Free Speech & Peace Research Grants

Free Speech & Peace Research Grants

Embracing differences helps people grow as individuals and leads to new ideas and innovations that improve everyone’s lives. A culture that inspires courageous collaborations, free speech, and free expression, allows people to peacefully exchange ideas and meaningfully engage with people who have differing views.

The Charles Koch Foundation requests proposals for research, programmatic support, or education activities related to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it.

Grant Description

We are particularly interested in research that explores:

  • Impediments to free speech and open inquiry in the academy.
  • Legal interpretations of the First Amendment and their consequences.
  • Exploring the connections between the classical liberal tradition and toleration.
  • Exploring the individual and structural drivers of intolerance and tribalism in society.
  • Press freedom, including research that explores freedom of information laws and the connections between press freedom and free societies.
  • Digital free speech, including research related to intermediary liability, privacy, or other legal threats to free speech.
  • Undergraduate programming that models civil discourse and educates students about the value of free expression.

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.

Explore the Issue

A free press and a civil exchange of ideas are key to a tolerant society. We support research and educational programs that support these values.

Learn more

Our Giving Standards and Principles

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.

Schools provide the academic environment.

We’re excited to support hundreds of schools ranging from small liberal arts colleges to state research universities to Ivy League schools. Each grant we make follows the school’s standard procedures when it comes to hiring, curriculum, peer review, and other policies.

Openness brings opportunities.

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.

Society benefits.

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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