Applicant Profile

We will ask you to tell us about yourself and, if you are a student, your academic mentor. Our reviews are all double anonymous. Our reviewers will not have access to any of the following information:

  1. Applicant contact information. This includes your full legal name (first, middle, and surname), email address, and other contact details.

  2. Applicant educational history and current position. This includes your highest academic degree, the discipline of your degree, the year it was awarded, the institution where you received it, and your current academic appointment. If you are a doctoral student, indicate this and list your department, institution, and country of institution. We will also ask whether English is your and/or your institution’s primary scholarly language.

  3. Applicant personal information (optional). In an effort to promote greater equity in funding, we ask whether you are willing to share some confidential demographic information about yourself. We will remove any identifiers and analyze this data in the aggregate. This section of the application is entirely optional. Your answers to these questions will have no bearing on the success of your application. Our questions concern citizenship, gender identity, pronouns, sexual identity, disability, caregiving responsibilities, your parents’ highest level of education, income insecurity, race and ethnicity, Indigenous affiliation, and how you decided to apply for this program.

Project Information

  1. Project title. This should be 15 words or fewer and contain enough information to tell us what your research is about.

  2. Total amount requested in U.S. dollars. We will also ask you for a detailed budget.

  3. Three keywords or phrases that best describe your partnership.

  4. Your subdiscipline and regional or topical area.

  5. Project duration and location information, including the project start date. Your project can take place over a period longer than 12 months, and if you wish to do your project in phases, that’s just fine. Your start date should fall after March 1 of the year following the year you apply.

  6. Principal research partners. These are the individuals from the community engaged with in your work who participated in designing the project and will be involved in carrying it out. If you have academic collaborators in addition to community members, you may list them here.

  7. Additional partners and collaborators. These can include academic collaborators and others responsible for carrying out crucial yet limited portions of your proposed project. You and your partners may be calling on the aid of an expert in an approach that is key to your project’s success. Here, you should also list local research assistants working under you and your partners’ direction and others who may be helping with aspects of their research.

  8. Other funding applications. Tell us about the other agencies you and your partners are approaching for funding for all or part of the research proposed in your application. It is an excellent idea to seek support from as many sources as you can; doing so will not jeopardize your chances of receiving a Wenner-Gren award. If you and your partners are asking other agencies to cover expenses that aren’t included in your Wenner-Gren budget, you must indicate in your response to Project Description Question 4 whether your project will still be feasible without this additional support.

  9. Research permits and ethical approvals. You do not need to submit copies of research permits and permissions at the application stage. If your application is successful, the Foundation will request copies of the relevant documents when we notify you of your award. We will not release grant funds until we have received these materials.

    In your application, we do ask you to list the permit(s) required for the proposed project and the estimated date(s) by which you expect to secure them. Your knowledge of the required permits will help demonstrate your awareness of ethical issues your research could raise. This information allows us to evaluate whether your project is feasible and whether you are prepared to begin conducting research. Depending on the project, examples of permits include research visas, approvals or exemptions from institutional review boards and other ethics committees, human subject approvals, animal care and use approvals, government clearances, excavation permits, letters of affiliation, and permissions from the local scientific, academic, museum, institutional, or tribal authorities who oversee your research area. Please do not contact the Foundation to ask which permits you need; instead, consult with your contacts and/or advisors.


Your abstract is a very important component of your application. In language that an interested layperson could understand, you need to convey what’s at the heart of your project. Your abstract should convey the “why,” “what,” and “where” of your project, while giving the reader a sense of the “how”—that is, the methods you and your partners will use to gather the empirical evidence you need to address the problem you’ve posed. Your abstract will be the shortest part of your proposal, but it will also be the hardest to write. You and your partners will need to have a very clear idea of your plans to do a good job. You probably should write it last. [Limit: 200 words]


You will be asked to submit a detailed budget with your online application. The maximum award for the Engaged Research Grant is $25,000.

Provide a budget only for the items and amounts you are requesting from Wenner-Gren. If your project is dependent on funding from more than one source, you should include a brief description of the items not covered in your Wenner-Gren budget together with the cost of these items. Remember, you must indicate in your response to Project Description Question 4 whether your project will be feasible if this additional support is not forthcoming.

It is important to include a detailed breakdown, showing how you estimated expenses in each category. You should use the categories listed below when relevant. Please explain in detail why you need what you are asking us for. We will not consider items that aren’t fully justified for funding.

We cover the following expenses:

Research expenses directly related and essential to the project, including travel, living expenses during fieldwork, childcare for you and your partners, research assistance, transcription and translation costs, specialized software, internet access, equipment for participants, visa fees, and other relevant research expenditures.

Compensation for Research Participants and Community Members who contribute to the research. Please include in your budget the cost of fairly and appropriately compensating individuals and groups who collaborate in your research.

  • If you are requesting multiple trips to the field, please provide a justification. The Foundation does not fund pilot research or trips home from the field to consult with supervisors or colleagues or to carry out preliminary data analysis.
  • Explain in detail the aspects of the research you will carry out and which aspects the research assistant(s) will be responsible for.
  • If you are requesting funds for transcription costs, please provide an equally detailed justification.  Explain how you and your partners plan to use the transcriptions in analyzing your data.
  • If you are requesting childcare, please provide the number of hours or days and the hourly or daily rate you’d like us to cover.
  • Per Diems. Per diem expenses should be an accurate reflection of the actual costs of supporting yourselves as you carry out the research. You may include a per diem for your or your partners’ current place of residence if you do not need to travel to conduct the research.

Supplies and equipment directly related to the successful completion of the project. We expect you to request cost-effective equipment that is appropriate for you and your partners’ research.  If you are asking for funding to pay for an expensive item like a high-end laptop, you’ll need to justify your request in light of the work you plan to do.

You may need to purchase a piece of equipment with Foundation funds that costs $750 or more.  If this item still has monetary value at the end of a project, we will ask you to return the resale value to the Foundation or, with our approval, to donate it to an educational or scientific organization, ideally with ties to the community where you worked. We treat devices comprised of compound elements each costing less than $750 but used together (e.g. a camera body and lenses) as a single piece of equipment.

If you are asking for funding for such an item, we will need to receive a donation statement as part of your application. The donation statement should explain why you need the equipment for your project, why you don’t have access to the equipment through your institution, why you cannot obtain funding for the equipment from other sources, and what you plan to do with the equipment at the end of your project.

Equipment Insurance. Please provide a justification detailing the coverage level and the role of covered items in the project.

These expenses are not covered:

  • Your salary and/or fringe benefits
  • Personal income taxes
  • Travel, subsistence, insurance, and other expenses of family members and other non-project personnel accompanying you to the field
  • Travel to and/or attendance at meetings if these are not part of your research
  • Return trips to consult with your supervisor or colleagues
  • Institutional overhead or institutional support
  • Expenses incurred prior to the effective date of the grant
  • Expenses incurred somewhere other than where you’re doing research—for rent, mortgage payments, childcare, storage of personal effects, etc.
  • Living expenses while you’re writing a thesis
  • Contingency funds or miscellaneous expenses

Resubmission Statement

If you are resubmitting an application that was unsuccessful in a previous funding cycle, you will need to include a resubmission statement. In it, you’ll have an opportunity to tell us about the progress you’ve made since you last applied. How has your thinking developed?  How have you and your partners refined your plans?  How does this application differ from the previous one?  How have you addressed the reviewers’ concerns?  [Limit: 1000 words]

Project Description Questions

We will ask you to answer six project description questions. To make the best possible case for your work, it’s a good idea to use all the space provided.

Question 1: This program supports research that combats inequality and promotes the flourishing of human and non-human worlds through the mutual production of anthropological knowledge with the goal of informing policy, benefiting communities, and producing positive change. Describe the purpose of the research you and your partners will undertake. What will be the focus of your investigation? What is your main research question? What other questions will you need to answer to address it? [Limit: 1000 words]

A successful proposal’s most important characteristic is a well-developed research question, hypothesis, or research objective. You should follow these major guidelines:

  • Narrowly focus your research question, hypothesis, or objective. Ask “why,” “how,” or “what” about an issue of significance to anthropology and the communities involved in your research. Do not present a vast question as the object of investigation; instead, develop answerable questions (or testable hypotheses) in the context of the larger research topic.
  • Do not present your research questions as if you and your partners already knew the answers. Demonstrate that the proposed research has the potential to produce results that lead to new knowledge.
  • Be realistic about what you and your partners can achieve. In other words, avoid claiming that you will address a wide variety of topics without first establishing the core questions that the investigation will answer.

Question 2: How does your research combine inspiration from insights from anthropology, other academic disciplines, and non-academic sources? Whose thought will you be building on? Give specific examples of the various lines of work with which you are in dialogue, both within and beyond existing scholarship, and which you are seeking to advance. [Limit: 1500 words]

It is important to clearly demonstrate that you have a strong grasp of the anthropological literature that is relevant to your research question and other disciplinary literature that is relevant to your topic. Be explicit in showing how your research will expand upon previous work in the field. Wenner-Gren prioritizes research that is theoretically driven, and Question 2 allows you to discuss the broader conversations that have guided you in formulating your research questions. It is not enough to just cite literature in answer to this question. Please provide a clear and comprehensive discussion of the issues at stake and demonstrate how your work fits into current debates in the field.

At the same time, it is important to clearly demonstrate that your project is drawing on conceptual resources from outside existing scholarship. These should include non-academic genres and sources of knowledge that have inspired you and your partners. Insight springs from bringing unexpected interlocutors into conversation. In the case of your project, who are these interlocutors and what kinds of knowledge do they bring to the table? How have you brought together academic and non-academic perspectives to formulate your research question and develop an approach to answering it that is compelling and new?

Question 3: Describe your collaboration. Who are the partners? What constituencies do they represent? How did they decide to undertake this research? Who will be responsible for completing the different phases of the project? Describe the process used to identify the research question and design methods for addressing it. As part of this application, we require you to provide documentary evidence of commitment from the stakeholders involved in the collaboration. Please explain why the evidence you are providing is appropriate, given local norms. [Limit: 1000 words]

Convince us that your project entails the mutual production of knowledge. Explain how the academic and non-academic partners worked together to develop this proposal. Get into the details. How often did you meet? Who set the agenda? Were there pre-existing protocols for research that you and your partners had to follow? What did the partners do to ensure that this project accords with the values and expectations of the people who will be affected by it?

Question 4: Research methodology. What evidence/data will you need to collect to answer your research question? How will you and your partners go about collecting and analyzing this material? Who will provide oversight? What mechanisms will you and your partners use to respond to problems and opportunities that arise in the course of this work? [Limit: 1000 words]

You’ll want to clearly and explicitly demonstrate that the evidence gathered and the analytical procedures proposed will realistically support the research goals expressed in your answer to Question 1. At the same time, you’ll need to provide strong evidence of how the collaboration that gave rise to this proposal will carry forward into the next phases of the project, including the collection and analysis of evidence.

Provide a timeline for the research. Demonstrate that you and your partners can complete your planned activities in the allotted time and with the available funds. Come up with a feasible research plan with clearly defined procedures. If you are planning to conduct the research in phases, provide a timeline and explain why separate trips to the field are necessary.

If you have already received funds from other sources and are applying to Wenner-Gren for either top-up funds or funds to support subsequent phases of the research, you must provide a strong justification for your research. It is not enough merely to say that you will use the additional funds to collect more data. Explain clearly and completely why you are unable to achieve your research objectives with the funds already in hand.

The Foundation supports projects using all appropriate methods of data collection and analysis commonly employed in anthropology, including both qualitative and quantitative methods; laboratory, archival and/or museum research; and fieldwork involving archaeological, survey, or ethnographic techniques.

Question 5: Describe the role of the individuals who will participate in the project. How have you and your partners prepared yourselves to do this research? Describe your language competence, technical skills, previous research, and any other relevant experience. Describe any work you and your partners have already done on this project and how this research relates to other research you and your partners have done. You may be working with additional academic and non-academic collaborators. If so, please describe their role in this project and how it will relate to yours. [Limit: 1000 words]

In assessing your project we pay close attention to the skillset you and your partners will bring to the project. Please be specific when it comes to describing the expertise each of the individuals involved are bringing to this work. Do you and your partners have the language competence and technical training needed for the project? What steps have you taken to prepare? Have you already carried out a pilot project? If so, what data/results are already available? Have you encountered any safety or access issues related to your research? If so, how will you manage them? What are the ethical issues raised by your research? How will you address them?

Question 6: Through this program, the Foundation seeks to demonstrate how engagement can foster innovation and further anthropological thought. What contribution will your project make to this mission? Describe how your project will bring new insights to the field as a whole and to the constituencies with a stake in this work. How and with whom will you and your partners communicate your findings, including, for instance, to policy makers, activists, political leaders, and the communities affected by your work? [Limit: 1000 words ]

Your project should expand the horizons and change the mindset of anthropologists, when it comes to their understanding of your topic and the power of engaged research in addressing it. But it should also aim to expand the horizons and change the mindset of your research partners and the broader constituencies they represent. Above all, in some sense, your findings should be actionable: they should contribute to bringing about positive change. For this to happen, you and your partners must have a plan for communicating and acting on your results. You may not be able to describe your plan in detail at this point, but you should have some sense of how you will collaborate in this final phase of your research.

Documentation of Support

We will ask you to upload a letter or other documentary evidence of commitment from the stakeholders involved in your partnership. If you are providing this evidence in a language other than English, please include both the original and an English translation.

Optional URL for Access to Figures

You will have a chance to upload charts, maps, or graphs that you refer to in your response to the project description questions. Please use this option sparingly. Only include figures that are essential for communicating your plans and goals.


You should tailor your bibliography specifically for this proposal. Focus on the project’s objectives and the broader conversations and debates that have inspired you and your partners. You’ll want to cite literature related to your approach to your topic, the nature of your collaboration, your research context, your methods, and any ethical issues raised by your research.

You’ll have a chance to upload your bibliography on our online system. Please use a format compatible with Microsoft Word.

  1. Only list the sources that you cite in your resubmission statement or your responses to the project description questions. In-text citations should take the form of the authors’ name{s), year, and, where relevant, page number(s). Please format the citations as shown in these examples: (Baviskar 1995), (Friedner and Osborne 2015), (Nelson et al. 2017), (Zee 2020: 1068), (Baviskar 1995; Friedner and Osborne 2015; Nelson et al. 2017; Zee 2020: 1068).

  2. Your bibliography should not exceed 10 pages, using single-line spacing and 10-point font or larger.

  3. Make sure your bibliographic references are complete, listed in alphabetical order, and presented in one of the bibliographic formats found in major English language anthropological journals (such as Current Anthropology, Ethnos, or the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, among others). Whichever model you choose, be consistent throughout.