Frequently Asked Questions

The Foundation

What is the Wenner-Gren Foundation?

The Wenner-Gren Foundation furthers the discipline of anthropology through its grants, fellowships, and other activities. We have designed our programs to support innovative and ethical research in all branches of anthropology worldwide. We provide a platform for conversations within and beyond the discipline of anthropology by hosting events, funding conferences and workshops, and supporting publications for scholars and the general public. We work to advance anthropological knowledge, amplify its impact, foster inclusivity, and address the precariousness of anthropology as a career and a field of study.

Whom should I contact if I have a question about one of Wenner-Gren's programs?

Feel free to email us at inquiries@wennergren.org.

If you are interested in applying for a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, a Post-PhD Research Grant, a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship, or a Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship in Ethnographic Film, email applications@wennergren.org.

If you have a question about an active Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, a Post-PhD Research Grant, a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship, or a Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship in Ethnographic Film, please contact Mary Beth Moss, mmoss@wennergren.org.  If your final report is due and you have questions, contact Mark Ropelewski, mropelewski@wennergren.org

If you’d like to learn more about the Conference and Workshop Program or the Symposium and Seminar Program, contact Donna Auston at dauston@wennergren.org.

For information about the Engaged Research Grants, the Global Initiatives Grants, and the Wadsworth Fellowships, contact Judy Kreid at jkreid@wennergren.org.

To learn more about the Historical Archives Program, contact Mark Mahoney at mmahoney@wennergren.org.

If you have any questions about the online application submission process, contact applications@wennergren.org.

Application Deadlines

When should I apply for a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant?

The May 1 deadline is for funding starting between January 1 and June 30 of the following year. The November 1 deadline is for funding starting between July 1 and December 31 of the following year. You should be close to finishing all the requirements for your degree (except the thesis or dissertation) before applying for a grant. It’s important to give your project time to gel.

When should I apply for a Post-PhD Research Grant?

The May 1 deadline is for funding starting between January 1 and June 30 of the following year. The November 1 deadline is for funding starting between July 1 and December 31 of the following year.

When should I apply for an Engaged Research Grant?

Apply by August 1 for projects beginning as early as April 1 of the following year. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to collaborate with your non-academic partners in designing your project.

When should I apply for a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship or Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship in Ethnographic Film?

Apply by May 1 for fellowships beginning between January 1 and December 31 of the following year.

When should I apply for a Wenner-Gren Fellowship in Anthropology and Black Experiences?

Apply by the first Monday in November for fellowships beginning on September 1 of the following year. Use the School for Advanced Research portal.

When should I apply for a SAPIENS Public Fellowship?

When the competition reopens for the next available 2-year fellowship, application announcements will be posted through the University of Chicago Press.

When should I apply for a SAPIENS Public Scholars Training Fellowship?

The deadline to apply for this program is July 15.

When should I apply for a Conference and Workshop Grant?

The June 1 deadline is for conferences and workshops that will be held no earlier than January 1 of the following year. The December 1 deadline is for conferences and workshops to be held no earlier than July 1 of the following year.

When should I apply for a Global Initiatives Grant?

Apply by May 15 for projects beginning no earlier than July 15 of the same year.

When should I apply for a Historical Archives Program grant?

This deadline is rolling. Once we’ve accepted your application, we will move quickly to review it and, if you qualify, provide the support you need.

When should I apply for a Wadsworth International Fellowship?

The deadline for these applications is March 1. If you have already begun your doctoral studies and you would like to be considered for this fellowship, you must apply during your first year in the program.

When should I apply for a Wadsworth African Fellowship?

The deadline for these applications is December 15. If you have already begun your doctoral studies and you would like to be considered for this fellowship, you must apply during your first year in the program.

When should I apply for a Wadsworth Institutional Grant?

We award this grant once every 4 years. A call for applications will be posted on our website 6 months in advance of the next deadline.

Precisely what time are applications due?

You must submit your application using our online portal by UTC-04:00 (midnight Eastern Time) on the day of the deadline. Without prior approval, we cannot accept application materials emailed or faxed to the Foundation.

Review Process

What will happen to my application once the Foundation receives it?

Writing proposals is hard work. So is evaluating them. We do our best to provide all our applicants with fair and constructive feedback. This takes time.

For Dissertation Fieldwork Grants, Post-PhD Research Grants, and Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowships, there are two stages to our review process.

Stage One: One of our screeners will determine whether your application meets our general criteria for evaluation. Approximately 50 percent of these proposals are successful at this point and move on to Stage Two. If you have not heard from us by August 1 (for the May 1 application deadline) or March 1 (for the November 1 application deadline), please contact the Foundation for information on the progress of your application.

Stage Two: A panel of three reviewers will evaluate your proposal. Approximately 33 percent of Stage Two applications receive grants. We will do our best to inform you of our decision at least 2 weeks before the next application deadline (April 15 for the May 1 deadline and October 15 for the November 1 deadline). Again, contact us if you have not heard from us by these dates.

Follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/wennergrenfoundation) and Twitter (@wennergrenorg) to learn when we have sent out the Stage One and Stage Two notifications.

For Engaged Research Grants, Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowships in Ethnographic Film, SAPIENS Public Fellowships, SAPIENS Public Scholars Training Fellowship, Wenner-Gren Fellowships in Anthropology and Black Experiences, Wadsworth International and Wadsworth African Fellowships, Wadsworth Institutional Grants, Conference and Workshop Grants, Global Initiatives Grants, and Historical Archives Program grants, a single panel of reviewers will evaluate your application. You should hear from us between 2 and 6 months after the application deadline.

We treat all application materials as confidential, with one notable exception.  If you win a grant or fellowship, we will publish your name, your project title, and your abstract on our website.

What is the cutoff score for funding?

Our reviewers will rate your proposal on a scale of 1 to 5; the lower the score, the stronger the reviewer’s support for your application. We average out the ratings to come up with a review score, which provides us with a starting point for our final decision. The cutoff varies from program to program and season to season. Generally, proposals with average review scores of 2 and lower are funded. Then we do our best to fund as many proposals that fall in the middle range as we can.

Planning for Covid-19

How is Covid-19 affecting funding for meetings and fieldwork?

You’ll need to provide us with a safe and ethical plan for proceeding in the face of Covid-19. We may require that you hold virtual rather than in-person gatherings. If you apply for a research grant, we’ll ask you to develop an alternative plan that minimizes risks to you and everyone you encounter.

I'm applying for a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant. My project plan is safe, ethical, and provides reasonable protection against Covid-19. Do I still need to come up with a Plan B?

You do need to complete this part of the application. You may not need to develop a completely separate research design, but you must explain how your plan will minimize risks to everyone affected by your research, even during a wave of infections.

Research Permits

Do I need to submit research permits as part of my application?

No, but we do expect you to know what kind of permission or permit(s) you will need. In your application, we will ask you to list the permits required and the estimated date by which you expect to secure each one. These might include research visas, letters of affiliation, human subject approvals, animal care and use approvals, excavation permits, and permissions from the local scientific, academic, museum, institutional, or tribal authorities who oversee your research area. We also ask for local permission: letters, emails, and other evidence of consent from within the country or community where you’ll be doing your research. To fund your project, we need to know that you are committed to addressing any ethical issues raised by your research. Consult with your interlocutors and/or contacts for help.

Are there any countries where Wenner-Gren grantees are not permitted to spend their awarded funds?

No, not in principle, but there are countries where we face restrictions. The Foundation requires grantees to comply with all U.S. laws, including regulations governed by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Please see the OFAC Guidelines page on our website and consult the U.S. Department of the Treasury for more information. We require special documentation for projects located in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Crimea (including Sevastopol), the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic regions of Ukraine, and Russia. The Foundation does not require this documentation at the application stage, but we must receive it before we can release funds.

Letters of Support

Do I need to submit letters of support as part of my application?

We only request letters of support for Engaged Research Grant, Wadsworth International Fellowship, and Wadsworth African Fellowship applications. We use these letters to determine whether applicants will have the support they need to succeed, from individuals and communities who are key to their work. Please note, however, that except where specifically requested, general letters of recommendation are neither required nor accepted.

Film Samples

The application for a Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship in Ethnographic Film asks for two film samples: one from my previous work and one from the project I am proposing. What role do these samples play in the review process?

Film (or multimedia) samples play a critical role in our review; we look at this part of the application very closely. Choose work that represents your approach to the project and gives our reviewers a clear sense of the kind of material you’ll be presenting.

Supporting Doctoral Study

Does Wenner-Gren provide funding to support doctoral study?

Yes, but only to students from countries where opportunities for doctoral training in anthropology are limited. If this is applicable to you, check out the Wadsworth International and Wadsworth African Fellowships. If you are training doctoral students in a department in the Global South, you should look into the Wadsworth Institutional Grant.

I’m applying for a Wadsworth fellowship, but I’m having trouble selecting a host institution. I’ve applied to more than one university and will not find out if I am accepted until after your application deadline. Can I list more than one university? If not, can I switch my preferred host institution once I receive notification?

Unfortunately, no. You may only apply to the Wadsworth program through one university at a time, and we do not allow applicants to switch host institutions. In deciding whether or not to select you as a Fellow, we pay close attention to the fit between you and your host sponsor and institution. You’ll need to make a firm decision before you seek this award.

Does my host institution have to be in North America or Europe?

No. Wadsworth Fellows have studied in world-class universities throughout the world.

I’m in my third year of a doctoral program, and I’m having trouble finding funds to cover the final stages of my training. Am I eligible for a Wadsworth fellowship?

No. We don’t accept applications from students who have completed more than a year of doctoral training.

I’m looking for funding to support me while I write my dissertation. Can I apply for a Wadsworth fellowship?

I’m afraid not. The write-up support we offer is exclusively for Wadsworth Fellows who have received at least 2 years of funding for training prior to their dissertation fieldwork.

I’m not sure I want to be an academic anthropologist. Am I eligible for a Wadsworth fellowship?

Yes, you are. The Foundation’s mission is to advance anthropological knowledge, amplify its impact, foster inclusivity, and address the precariousness of anthropology as a career and a field of study. You may be interested in a program focusing on policy making, public health, sustainability and conservation practices, primate conservation, heritage management, or salvage work on endangered languages. That’s fine, as long as your work speaks to broader anthropological conversations as well.

I received a master’s degree in anthropology abroad and don’t have strong academic connections in my home country. Can my home sponsor be a faculty member at the university where I completed my master’s degree?

We designed this fellowship for students who plan to return to their home country after finishing their PhD, to accept an academic appointment in anthropology. We will ask your home sponsor to discuss why you are pursuing a doctorate abroad instead of seeking training in your own country. We will also ask them to comment on the opportunities that will be open to you as a teacher and/or researcher in your country upon completion of your degree. If there is a faculty member from the institution where you received your master’s degree, who is not going to be your host sponsor but who can provide this information, they could be your home sponsor.

Payment and Taxation

Who is my program administrator?

Your program administrator is your main contact in the Foundation.  They are ready to answer any questions you might have and to help you make the most of your award.

For Dissertation Fieldwork Grants, Post-PhD Research Grants, Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowships, and Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowships in Ethnographic Film, contact Mary Beth Moss at mmoss@wennergren.org.

For Conference and Workshop Grants, Symposia, and Seminars, contact Donna Auston at dauston@wennergren.org.

For Engaged Research Grants, Global Initiatives Grants, Institutional Development Grants (discontinued), Wadsworth Institutional Fellowships, Wadsworth African Fellowships, and Wadsworth Institutional Fellowships, contact Judy Kreid at jkreid@wennergren.org.

For Historical Archives Program grants, contact Mark Mahoney at mmahoney@wennergren.org.

For Engaged Anthropology Grants (discontinued), contact Mark Ropelewski at mropelewski@wennergren.org.

I’ve received my approval notice. How do I formally accept the grant? Is there a deadline?

Congratulations! You can accept the grant by sending in the required items through the link in your approval notice. These items include your completed, signed grant forms and copies of your permits, permissions, study or research visas, and any other pertinent authorizations. It’s important that you gather the required items and submit them all together, as you can only use the submittal link one time. If you have any questions or if there will be a long delay in sending these items, please contact your program administrator.

The only deadline we have is 2 weeks before your start date, but grantees may request payment well in advance to be ready to go. Please note that we do not provide funding retroactively. If your start date is delayed, please let us know promptly; if we have not heard from you by that date, we may assume funding is no longer needed.

How do I get my grant paid?

Please follow the instructions in the link on your approval notice. Documents we require include the completed grant forms available through the link, as well as copies of your permits, permissions, research or study visas, and any other authorizations for your project. Please read through the checklist carefully, as you can only use the link to submit your documents once. Missing items, improperly completed forms, missed signatures, or out-of-date contact information will result in a delay of your payment. We will contact you via email about missing items. Once the required items are received, it generally takes about 2 weeks to arrange a payment.

Can my payment date be before my start date?

Yes. Most grantees request an earlier payment date to begin purchasing equipment, airline tickets, etc. You are welcome to mark “as soon as possible” on the payment form. The Foundation needs at least 2 weeks to process a payment from the time we receive all your grant paperwork and permit copies. We generally do not make payments more than 6 months before the start date without special arrangement.

Do I have to receive my grant through my institution?

No, you don’t, unless you have won a Wadsworth fellowship. In all other cases, if you prefer, we can make the payment directly to you. Keep in mind that if you do receive your payment through your university, you are still the grantee of record.

 

Do I need to pay taxes on my grant?

It depends on whether or not you are a U.S. citizen and the location of your research project, fellowship, conference, or workshop. Non-U.S. citizens expending grant funds in the U.S. should pay careful attention to the regulations. For more information, see U.S. Tax Issues and the Wenner-Gren Foundation’s Tax Reporting Requirements.

Requesting Changes

I already signed the grant agreement for my award. Does that mean my plans can’t change?

No, but you will need to contact your program administrator before you make any significant modifications to your project or fellowship. According to your grant agreement, you can only spend funds on items included in your approved budget. Your fellowship agreement obligates you to work on your project for the full duration of your award.

If you have a Dissertation Research Grant, a Post-PhD Research Grant, or an Engaged Research Grant, you will need prior approval from the Foundation to modify your research topic, geographical location, methodology, project personnel, budget, or the starting date and duration of your award. To request these changes, please email your program administrator.

For changes to Conference and Workshop Grants, Global Initiatives Grants, Historical Archives Program grants, Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowships, Fejos Fellowships in Ethnographic Film, and Wadsworth fellowships, you will need to contact your program administrator. Most changes to these awards also require prior approval.

We review requests for significant changes promptly on a case-by-case basis. We will work with you to be sure that we fully understand your situation before we make a decision.

I have a research grant, and I need to request a delay in my start date and timeline. What should I do?

Contact your program administrator. You’ll want to share your new dates with them and explain the reason for the change. If you are altering your timeline, include a revised itemized budget.

I have a research grant, and I would like to extend my timeline. Is this possible?

Yes, but again you will need to contact your program administrator to seek advance permission. Please include in your email an explanation for the change and a revised itemized budget.

I have a research grant, and I’d like to extend the time I’m spending on the research without any changes to my budget. Is this allowed?

Your program administrator can help you with this. Send them a new specific end date and explain why you are seeking an extension. You’ll want to confirm that the budget is unchanged.

I’d like to request a change to my budget. What’s the process?

You’ll want to reach out to your program administrator. They will need a revised itemized budget for the full amount of the grant, along with an explanation for the changes. Use the same format and level of detail that you did in your original budget. If you are simply moving small amounts (less the $100) from one approved category to another, you do not need advance permission.

What about other changes?

A lot can happen between the day you receive your award letter and the day you complete your grant. You may need to change the location of your project. You may need to move your meeting to another city or take it online. Your topic may have shifted. If you have a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, you may be working with a new supervisor. You may be affiliated with a new institution. You may have changed your name, your pronouns, or your contact information. Reach out to your program administrator. They will help you with the process.

Final Reports

What are the reporting requirements?

If you receive one of our awards, your program administrator will explain the reporting requirements: when to send them, to whom to send them, and what will happen once the Foundation receives them. Depending on the program, the contents and form of the final report will vary; please see the final report guide for your program. If your program isn’t included there, contact your program administrator for further information.

I used part of my budget to purchase cell phones and laptops for my collaborators and interlocutors. None of these devices cost more than $750. May I keep this equipment after my research is finished?

Technically, yes, but we strongly encourage you to donate these items to your research participants. It’s a good way to compensate them for their help. However, be sure to remove any identifying information first.

The research funded by Wenner-Gren is part of a bigger project. Should I wait until that project is completed to submit my final report?

No. We just want to hear about what you accomplished with our funding.

What are your publication requirements?

We don’t have specific publication requirements, although we do hope that you will publish your findings. When you do, we would be grateful if you would acknowledge the Wenner-Gren Foundation. We would like to be listed in all publications resulting in whole or in part from your grant. Please also send us copies of this work. Include your name, the grant number, and a full bibliographic citation in Current Anthropology format.

What will the Foundation do with the materials I submit?

We would love to publicize your accomplishments. As was the case with your application, we will treat your final reports, with the exception of your final abstract, as confidential. But if you provide us with photographs, films, or other materials created in connection with your project, we may want to use them on our website or for other purposes related to the Foundation’s activities. Unless you indicate otherwise, we will assume that you have given us permission to do so. We will also assume that we have your permission to use your name, a description of your research project, and the names of organizations you are associated with. If this is not the case, please let us know. And please only send us images that are ethically sourced, as described in our Standards of Practice for Photographs and Videos.

Will I receive a reminder that my reports are due?

No.  We will only notify you if you miss your final reporting due date. If you don’t remember what this deadline is, please feel free to email your program administrator to check on your grant’s status.

What if I miss the due date for my final reports?

If you contact us with a good explanation for the delay, we’ll give you an extension. Please email your program administrator as soon as you know your reports will be late and give us a date by which you will turn them in. There will be repercussions if you fail to report on your grant. Individuals who fail to fulfill our reporting requirements become ineligible for further support from the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

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