ARC Workshop Request for Applications (RFA)


The Accelerating Research on Consciousness initiative (ARC) draws on best practices in open science and adversarial collaboration to promote open and rigorous engagement among leaders of opposing theories of consciousness.

Our $20,000,000 commitment focuses on up to five signature projects, each taking the form of a Structured Adversarial Collaboration. This process is explained in our infographic (download PDF infographic here). 

We have successfully initiated one such collaboration and another two are underway. This call is for applications to initiate a new signature project. The initial award will be up to $40,000 to host a workshop (stages 1 and 2 in the infographic). If the workshop is successful, it could also lead to a grant of up to $3,000,000 (stages 3 to 6 in the infographic).

We are interested in supporting meetings that can lead to new adversarial collaborations. We welcome applications from all scholars with a strong knowledge of consciousness research and a long-term position at a university or research institution. Please read the instructions very carefully. All applications will be reviewed by TWCF staff. Some applications will also go for external review.

  • Number of awards available: at least 1 and up to 2
  • Amount available per award: up to $40,000
  • Potential for follow up funding: at least 1 award (and up to 2) of up to $3,000,000

Request for Applications

We invite applicants to plan a workshop to design an experiment that can critically test the competing predictions of two or more different theories (or groups of theories) of consciousness. The theories to be tested have to be well-recognized scientific theories. We have included a non-exhaustive list of suggested theories here.

Successful applications will include a feasible plan to run a successful workshop as outlined here by our criteria. The current RFA does not require you to fulfill these criteria, but the workshop you propose should stand a realistic chance of doing so upon its conclusion. A successful workshop will be attended by leading representatives of each theory to be tested. The total number of workshop attendees should ideally be no more than 10. Attendees should include experts in relevant experimental methodologies and people who can develop a proposal and lead a large consortium. This can include scientists, clinicians, and philosophers.

Application process

We have a two-stage application process. Stage 1 is a competitive process open to all scholars with a strong knowledge of consciousness research and a long-term position at a university or research institution. We welcome collaborative applications that include both junior and senior scholars. Stage 1 applications will be reviewed by internal staff and external reviewers.

Stage 1 applications are designed to be short and easy to complete – requiring only the information necessary to select applicants for Stage 2.

Stage 2 will be non-competitive and only open to applicants successful in Stage 1. This application is much more elaborate, and preparing it will require more information. TWCF staff will be able to help complete the application.


  • Opening date - March 9, 2020
  • Closing date - May 4, 2020
  • Announcement of Stage 1 outcome - June 30, 2020
  • Earliest date of award (start date) - October 2, 2020
  • Suggested time window for workshop dates - March to August 2021

Review Criteria

Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  1. The capacity of the host to convene the proposed workshop.
  2. The likely capacity of the proposed invitees to develop an experiment that will meet our criteria for a successful workshop.
  3. The diversity and expertise of the proposed invitees.
  4. The likelihood that the proposed theories can make predictions that are both testable with current methodologies and sufficiently incompatible.

How to apply

More information

For more information contact:

List of articles written about our Structured Adversarial Collaboration projects