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University of Chicago
(Chicago, IL )
Big Questions Fund

The University of Chicago’s Big Questions Fund will provide organizational support and funding to enable investigators to address compelling questions with the potential to advance fundamental research. Tiered awards, ranging from $20,000 to $1 million, will enable researchers to pursue the types of questions that are normally out of bounds due to time and resource constraints.


This fund enables researchers to engage in unorthodox inquiry and supports nascent, ambitious research ideas with high potential to yield scientific advances.


The Fund will support research spanning all academic divisions of the University community that pursue fundamental inquiry. Investigators from the University of Chicago as well as its associated laboratories, Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Marine Biological Laboratory, will be eligible to participate.


Recipients of Seed Funds (awarded quarterly) and Vision Funds (awarded semi-annually) will be selected by a Faculty Advisory Council representing diverse disciplines and chaired by the Vice President for Research and National Laboratories. Grants awarded based on intellectual merit, capacity to advance science, and potential to secure external funding. Applications for Vision Funds will undergo an initial blind internal/external peer review prior to evaluation by the Faculty Advisory Council. Launch Funds will be subject to consideration by the President’s Science Group.


Individual grants:

  • Seed Funds ($20,000 to $50,000)
  • Vision Funds ($100,000 to $200,000)
  • Launch Funds ($500,000 to $1,000,000)

To learn more about the program, view the University of Chicago Full Description.