Call for Applications: Academic Cross-Training Fellowships

The John Templeton Foundation invites applications for its Academic Cross-Training (ACT) Fellowship program beginning November 14, 2016, with fellowships to begin Fall 2018. The ACT Fellowship program is intended to equip recently tenured philosophers and theologians with the skills and knowledge needed to study Big Questions that require substantive and high-level engagement with empirical science.

Each ACT Fellowship will provide up to $217,400 for no more than three (3) contiguous years of support for a systematic and sustained course of study in an empirical science such as physics, psychology, biology, genetics, cognitive science, neuroscience, or sociology. Acceptable courses of study might include a plan to audit undergraduate and graduate-level courses, a plan to spend time in residence at a research lab, or a plan to earn a degree in an empirical science. Fellows may undertake their study at their home institution or another institution. All fellows must have a faculty mentor in their cross-training discipline.

Application Process:

The application process has two stages: a Letter of Intent (LOI) and, if invited, the completion of a Full Proposal. The LOI must include the following:

  • Applicant information — contact details, name of academic institution conveying tenure, and CV (10 MB limit);
  • Request information — proposed project dates (project may not begin before 2017 or exceed three (3) years in duration), cross-training discipline, and name of cross-training mentor;
  • 400-word Project Statement describing — a) what topics or questions you believe cross-training will help you investigate, (b) how these topics or questions fit with the Foundation’s donor intent, and (c) what the proposed course of cross-training might look like.

Evaluation Criteria:

LOIs using the following criteria, listed in ascending order of importance: (i) the academic credentials of the proposed fellow, (ii) the publication record of the proposed fellow, (iii) the professional standing and professional accomplishment of the proposed fellow, (iv) the potential for the applicant to be an influential figure in their field in the future, (v) the appropriateness of the chosen means for the goal of cross-training, and (vi) the potential of the proposed fellow to undertake substantive, high-quality interdisciplinary research on Big Questions falling within the domain of the Foundation’s mission to fund “Science and the Big Questions” if the proposed fellow were awarded the fellowship.  Applicants will not be evaluated based on the race, religion or gender of the proposed fellow.


  • Ph.D. or equivalent degree from an accredited university
  • Employment by an accredited U.S. or non-U.S. university or college. The employer agrees to sponsor the applicant, be the ultimate recipient of fellowship funds, administer the distribution of funds, and make reports to the Foundation on the use of the funds.
  • Received tenure after September 1, 2010.
  • Primary faculty appointment within a philosophy, religious studies, religion, or theology department.

Note: Trustees and officers of the John Templeton Foundation and other “disqualified persons” as defined pursuant to Section 4946 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, are not eligible to apply for the ACT Fellowship program.


  • November 14, 2016: LOI submission window opens
  • March 31, 2017: LOI submission window closes
  • May 11, 2017: Full proposals invited
  • Fall 2017: Awards announced
  • Fall 2018: Fellowships begin



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