In path-breaking prior work (funded 2007-10 by JTF Grant 12344; see Appendix D), we at the Center for Decision Research (CDR) showed that redefining and enriching the human experience of purpose is the next critical step in using behavioral science to improve the human condition. We now face a singular opportunity (see section 3.1, "Strategic Opportunity") to direct global attention and energy to this central goal, and to augment, reshape, and combine kernels of prior insights on purpose into a new paradigm that emphasizes broader notions of individual autonomy, as well as of the social context as a resource for purposeful experience (How might individuals shape their environments to serve their purposes?). We therefore propose an ambitious 3-year agenda through which our globally renowned academic team will seize this opportunity by establishing a new paradigm for understanding purpose, fostering its enduring growth in an expansive, multidisciplinary scientific community, and disseminating yielded revolutions in insight to help people more successfully pursue and experience purpose through management of contextual forces. These efforts (see section 3.3) will include growth, through a competitive subaward process, of our multifaceted core program of research on the pursuit and experience of purpose, development of engaging educational tools, and extensive dissemination of our outputs to scientists, educators, policymakers, thought leaders, and the general public. We thus expect to fundamentally transform both lay views and scientific studies of purpose, to influence and improve the design of public policies to facilitate purposeful living, and to strengthen lay abilities and propensities for purpose-driven behavior, ultimately helping people make fuller—and more fulfilling—connections to their individual strengths, potential, and capacities for purposeful experience.
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