Apply for the 2020 Kauffman Knowledge Challenge

2020 Kauffman Knowledge Challenge


The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Research Strategy focuses on supporting projects that generate practical, actionable, and rigorous evidence to be disseminated and adopted by practitioners and policymakers to solve problems.


The goal of the 2020 Knowledge Challenge is to produce tangible insights for entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship programs, policy design, ecosystem builders, and researchers. Proposals should cover one of the four focus areas (described below). These focus areas are some of the key barriers to entrepreneurship based on the responses and feedback from a variety of surveys targeting entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship support organizations, policymakers, and the general population.

The 2020 Knowledge Challenge RFP is intended to support activities to improve our understanding about entrepreneurship. Applicants will be asked to select a focus area and grant type.

The focus areas cover four broad questions:

  • What strategies can entrepreneurs use to start and grow a business?
  • How can entrepreneurs find, recruit, manage, and resource talent in an increasingly digital world?
  • How do local conditions of ecosystems drive entrepreneurial outcomes?
  • How does entrepreneurship affect equality and mobility, and what policies shape this relationship?  

The three grant types are:

  • Student projects
  • General research projects and research-practice collaborations
  • Diversity of entrepreneurship researcher pipeline programs/projects 

Additional information regarding the focus area and grant types can be found here.


Applicants may request funding at the follow levels depending on grant type:

  • Up to $60,000 over 24 months for student projects;
  • Up to $225,000 over 48 months for research-practice collaborations and general research projects;
  • Up to $400,000 over 48 months for diversity of entrepreneurship researcher programs/projects

While award amounts for individual projects will vary, we anticipate the average grant size to be $15,000 for student awards, $140,000 for research-practice collaborations and general research projects, and $350,000 for diversity of entrepreneurship researcher programs/projects. Applicants should submit a project budget that aligns with the scope of the project, supports proposed activities, and clearly connects those activities with line item requests. 


This call is open to nonprofits, for-profit companies [1] , fiscally-sponsored organizations [2], and/or higher education institutions that provide or conduct research or provide services to entrepreneurship researchers.

Additionally, eligible applicants must meet all the following criteria:

  • Located in the United States;
  • Student submissions can come from doctoral candidates as well as students or student teams at other levels of study;
  • Acceptance of funds means that participants agree to making data, models and methods publicly available;
  • For projects using proprietary data and/or sensitive data governed by strict human subjects policies, participants must work with their home institutions and/or data providers to identify the most appropriate level of aggregation that will allow data to be made publicly available. 


We will not consider funding for:

  • Indirect/overhead expenses associated with the ongoing operations of the organization;
  • Proposed project duration longer than 48 months;
  • More than one application per primary investigator (only one proposal allowed);
  • More than one month of summer salary support for professors
  • More than one course buyout for professors

More Information