International Peace & Security Grant Guidelines

Understand guideline and funding cycles

MacArthur publishes program guidelines to help applicants determine whether their idea for a grant fits within a particular grantmaking strategy.

As a general rule, applicants should base this decision on three related criteria that appear in program guidelines: the topical focus addressed by the grantmaking strategy; the geographic area covered by the grantmaking strategy; and, finally, the type of funding (i.e., general operating support, research, program support, etc.) that supports the grantmaking strategy.

Like most strategic grantmaking foundations, the MacArthur Foundation considers funding only those applications that closely match the topical, geographic, and funding criteria for a specific grantmaking strategy.

Overview

MacArthur’s goals in the area of international peace and security grantmaking are to prevent nuclear terrorism and strengthen stability in the Asia-Pacific region.


Questions about this grantmaking area can be addressed to Director Emma Belcher.


What MacArthur Funds

Nuclear Security

Policy Research

In this element of our work the Foundation focuses on preventing nuclear terrorism by denying terrorist access to the fissile materials (highly enriched uranium and plutonium) that are the key ingredients for nuclear weapons. As nuclear power becomes an important means of diversifying energy portfolios and reducing carbon emissions, fissile material stockpiles are set to grow, raising the risk of theft or diversion.

We view nuclear power as a potentially valuable element of the response to climate change, so we seek to incorporate approaches into U.S. nuclear policy and the global nuclear fuel cycle that prevent access to fissile materials. Ultimately, we seek technical and political solutions to end the world's reliance on weapon-usable material (highly enriched uranium and plutonium).

We also seek to ensure that as policymakers review nuclear energy safety standards in the wake of the Fukushima accident, they do not unintentionally undermine critical security objectives and increase the risk of proliferation. 

Supported policy research projects aim to prevent the theft or diversion of fissile materials from military and civilian sites, ensure that the inevitable growth in nuclear power does not increase the availability of fissile materials for terrorist groups, and end reliance on weapon-usable material.

In addition, we support a limited number of innovative projects that: 1) seek to effectively address, in a stabilizing manner, the strategic implications of deeper reductions in nuclear arsenals; and, 2) provide new insights and approaches to security challenges arising from national efforts to acquire nuclear weapons (e.g. Iran and North Korea).

MacArthur does not respond on an ad hoc basis to unsolicited letters of inquiry (LOI) on Nuclear Security Policy Research, but will consider them twice a year; deadlines are March 1 and September 1. We review LOIs in an open and competitive process, and we will request a limited number of full proposals based on this review. Learn about the format for Letters of Inquiry. We will issue initial responses within three months of each deadline. It can take up to seven months to receive a final decision.

Advanced Education

Effective policymaking on nuclear security matters requires the best advice from diverse fields, including the natural and social sciences, industry, and policy world, among others. It also entails public debate, which takes different forms in different countries but is rarely altogether absent. As a result, policymakers and the public need advice from experts capable of using their specialized expertise to inform policy decision-making and debates.

Because academic training does not normally build the skills needed to conduct effective policy analysis and because the study and practice of business and public policy do not normally entail specialized training, an interdisciplinary approach is necessary to develop the expertise and skills for nuclear security policy analysis.

The Foundation supports a small group of grantees that provide advanced interdisciplinary training in the field of nuclear security at the graduate and post-doctoral levels. The goal of this program is to produce a small, but highly qualified, international group of nuclear security policy experts equipped to lead the future formulation of nuclear security policies and engage effectively in the public debate.

MacArthur does not consider unsolicited proposals in the area of Advanced Education in Nuclear Security.

Asia Security Initiative

Launched in 2009, our Asia Security Initiative (ASI) has sought to help foster effective policy responses to security challenges in the Asian region. Going forward we are undertaking phase two of ASI. The initiative will remain focused on supporting research projects on Asia, but we will now support projects regardless of whether they are based in the region or elsewhere.

We will continue to encourage collaborations among Asian, and between US and Asian, institutions though such collaborations will not be a prerequisite for funding projects.

We will accept proposals on the following themes:

  • Rising powers in Asia, particularly China and India – and the role of others, particularly Japan and the Republic of Korea.
  • US role in the region, including rebalance and extended deterrence as well as Asian perceptions of, and reactions to, evolving US policies in the region.
  • Geostrategic relationships, particularly US-China, China-India, India-Pakistan, China-Pakistan
  • Leadership transitions/generational changes in Asia and implications for security
  • Territorial disputes and maritime tensions
  • Impact of resource competition on stability in the region

The program will be led by Dr. Emma Belcher, Director, and Dr. John Fei, Program Officer, International Peace and Security.

MacArthur does not respond on an ad hoc basis to unsolicited letters of inquiry (LOI) on the Asia Security Initiative, but will consider them twice a year; deadlines are June 1 and December 1. We review LOIs in an open and competitive process, and we will request a limited number of full proposals based on this review. Learn about the format for Letters of Inquiry. We will issue initial responses within three months of each deadline. Please note it can take up to seven months to receive a final decision.