Higher Education
Recent Grants

Higher Education


Higher education has been a focus of the Foundation’s grantmaking since the Foundation’s very first grant in 1936 to Yenching University in Beijing. Over half of all grant monies awarded since the Foundation’s establishment have been to higher education institutions.

Through its grants to colleges and universities, the Luce Foundation aims to advance three goals:
  • To stimulate and support scholarship, especially projects that cross disciplinary and geographic boundaries
  • To ensure that high-quality research informs policymaking and public discussion
  • To prepare the next generation of diverse scholars and academic leaders
Most of the grantmaking in support of these goals takes place through the Foundation’s thematic programs (such as American Art, Asia, Theology, or Clare Boothe Luce) or its special initiatives (like that on Religion in International Affairs). More details about those programs’ guidelines and lists of previous grants, including to colleges and universities, can be found by following the links above.


A limited number of grants are also awarded each year for higher education projects that advance the goals above but that fall outside the boundaries of its other programs. Those grants are made through the Higher Education Program.

Today, grantmaking in the Higher Education Program is focused on several particular strategies:
  • Encouraging new approaches to the dissemination of research outside of the academy
  • Facilitating collaboration or exchange between scholars and practitioners or policymakers
  • Facilitating and nurturing trans-disciplinary and trans-national research and training
  • Supporting dialogue between US and non-US institutions about higher education goals and strategies
  • Supporting innovation in doctoral education, especially in the humanities and social sciences
  • Eliminating obstacles to a diverse professoriate and administration, especially in the STEM fields

Grantseekers should review our guidelines for more information about submitting an inquiry.

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The Foundation’s vice president, Sean T. Buffington, serves as program officer for higher education. Buffington has long experience in higher education, having served most recently as president of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and before that as associate provost at Harvard University.

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