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University of Chicago initiative offers grants for projects to study wisdom
Proposals due by Monday, November 19

Oct. 24, 2007

Scholars from around the world are being asked to submit proposals to a University of Chicago-based project to develop new scholarly investigations into the nature, cultivation, benefits and applications of wisdom.

Letters of intent are due by 6 a.m. (CST) Monday, Nov. 19 from scholars wishing to compete for grants administered by the Arete Initiative for a project to study the nature and benefits of wisdom. The University of Chicago’s Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience will manage the project.

The initiative is directed at encouraging young scholars and scientists from around the world to study wisdom. Proposals are being solicited from researchers who are within 10 years of having received a Ph.D. More information is available at

John Cacioppo, the Tiffany & Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology and the College, and Howard Nusbaum, Chairman and Professor of Psychology and Professor in the College, will serve as the principal investigators for the initiative.

“At one time, wisdom was regarded as a subject for the most rigorous and sophisticated methods of inquiry. However, wisdom is currently overlooked and neglected as a topic for serious scholarly investigations,” said Cacioppo.

The Arete Initiative is looking for highly original, methodologically rigorous projects from a broad range of disciplines, including, but not limited to: neuroscience, psychology, genetics, evolutionary biology, game theory, computer science, sociology, anthropology, economics, philosophy, ethics, education, human development, visual and performing arts, history, theology, and religion.

Although individual projects will likely take root in a particular area or in two related areas, award recipients will participate in annual research meetings and quarterly conference calls with the other grantees. A council of prominent scholars will guide the initiative and help select promising projects to be funded.

Once proposals have been submitted, a symposium on wisdom will be organized and held in Chicago in August of 2008, giving grant applicants an opportunity to present their ideas. Members of the project council will then review the proposals and their accompanying peer reviews, before selecting 20 projects to receive the three-year awards of approximately $100,000 each, which are being funded by the Templeton Foundation.

Investigators selected for grant support will become part of a Wisdom Research Network that will meet periodically to share research and results. One product of this work is expected to be a book published by a scholarly press and which Nusbaum will edit.

The John Templeton Foundation is providing a $2 million grant to the University to establish the Research Initiative on the Nature and Benefits of Wisdom. The John Templeton Foundation has supported research and scholarly programs on a global scale for nearly 20 years.

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Last modified at 03:46 PM CST on Wednesday, October 24, 2007

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