Though the name of the Foundation emphasizes its devotion solely to the study of humanity, the President and Board of the Foundation have always tried to interpret that dedication in the most liberal and far-sighted sense.
Research support represents the central and most important purpose of the Foundation, but this has not been taken to imply merely the support of many individual research projects as such. The Wenner-Gren Foundation has always held to the conviction that the advancement of the science depends not as much on the number and size of research grants as on the quality and integration of research programs with other services and activities that are dependent upon scholarly cooperation and the exchange of knowledge and ideas.
Occasionally, therefore, when funds were available, special multifacted programs around a particular theme were launched. These programs, each in its own way, attempted to assimilate the branches of knowledge in a variety of coordinated efforts.