Foreign Policy Research Grants | Managing US Relations with China

Foreign Policy Research Grants | Managing US Relations with China

The Charles Koch Foundation is pleased to launch this request for proposals for grants to support research and other activities on important foreign policy issues confronting the United States today. Given the changing nature of the world around us, the United States needs a foreign policy that prioritizes our national interests and productive engagement with other countries. We are proud to support research that challenges status quo thinking and inspires fresh perspectives in the foreign policy debate.

As Washington, DC gears up for an era of “Great Power Competition” with China, academics and policymakers should ask whether the underlying assumption that these two states are destined for conflict is true. Views of China increasingly divide between two camps: those who see conflict as inevitable and those who question China’s capability or the wisdom of confrontation. Given that China is both a strategic competitor and a strong U.S. trading partner, we are interested in proposals that scrutinize China’s rivalrous ascendance. We are particularly interested in proposals that challenge the status quo assumptions about great power competition, and are actively soliciting proposals for projects that:

  • Analyze China’s future prospects, including the likelihood and strength of both its continued rise and possible barriers that could arrest its future great power status such as political cleavages, internal instability, demographic challenges, and economic constraints.
  • Examine the challenges China will face in leveraging economic clout in foreign policy, including areas such as China’s investments in Africa, “One Belt, One Road” initiatives, and China’s continued technological development.
  • Explore avenues for productive engagement with China, including cooperation on shared interests such as peace on the Korean peninsula, counter-terrorism, and security cooperation.
  • Examine potential causes of conflict in East Asia and strategies for mitigation, and study the unintended consequences of U.S. diplomatic, political, economic, or military competition with China.
  • Explore the risks of current and alternative U.S. military postures in East Asia, including forward deployment, offshore balancing, and limited presence.
  • Explore different strategies for achieving U.S. goals, including different alliance or partnership configurations or implementing new A2/AD operational concepts.
  • Assess the balance of power between China, the U.S., and other countries in Asia, including evaluations of China’s military effectiveness and development relative to the U.S. and other Asian states, assessments of either or both U.S. and Chinese military thinking, comparing the strengths and weaknesses of either or both state’s military modernization, and comparing their advances in naval, air, amphibious, army, space, and other military assets.
  • Consider the implications of emergent technologies for U.S. security interests in East Asia, including developments in drones, missiles, and space assets.
  • Evaluate the power transition literature, including finding gaps and theorizing on novel and alternative ways for understanding China’s rise.
  • Study the balancing, bandwagoning, and hedging behavior of East Asian states, including examples of free-riding or moral hazard in U.S. relations with East Asian countries.

We are open to other research proposals that fit these general themes.

Grant Criteria

  • A one-to-two-page abstract of the project on behalf of your university or college. The abstract should provide sufficient detail for reviewers to assess the nature and feasibility of the idea.*
  • A CV or résumé.*
  • A brief, itemized budget.*
  • Final projects should be original and meet the highest standards of their field, and must not have been previously published.

*Items are required in application.


Funding levels are commensurate with the requirements of the research and the potential for the research to advance an understanding of critical issues. Accepted proposals may also receive support to disseminate the research findings.

Review & Notification Process

Proposals will be accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis.

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Our giving standards and principles guide our long-standing commitment to academic independence and openness.

Faculty call the shots.

Behind each of our grants is a scholar with a vision. Their freedom to drive their research wherever it may take them is essential to the discovery that we hope results from our support.

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To help make potential grantees aware of opportunities, we share news of all our major gifts. This knowledge sharing improves collaboration, offering others the possibility to build on the work of the scholars we support.

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The scholars we support are tackling some of the toughest challenges of our time and preparing students for success in a dynamic future. The goal of our philanthropy is to improve society. As scholars’ discoveries guide the path forward on criminal justice reform, free expression, foreign policy, technology and innovation, economic opportunity, and other pressing challenges, society progresses.

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