In celebration of the centenary of the birth of Sir John Templeton, theJohn Templeton Foundation has announced the launch of the New Frontiers in Astronomy and Cosmology program, a three-year, $5.6 million initiative to support bold, innovative ideas with potential to catalyze breakthrough discoveries on “Big Questions” in astronomy and cosmology through a worldwide science research grant competition.

Led by the University of Chicago, the New Frontiers program also features a student essay contest for high school and college students.

The New Frontiers research grant program seeks to advance fundamental scientific understanding in astronomy and cosmology by funding innovative, non-mainstream research with the potential to expand the boundaries and deepen the foundation of scientific inquiry. The program is particularly intended to support research that, because of its non-mainstream nature, or because of the breadth of the questions asked, would not usually be supported by conventional funding sources.

The project has the following four questions as its themes: 1) What was the earliest state of the universe? 2) Is our universe unique or is it part of a much larger multiverse? 3) What is the origin of the complexity in the universe? and 4) Are we alone in the universe,or are there other life and intelligence beyond the solar system?

The grant program will support projects in the areas of astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology that clearly engage these questions. It is hoped that the long-term impact of this research will be a number of ground-breaking ideas that advance our understanding of the universe and our place within it.

The Request for Proposals is limited to research in astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, and related fields. Both theoreticians and experimentalists are encouraged to apply.

There is no restriction on the nationality or the location of the institution of applicants. However, the submission must be made in English.

Approximately fifteen two-year grants of up to $300,000 (theory) or up to $500,000 (experimental) will be awarded.

Winners will be honored at a two-day conference to be held in Philadelphia, October 12-13, 2012, where they will have an opportunity to present their work. The conference will include a public lecture and a panel discussion featuring leading figures in astronomy and cosmology research.

For the complete research grant RFP and application materials, as well as information on the student essay contest, visit the New Frontiers Website.

For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.


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