James S. McDonnell Foundation: Exploring Academic Knowledge of Human and Cognition Behavior Research Grants

JSMF is internationally known for supporting research on cognition and behavior, and currently does so through its Understanding Human Cognition (UHC) program. In 2020, JSMF announced priorities for the foundation’s support for the fields of cognitive science, cognitive psychology and developmental science with the intent of launching a funding initiative that would be forward looking and responsive to contemporary questions, while building on JSMF’s history. The Opportunity Awards were initiated because the foundation believes the time is right to advance the understanding of human cognition and behavior via a developmental science approach.

With the Opportunity Awards, JSMF is seeking to fund projects leading to new conceptual and empirical studies of cognition and behavior that

  • recognize the dynamic nature of cognition and behavior,
  • are situated in real world contexts,
  • cross levels of analysis,
  • unite traditionally separate domains of inquiry (e.g. vision and speech),
  • embrace complexity, and
  • consider how behavior is influenced by interactions among individuals.

JSMF is encouraging researchers to pursue important questions using conceptual and methodological approaches that takes seriously the trajectories, biological and experiential, contributing to the ongoing development of cognition and behavior occurring across the lifespan. Individual projects need not cover the full human life span but the reasons for focusing on specific age ranges for study should be fully articulated. Research plans that only propose to document task performance of subjects at different ages (e.g., comparing 15-year-old subjects to 60-year-old subjects) are not responsive to the call for proposals.