University of Chicago Big Ideas Generator


Support for new, bold, ambitious ideas

Our goal is to provide support to allow your idea to grow into a substantial research program. With the aid of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, BIG provides two different levels of funding:

  • Seed grants for up to $30,000 
  • Vision grants for up to $100,000 

Funding decisions will be made by the Faculty Advisory Board. The BIG team provides awardees with strategic support to develop a research plan and pursue external funding from federal agencies and other funders.

Apply Here


The Spring 2016 Funding Cycle is open and the deadline has been extended to May 6th.  Click here to learn more about our current funding opportunities. 


Proposals may only be submitted by the University of Chicago faculty as Principal Investigators. Co-Investigators may be from other institutions. We encourage proposals from both senior and junior researchers across disciplines. Proposals should represent an innovative area of research for the investigator rather than be an extension of the existing research agenda.

Selection Criteria

  • Awarded projects will be selected based on the following broad criteria:
  • Strength of the research hypothesis
  • Capacity for success as a subsequent broader area of study
  • Alignment with BIG Focus Areas (and at least one of the guiding questions) 

Focus Areas

With support from the John Templeton Foundation, Big Ideas Generator provides funding to pursue a set of broadly compelling big questions within these  focus areas: Information, Complexity, and Cognition. Research proposals must align with at least one of the guiding Big Questions within the current Focus Areas. Other focus areas may be pursued in the future.


Apply Here