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What is life, and what are its limits? How did it originate, and what fundamental mechanisms allow for the startling novelty of form and function? What processes led to the evolution of humanity, and can we predict future evolutionary outcomes?

The Life Sciences portfolio supports research and engagement projects on such questions. We are particularly interested in applications that seek novel and fundamental insights into the meaning and significance of life processes, by which we can better understand humanity’s place within nature. We support experimental and theoretical work on a broad range of areas and topics, including origins of life, complexity, emergence, evolution, human development, and ecological health and interventions.

Foundation staff responsible for the Life Sciences department also fund projects within our Exceptional Cognitive Talent & Genius and Genetics funding areas.

Featured Grants

Natural Sciences
Project Leader(s): Kevin Laland, Tobias Uller
Grantee(s): University of St Andrews
Project Leader(s): David Reich
Grantee(s): President & Fellows of Harvard College