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Kauffman Knowledge Challenge casts wide net in call for projects

Call for Proposals: The 2018 Kauffman Knowledge Challenge
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The Knowledge Challenge may grant up to $400,000 annually for project teams, up to $150,000 annually for individual researchers and up to $30,000 annually for students, student teams, and/or doctoral researchers.

After years of study and experience, we’ve learned some important facts about the role of entrepreneurship in the U.S. economy. We know that net job growth is driven by entrepreneurial firms, that entrepreneurship has fallen by half over the past generation, that the slowing of entrepreneurship can be linked to declining GDP and that social inequality can be linked to low rates of entrepreneurship.

While we know that entrepreneurship drives the economy, we need to know more about what practical, actionable tools and recommendations can empower entrepreneurs and the organizations and ecosystem builders that support them.

That’s why the Kauffman Foundation is issuing the 2018 Knowledge Challenge: Insight to Impact, a call for projects aimed at learning how we can most effectively lower the barriers and create the knowledge needed by the makers, doers and dreamers so they can take charge of their own destinies and achieve uncommon things.


  • April 11-18: Question period.
  • May 9: White paper submission deadline.
  • May 30: Notification of invitation to submit full proposal.
  • July 2: Full proposal deadline.
  • By October 1: Notification of 2018 grants.
  • By February 1: Notification of 2019 grants.

Ultimately, the Knowledge Challenge seeks to increase entrepreneurial success, which can’t happen unless entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship program and policy designers, ecosystem leaders and researchers have more insight into what works and what doesn’t work in encouraging and sustaining startups.

We don’t have all the answers at the Kauffman Foundation. We are tossing our net far and wide to engage promising projects to generate the knowledge that will be directly relevant to the entrepreneur and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. We want to leverage insights and methods across disciplines to yield granular and practical information. We especially encourage collaborations between researchers and ecosystem builders.

The Knowledge Challenge may grant up to $400,000 annually for project teams, up to $150,000 annually for individual researchers (including hiring contract or research assistance) and up to $30,000 annually for students or student teams and/or doctoral researchers.

The Knowledge Challenge projects will address one or more of the following four Special Interest Areas:

  1. Technology and the new nature of entrepreneurship
  2. Barriers to entrepreneurship
  3. Culture and entrepreneurship
  4. Causal research on entrepreneurship interventions at scale

We invite proposers to submit white papers for research activities aimed at improving our basic understanding of entrepreneurs and the levers, tools and methods that can advance entrepreneurship in the United States. The Knowledge Challenge is open to proposers conducting research in universities and academic institutions, laboratories, companies, nonprofit organizations and as individuals. Collaborations between academic researchers and entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship support programs and other entrepreneurial ecosystem builders are welcome.

Editor’s note: The inaugural cohort of Kauffman Knowledge grantees has been selected. Learn more about them here.