The foundation's priorities for "advancing the frontiers of knowledge and understanding" — which include both existing and new funding areas — include cultural evolution; the dynamics of religious change; health, religion, and spirituality; intellectual humility; mathematics and the physical sciences; programs in Islam; programs in Latin America; public engagement; religious cognition; science-engaged theology; the science of character virtue; and the science of purpose. In support of those priorities, the foundation will award grants focused on three complementary types of activities: research that aims to produce novel discoveries; public engagement that promotes dissemination of these insights; and programs that investigate intellectual humility and encourage its practice by fostering curiosity, open-mindedness, and civil dialogue.
From 2019 through 2023, investments in these priorities will account for 80 percent of the foundation's grantmaking through its Science & the Big Questions funding area. Innovative proposals that do not fit into any of these areas will be accepted through the foundation's Open Funding Track, while other funding areas such as Character Virtue Development, Individual Freedom & Free Markets, and Genetics will continue to support existing priorities.
"With the launch of these strategic priorities we are focusing our giving in hopes of achieving greater impact, which means accelerating more discovery and inspiring more curiosity," said the foundation's president, Heather Templeton Dill. "We are committed to funding innovative research into the fundamental structure of the universe, human flourishing, human character, and the nature of religious belief and practice. And we are deeply interested in disseminating the results of that research. That's why we intend to devote more philanthropic resources in the coming years to doing that effectively."