Burning Questions Research Planning Grants Program

Encouraging academic researchers to pursue burning questions

What is this program?

  • This program supports the planning of research work and the advancement of recently launched projects related to the “burning questions” we have collected. For example:
    • Hire graduate students to assist with preliminary literature surveys
    • For teaching buyouts to focus on planning
    • Undertake pilot studies (e.g. studies that help produce a ‘proof of concept’) that will lead to full studies
    • Pay a coordinator to assemble a multi-disciplinary team for a large research project (e.g. identify and contact possible members for the team)
  • These grants are meant to encourage academic researchers to explore issues related to “burning questions”, to test ideas and approaches. They are also aimed at helping researchers who have recently started projects relevant to “burning questions” to strengthen and advance their projects. Grant recipients must be prepared to take steps to move their plans forward after the end of the award period if the work funded by the grant shows promise.
  • Applicants (or at least one member of a team with 2-4 persons) must be employed by universities/ academic research institutions that can receive these grants. And they must hold PhD (or equivalent).
  • The institution that receives a grant need not be located in the U.S., but it should be equivalent to a U.S. not-for-profit tax-exempt organization, and be able to accept grants in U.S. dollars.
  • Each grant’s minimum is US $2,000, maximum is $10,000.
  • Grant period is six months.
  • The total number of grants given each year or round is not fixed.

Why this program and approach?

  • While there are certainly academic researchers focused on issues highly relevant to the “burning questions”, they are few in number. We believe that if opportunities and funds are made available to everyone in the academic community to do some exploratory work on these issues, there are probably more researchers who will find these issues of interest.
  • Furthermore, academic researchers often face the challenge of insufficient time to plan, to seek collaborators, to come up with a proof of concept required by major grantors. Many excellent ideas are not developed and leads not followed up simply because researchers do not have the time to focus on them or do not have the time and funds to carry out some preliminary work.

Grant recipients

Learn about the grant recipients.