Funding Areas

Legacy Programs: 21st Century Science Initiative

In 2000 the James S. McDonnell Foundation (JSMF) announced new grantmaking guidelines for a new funding initiative: the 21st Century Science Initiative.

JSMF believes that private philanthropic support for science is most effective when it invests in the acquisition of new knowledge and in the responsible application of knowledge for solving the real world problems. Applicants are encouraged to keep this in mind when preparing proposals. Projects supported through the 21st Century Science Initiative are expected to meet highly selective intellectual standards.

Interested in applying for a grant? JSMF supports research and scholarship via review of proposals submitted in response to to foundation-initiated programs and calls for proposals. Prior to submitting a request, please take a moment to review the Foundation's funding policies.

JSMF currently provides funding for grants in three program areas. For a brief comparison of the award types offered in each program, please review the JSMF Programs comparison chart. Unsolicited requests that do not fit into a program area and are not research related are not funded. 

Note: If you are unsure as to whether your proposal would qualify for funding by JSMF, please review the list of items the Foundation does not fund.


Understanding Human Cognition

Understanding Human Cognition

This program supports research studying how neural systems are linked to and support cognitive functions and how cognitive systems are related to an organism’s (preferably human) observable behavior.

Dynamic & Multi-scale Systems

Dynamic & Multi-scale Systems

This program supports scholarship and research directed toward the development of theoretical and mathematical tools that can be applied to the study of complex, adaptive, nonlinear systems

Special Initiatives

Special Initiatives

Special Initiatives or Opportunity Awards represent projects closely related to JSMF programmatic interests that allow JSMF to pursue unusual opportunities.

Clothing the Emperor

Clothing the Emperor, a forum for issues concerning the academic research community, discusses a pre-pandemic perspective piece framing a new vision for academic science. Read More

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Contact Information
The James S. McDonnell Foundation
1034 S. Brentwood Blvd., Ste 1850
Saint Louis, MO 63117
Phone: 314-721-1532