People who believe that wisdom comes only from age and experience may be skeptical, but the folks at the Arete Initiative at the University of Chicago think we need more excellent young minds working to figure out what wisdom is. "Once regarded as a subject worthy of the most rigorous inquiries in order to discern its nature and benefits, wisdom is currently overlooked as a topic for serious scholarly and scientific investigation in many fields," reads the program prospectus. "Yet it is difficult to imagine a subject more central to the human enterprise and whose exploration holds greater promise in shedding light and opening up creative possibilities for human flourishing."
In 2008, the Initiative will award up to 20 grants to scholars from around the world no more than 10 years beyond their Ph.D.s. The foundation seeks to support "highly original, methodologically rigorous projects from a broad range of disciplines: neuroscience, psychology, genetics, evolutionary biology, game theory, computer science, sociology, anthropology, economics, philosophy, ethics, education, human development, history, theology, and religion." The average grant size should be around $100,000.