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Grants to USA, Canada, and International PhD Students and
Postdoctoral Researchers for Studies Related to Primals

Primals Research Student Awards

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania

Deadline Date:

05/27/22 11:59 PM EST


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Grants of up to $20,000 to USA, Canada, and International PhD students and postdoctoral researchers affiliated with an IHE for psychological studies related to primals. Funding is intended to address the ways in which primals influence psychological processes. Eligible proposals may be made from any psychology subdiscipline (clinical, personality, etc.) and any other discipline (philosophy, history, etc.) as long as the research is empirical and the focus is one or more primals.

Primals—also called “primal world beliefs”—are basic perceptions of the world’s general character. A foundational taxonomic effort recently sought to empirically determine the dimensionality of primals after gathering candidate primals across Twitter, historical texts, and other sources (Clifton et al., 2019; This effort identified 26 hierarchically arranged primal world belief dimensions (some novel) that are normally distributed, stable over time, orthogonal to most demographics, yet strongly correlated to many personality and wellbeing variables. Further, most variation is explained by three higher-order primals: the beliefs the world is overall Safe (vs. dangerous), Enticing (vs. dull), and Alive (vs. mechanistic). The origins and psychological impact of these beliefs are not well understood. 

The Primals Project at the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center, with support from the Templeton Religion Trust, is pleased to announce the Primals Research Student Awards for PhD students and post-doctoral trainees only. The main goal is to promote new empirical research exploring how primals are formed, maintained, change, or influence nontrivial outcomes or psychological processes. The second goal is to encourage student 1st author publications in top-tier peer-viewed journals. The Primals Project seeks research that is interesting, catalytic, methodologically rigorous, economical, and publication-oriented. 

Multiple awards will be disbursed to awardee institutions during a 12-month period. By the end of that time, Awardees must submit a 500- word report describing completed research, preliminary findings, and publication plans/timeline. One Awardee will then be selected to participate in an expenses-paid, invitation-only conference with leading primals researchers from around the world. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 202822

Number of Grants:

Multiple awards

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $20,000

Term of Contract:

12 months between Sept. 1, 2022 and Aug. 31, 2023

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Principal Investigators must be either students enrolled in a degree-granting PhD program or hold a postdoctoral research position at an accredited college or university at any time between Sept. 1, 2022 and Aug. 31, 2023. To access awarded funds, an institutional affiliation must be active (funds will be disbursed through awardee institution). Eligibility exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis, especially for methodologically advanced master’s students. The contest is not open to contracted faculty. The competition is international.

Pre-Application Information:

Application Deadline: May 27, 2022, by 11:59 PM EST
Notification of acceptance/rejection: July, 2022

Only one proposal allowed per Principal Investigator.

Applicants are welcome to seek preliminary feedback on briefly-stated project ideas before submission, though The Primals Project may lack capacity to respond to all such requests, especially immediately before submissions are due.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Please email application materials as PDF attachments to Rive Cadwallader, Primals Project Manager:

Please send all inquiries to Rive Cadwallader, Primals Project Manager at the above email address.

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)

Canada: Alberta;   British Columbia;   Manitoba;   New Brunswick;   Newfoundland and Labrador;   Northwest Territories;   Nova Scotia;   Nunavut;   Ontario;   Prince Edward Island;   Quebec;   Saskatchewan;   Yukon;


International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.

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