Update (June 15, 2020): The Foundation is temporarily limiting the areas where it will accept new Online Funding Inquiries (OFIs) as part of the 2020 Open Submission cycle.
For the upcoming August 14, 2020 OFI submission deadline, the Foundation will accept applications only in the following six areas:
- Exceptional Cognitive Talent and Genius
- Individual Freedom and Free Markets
- Math and Physical Sciences
- Programs in Islam
- Programs in Latin America
Applicants interested in other funding areas should wait until the 2021 Open Submission cycle to submit an inquiry.
The Science & the Big Questions Funding Area supports innovative efforts to address the deepest questions facing humankind. Why are we here? How can we flourish? What are the fundamental structures of reality? What can we know about the nature and purposes of the divine?
In keeping with the Foundation’s motto, “How little we know, how eager to learn,” we value proposals that exhibit intellectual humility and open-mindedness. We welcome requests from individuals and institutions who are inspired by relentless curiosity, willing to challenge common assumptions, and eager to advance the frontiers of human knowledge.
In addition to supporting academic research on these and similar questions, we support efforts to bring relevant findings to non-specialist audiences. Through a wide range of media — print, digital, broadcast, and film — we seek to raise awareness about cutting-edge discoveries in ways that are clear and probing. In addition, we fund programs that help teachers, journalists, religious leaders, and other professionals apply these discoveries in ways that enrich and extend their work.
Over the next five years, from 2019 to 2023, we will be devoting approximately 80 percent of our funding in the Science & the Big Questions funding area to 12 Strategic Priorities. At the same time, we will continue to accept innovative proposals that do not fit into these priorities in our Open Funding Track.