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August 27, 2008

PRI's 'The World' Awarded Major National Science Foundation Grant

MINNEAPOLIS - Public Radio International (PRI) announces receipt of a $2.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create leading-edge on-air and online coverage of and engagement with science and technology on PRI's "The World," an award-winning multi-platform global news program co-produced with BBC World Service and WGBH Radio Boston.

The three-year grant will support the creation of a new Virtual Science Café, an interactive Web site and associated applications developed in partnership with Sigma Xi, the international research society of scientists and engineers.

The grant also will be used to increase the number and diversity of "The World's" science reports, podcasts and online content for the program's 2.3 million listeners and for its online users.

PRI President and CEO Alisa Miller says, "We are honored that the National Science Foundation is making it possible for 'The World' to break new ground and engage Americans with science and technology and its impact on our lives, our country and our world. We are also thrilled to partner with Sigma Xi on this effort. Current and new users will hear from and connect with top scientists and engineers on air, online and on demand to probe more deeply into leading-edge research. It's a wonderful opportunity for the science and engineering community, our journalists and Americans to contribute and interact in new ways."

The NSF grant enables PRI's "The World" to make listeners and Web users more aware of global developments in areas ranging from climate, energy and nanotechnology to technology and security.

Working with Sigma Xi, the program's producers will identify scientists and engineers who can integrate on-air content into online discussions, which they will moderate in "The World's" Virtual Science Café. Listeners can probe additional topics and contribute to the community through insights and robust discussion, greatly expanding the collective learning experience.

NSF Program Officer Sandra Welch says, "This project has great potential to engage millions of Americans in understanding the scientific and technological developments around the world and how these developments shape, and are shaped by, broader global societal forces. We are very excited to support this innovative effort."

PRI's "The World" is a one-hour, weekday multi-platform global news program hosted by Lisa Mullins. Having premiered in April 1996, it is now broadcast on-air and streamed online by 250 PRI affiliate stations, broadcasts that are heard by 2.3 million listeners nationwide. Podcasts of the show's featured segments are regularly among iTune's top 100.

Offering a mix of news, features, interviews and music from around the globe, "The World" is the only American radio program devoted exclusively to providing global journalism for Americans. Support for PRI's "The World" comes from Merck, the Medtronic Foundation and the Capital Group Companies; by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Science Foundation; and by the PRI Program Fund, whose contributors include the Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

About Public Radio International®
Founded in 1983, Public Radio International leads media by producing, acquiring and distributing innovative content that enables U.S. audiences to "hear a different voice," bringing new voices, global journalism and cultural perspectives to the American public. Through partnerships with BBC World Service and station-based and independent producers, the Minneapolis-based network provides over 400 hours of programming each week, content that is broadcast and streamed online by over 800 PRI affiliates nationwide, whose radio broadcasts reach over 29 million listeners each week. Podcasts of PRI programs consistently rank in the top U.S. 100. PRI is the managing partner of the satellite radio company American Public Radio LLC, established with Chicago Public Radio®, WGBH Radio Boston and WNYC ®. PRI programming is available via XM Public Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. For more information on PRI and its programs and services, visit www.pri.org.

About Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
Founded in 1886, Sigma Xi is the international honor society of research scientists and engineers, with more than 500 chapters at colleges and universities, government laboratories and industry research centers. Membership is by invitation, in recognition of research potential or achievement. Over the years, more than 200 Sigma Xi members have received the Nobel Prize. In addition to publishing American Scientist magazine, the non-profit society awards hundreds of grants annually to student researchers and sponsors a variety of programs that support science and engineering.


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