Empowering People through Behavioral Science

General Information


Letters of Intent (LOIs) will not be accepted after 5:00PM (CST), May 15, 2013.

If invited to submit a full proposal, all proposal materials must be uploaded through the New Paths to Purpose Website no later than 5:00PM (CST), September 15, 2013. It is the sole responsibility of the principal investigators to ensure that their full proposals are submitted on time. Any proposals (or components thereof) received after the deadline will be rejected. However, nothing in this RFP precludes the New Paths to Purpose administrators from requesting additional information at any time during the application and review process.


May 15, 2013, 5:00PM CST
Submission deadline for required Letters of Intent

July 15, 2013
Finalists are notified and asked to submit full proposals

September 15, 2013, 5:00PM CST
Submission deadline for full proposals (by invitation only)

December 1, 2013 (at the latest)
Grant award winners are announced

January 1, 2014
Required start date for all funded projects

June 1-3, 2014
New Paths to Purpose Research Network Meeting
Scheduled location: Chicago
This event is mandatory for all funded Principal Investigators.

Spring, 2015
Capstone Conference:
Members of the New Paths to Purpose Research Network present their work
Scheduled location: Chicago
This event is mandatory for all funded Principal Investigators.

June 30, 2015
The funding period ends for individual research projects


The PI for each proposal must either have, or be currently pursuing a doctoral degree (e.g., PhD, MD, JD) by the time the LOI is submitted (note: graduate student principal investigators must include a faculty advisor as a co-investigator). We seek submissions from individuals and research teams whose proposed work is grounded in, or bridges across the myriad disciplines that can be studied from a behavioral science perspective (including, but not limited to sociology, anthropology, psychology, finance, marketing, economics, political science, medicine, family and developmental studies, law, education, communication, social work, and religious studies). While methods and approaches from outside the domain of behavioral science (say, from the natural sciences or humanities) may be incorporated into the proposed work, all proposals must centrally include the use of empirical data to address the aims of the grant competition. In short, all projects must in some way substantially reveal hidden (e.g., unrecognized, counterintuitive, or underutilized) connections between behavioral science insights and the human experience of purpose (see the "Overview and Goals" section for more detail).

The project must be accomplished within an 18-month time span, by June 30, 2015.

All proposals will be evaluated according to selection criteria designed to rigorously assess the potential of the proposal to generate paradigm-shifting insights into the human experience of purpose. These criteria include:

  • Are the thematic foci of the proposed work clearly and unequivocally aligned with this initiative’s goals, including the revelation of hidden (e.g., unrecognized, counterintuitive, or underutilized) connections between behavioral science phenomena and...
    • Greater adoption, experience, or impact of fulfilling purpose
    • Facilitation of purpose-driven behavior in social contexts
    • Alignment of individual attitudes and behavior with purpose
    • Overcoming barriers to the experience and fulfillment of purpose
    • Arousal, maintenance, or enhancement of motivation to serve purpose
    • Better recognizing, seizing, or progressing toward one’s purpose
  • Is the proposal led by a highly skilled scholar or scientist, with resources (e.g., institutional support and infrastructure) to deliver proposed results?
  • Does the research plan meet the highest standards for methodological rigor in the disciplines by which it is informed?
  • Does the proposed work reflect an awareness of extant research in relevant domains of research, and present a cogent argument for how it will make influential and innovative contributions?
  • Will the proposed work bring together typically isolated scientific perspectives, helping to broaden and connect researchers within a diverse community dedicated to the behavioral study of purpose?
  • Will the proposed work advance, challenge, and/or benefit from the research underway in our extant research agendas?
  • Is the proposed work likely to make or promote significant, seminal contributions to either basic or applied behavioral science?
  • Does the proposal take on formidable research challenges or unusual risks that would make it impossible to pursue without inclusion in our project?
  • Will the proposed work enable interested parties to better design programs and policies that help bring the benefits of purpose to individuals around the world?
  • Is the proposed work cost effective? Does the budget reflect thoughtful planning and tradeoffs that will maximize the impact of the proposed research and of each dollar invested in it?


Once award decisions have been made (no later than December 1, 2013), a Notice of Awards will be posted on the RFP website: http://www.newpathstopurpose.org/rfp Lette.rs will also be sent, via e-mail, to principal investigators informing them of The University of Chicago’s intent to enter into a contract supporting the proposed research.


Next section: Letter of Intent Guidelines


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