Helium Grant

Helium Grants are $1,000 grants for people exploring questions at the edge of mainstream thinking.

About the grant

Apply for a grant

Application deadlines are listed below. 2019 applications are currently closed.

  • March 30th, 2019 - 4 x $1,000 grants available


What types of proposals do you fund?

Helium Grants support people exploring answers to hard questions at the edge of mainstream thinking, i.e. research or development. Ideally, you're someone who documents your work in public, whether that's in the form of content (blog posts, tweets, books), code, or developing a product.

The size of your audience doesn't matter: I care more about authenticity, an interesting perspective, and a demonstrated commitment to your work.

You can use the funds for whatever you'd like, including equipment or materials, travel costs, or funding your time.

A few caveats: Helium Grants are intended for individuals (not organizations); they cannot be used to repay debt; and your proposal should be appropriately sized to a $1K grant (i.e. don't apply with a $250K budget; additional funding sources are fine for bigger budgets, but you should already have that money secured).

When you say “no strings attached”, what does that mean?

If you're selected for a grant, I’ll email you to arrange payment details. I'll send you a followup email to hear how it went. That’s it!

Can anybody apply?

Yes: any age, country (see caveats below), industry, job title, philosophy, or stage of life.

I work / don't work at a research institution, can I still apply?

Yes! You can be expert or amateur, affiliated with a university or research institute, independently funded, or doing this on nights and weekends. It doesn't matter how "official" or "unofficial" your research is: just that you're exploring interesting ideas.

How will you send the money?

I can send money via PayPal (you need a PayPal/bank account), TransferWise, Venmo, or mail a check.

I’m outside of the U.S., can I apply?

Yes, as long as you use PayPal or TransferWise. I’m not an expert on international payments, so there may be country-specific issues I’m unaware of. If I follow up on your application, I’ll do extra research to make sure we’re all on the same page about fees and legal rigmarole.

I have a question about applying for a grant. How can I get in touch?

Email info@heliumgrant.org. (For my sanity, I will ignore any other means of communication. Please only use this email address!)

Where does the funding come from?

This is a personal experiment in income distribution. So far, 22 people have received a Helium Grant.

Previously, Helium Grants were awarded to fund "whatever you can't stop thinking about". In 2019, I decided to focus on funding independent research, which aligns closely with my interests. You can read more about that decision here.

How can I get updates on this project?

Sign up below. I'll email infrequently (mostly when new funding cycles are announced), but I promise to keep in touch!

Can I start my own version of this?

Of course! Feel free to adapt these grant terms to your own needs. If you start your own version, I'd love to hear about it.

Do you know of any other grant opportunities?

Yes, I've started a list. If you're aware of other microgrant programs, I encourage you to add them to that list.