of climate change, and lower the risks of accidental or intentional nuclear engagement. Additional funding will advance the Bulletin’s ability to increase circulation, publish more material, and register more recipients of our free weekly e-newsletter. We need to meet a rising demand for the substantive, balanced information and analysis we provide. In 2015, the website received a million more pageviews than in 2014, representing a 79% increase. Visits rose even more sharply, showing an 84% increase. In 2016, the numbers are getting better. Both visits and pageviews have risen 15% through September 2016 over the same period in 2015.

We are particularly interested in attracting younger citizens, scientists, and experts as authors, panelists, and participants in our events. The rising generation is inheriting a dangerous and complicated world and will require new tools and thinking to solve seemingly intractable problems. The Bulletin wants to devote more attention and resources to developing tomorrow’s thought leaders and strengthening our ties to their networks. Evidence that the Bulletin’s audience is skewing younger includes the fact that in the last year, in addition to appearing in traditional media like the New York Times, Economist, the Wall Street Journal and the Guardian, Bulletin commentary has been featured more regularly in outlets frequented by digital natives such as Slate, Vox, Vice, Media's Motherboard channel, Gawker, Gizmodo, Slashdot, Digg, Reddit, and Fark. Views to Bulletin publications from Google +, a cohort of readers 68% of whom are in their late 20s and early 30s employed in tech and design sectors, have risen nearly 20% since July 2015.

These impressions were confirmed this summer with Google Analytics data. We now know that 67% of the visitors to the Bulletin’s website are under the age of 45; 50% are under 35. This very helpful data allows us to better understand our audience and pitch communications and content more strategically.

What we will do to achieve results: Research indicates that readers expect to engage information through new channels of communication—web-based interactives, information that can be read on mobile devices, and short videos that can be shared. New resources are required to create more of these tools and to help the Bulletin’s best work rise above the noise and impact policy results. We know what works—the Bulletin has already had good success developing interactives and videos that drive significant traffic. In the past year alone, the Bulletin has posted a new Dashboard that shows the kinds of considerations that go into setting the Doomsday Clock, including sea level rise and atmospheric carbon dioxide. Another Nuclear Cost Calculator allows users to assess the real costs of reprocessing nuclear waste using different variables.

We have been able to reach more than 100 young scientists and experts in our communications workshops in 2015 and 2016, and our goal is to partner with other universities and institutions to increase that total in the coming year by offering more workshops and individual coaching sessions. This will require substantial new efforts from the editors, publisher, and communications and research team.

The grant money will be directed primarily to the editorial and communications operations to support their capacity to develop and promote open-access and long-form stories on climate and nuclear security topics, to acquire new resource or tools to expedite the creation of videos or interactives, and when necessary to secure part-time or independent contractors to fulfill specific assignments without adding substantially to the Bulletin’s annual overhead costs.