Consortium on Moral Decision-Making Seed Grants

Consortium on Moral Decision-Making Seed Grants

Deadline to Apply: February 16, 2024

The Consortium on Moral Decision-Making is seeking proposals for seed grants to support interdisciplinary research related to the conceptual and empirical study of human morality and ethical decision-making. How do people decide whether to help or harm others, whom to trust and cooperate with, and how much to assign punishment and blame for transgressions? How do these trade offs play out in light of current events, including the pandemic, climate change, and the political landscape? Understanding human morality and ethics requires drawing upon insights from a diverse range of disciplines, and the current request for proposals aims to motivate scholars to find such connections in exploring the nature of human morality. The goal of the Consortium, which is funded generously through College of the Liberal Arts, Social Science Research Institute, Rock Ethics Institute, McCourtney Institute for Democracy, and the Philosophy Department, is to cultivate new projects that bring together people in projects such as these. To learn more about the Consortium, see press releases here and here. The Consortium was also recently supported through an additional SSRI Level 4 Interdisciplinary Research Initiative grant to facilitate the long-term growth of the group and the training of early career researchers. A working draft of the website (to launch next week) is here, which includes recordings of prior meetings: The Consortium grows out of the Moral Agency and Moral Development that Dr. Cameron ran for several years in the Rock Ethics Institute.

This call is open to faculty-led teams at Penn State, with an ideal focus on interdisciplinary teams from within the Consortium’s faculty members. Graduate student collaborators are welcome as part of application teams as well. Although the seed grants are ideally suited for applicants who propose to apply empirical study to human morality and ethics (e.g., through data collection, narrative review of data), we also welcome applications for projects that are more conceptual in nature. Interdisciplinary projects are encouraged but not a requirement for applications.

Applicants may request anywhere from $500-$2500, and funds can be put toward participant recruitment, workshops or reading groups, and other support for the research project. Ideally, these awards will support the seeking of external support and/or efforts to publish research. All awardees will be expected to attend an in-person half-day conference at the end of spring 2024 in which they will present their in-progress research ideas and/or results to members of the Rock Ethics community. Furthermore, awardees must use these funds during the fiscal year which they are awarded, through June 2024. 

Proposals should be a maximum of 500 words and describe the overall goals of the project, specify all collaborators on the project including CVs, along with a separate expected budget. Send questions to Daryl Cameron ( and Clara Civiero ( Send proposals through the Qualtrics link below. The deadline for submissions is by midnight EST on Friday, February 16, 2024, and a number of proposals will be awarded, based on review by a small team of Consortium members, in late February.