Support of research on the nature and causes of schizophrenia was inaugurated in 1934 by the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, U.S.A., with an initial appropriation of $15,000. Since the Benevolent Foundation was established by the Supreme Council, there has been a steady increase in the level of support directed to this research goal through contributions from members of the Masonic fraternity.
Since 1934, more than $15 million has been allocated to the Scottish Rite Schizophrenia Research Program by the Benevolent Foundation, which currently is spending an average of $1.5 million per year on grants and fellowships.
The purpose of the Scottish Rite Schizophrenia Research Program is to support research which will advance our understanding of the nature and causes of schizophrenia. Awards are made for clearly defined projects, rather than for general laboratory support. Pilot projects are preferred to established lines of investigation. Long-term continuing support of investigators or programs is discouraged, in the expectation that results obtained after one or two years of Scottish Rite support will serve as the basis for application to larger granting agencies. While relevance to schizophrenia is very important criterion for grant awards, the Program recognizes that basic scientific projects can add information which is essential for future research on schizophrenia. Therefore, any soundly-based research which is germane to the field of schizophrenia and which would help shed light on the cause, diagnosis and prevention of schizophrenia is acceptable for review. Other criteria for research support after those typically honored by the scientific community: originality and creativity of the research program, and rigor of hypothesis testing.