Burning Questions Research Planning Grants Program

Encouraging academic researchers to pursue burning questions

What is this program?

  • This program supports the development of plans and advancement of emerging projects to study the “burning questions” we have collected. For example:
    • Hire graduate students to assist with preliminary literature surveys
    • Obtain help for teaching (e.g. in order to devote time to prepare applications for major research grants from the government)
    • Undertake pilot studies (e.g. studies that help produce a ‘proof of concept’) that will lead to full studies and research projects
    • Travel to discuss plans with potential collaborators or funders
  • The planning grants are meant to serve as stepping stones. Applicants must have large, more substantial projects in mind, or in an early development phase, or in progress only for a short time when they apply.
  • Applicants (and PIs in teams with 2-4 persons) must hold PhD/doctoral degree or be students of such degree programs.
  • Applicants need not reside in the U.S., but must be employed by or enrolled in educational or research institutions comparable to U.S. non-profit universities. Grants are given directly to institutions (not to individuals).
  • Each grant’s minimum is US$1,000, maximum is $10,000.
  • Grant period is four months.
  • There are two rounds each year (Spring and Fall). The number of total grants given each year or round is not fixed.

Why this program and approach?

  • This program encourages academic researchers to explore the feasibility of developing rigorous, large-scale projects to study the “burning questions”. And for researchers who have started projects recently that are highly relevant to these questions, the planning grants incentivize them to move forward rapidly with their ideas and projects.
  • Academic researchers often face the challenge of insufficient time and funds to prepare weighty grant proposals. Many excellent ideas are not developed and proposals not written simply because researchers do not have the time to focus on them or do not have the funds to carry out some preliminary work that are required for major grant proposals. The program aims at supporting researchers who face such challenges.

Grants recipients

Learn about the grant recipients.