The invitation, issued by the centre's four co-funders, the Carnegie UK Trust, the Scottish Executive, the Economic and Social Research Council and the Office of the Third Sector, revealed that the organisation will focus on three main areas of research: individual and corporate giving; charitable giving and social redistribution; and institutionalised giving structures.
The agenda emerged out of workshops that the Carnegie UK Trust ran with donors, researchers and academics.
The centre will support independent research aimed at influencing policy and practice decisions in the UK. A charitable giving and social redistribution research team will investigate whether charitable giving might mitigate or reinforce social and economic inequalities, and will try to boost understanding of the role of fundraising.
Another arm will research the structures of institutionalised giving and the issue of who creates them.
Urmila Banerjee, chair of the Carnegie UK Trust, said: "We believe there is a need for more rigorous research and development to inform philanthropic foundations as creative and intelligent funders."
The closing date for bids to run the centre is 14 August.