Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

  • Doctoral Students


This grant program funds doctoral or thesis research that advances anthropological knowledge. Our goal is to support vibrant and significant work that furthers our understanding of what it means to be human. There is no preference for any methodology, research location, topic, or subfield. The Foundation particularly welcomes proposals that integrate two or more subfields and pioneer new approaches and ideas.

Award Money

The maximum Dissertation Fieldwork Grant is $25,000. Grants are nonrenewable. There is no limit to the duration of the grant, and applicants may request funding to cover distinct research phases (for example, two summers) if this is part of the research design. Wenner-Gren awards do not include funds to cover institutional overhead or any fees related to the administration of our grants and fellowships.

Application Deadline

Application deadlines are May 1 (for project start dates between January 1 and June 30 of the following year) and November 1 (for project start dates between July 1 and December 31 of the following year). The application portal opens 2 months before the deadline. It takes us 6 months to complete the review process and arrive at a final decision.

Who Can Apply

Doctoral Students

Applicants must be enrolled in a doctoral program (or equivalent, if outside the U.S.). Qualified students of any nationality or institutional affiliation may apply. Applicants must designate a dissertation advisor or other scholar from the same institution who will take responsibility for supervising the project.

To receive an award, applicants must fulfill all of their program’s doctoral degree requirements, other than the dissertation/thesis, before the start date listed on their application form. Successful applicants must provide proof from their department that they have completed all the necessary coursework and exams.

Unsuccessful applicants are welcome to reapply. But as part of their resubmission, they must explain how they have addressed the reviewers’ concerns, along with any changes to their plans.

Our reviewers assess the quality of the proposed research, its potential contribution to anthropological knowledge, and its adherence to the principles articulated in our mission, including a commitment to fostering an inclusive vision of anthropology. We expect applicants to draw inspiration from a broad range of scholarship, including relevant work in English and other languages. Please refer to “Motion of the 32nd RBA: Diversify Information and Education about the Global Anthropologies of Foreign Researchers and Anthropology Students.”

Successful proposals have the following features:

  • A well-defined research question
  • A detailed description of the evidence that will be sought
  • A feasible plan for gathering and analyzing this evidence
  • A discussion of the applicant’s qualifications to carry out the research
  • A compelling account of the project’s potential to advance anthropological knowledge and transform debates in the field.

Applicants whose research is oriented toward primatology or primate conservation must demonstrate the broader anthropological relevance of their work. The Foundation supports work on language structure and endangered languages, but only when it is grounded in anthropological concerns.

To present your project in the best possible light, please follow all instructions for completing your application. Use all the available space to describe your project. If you have questions, contact us at applications@wennergren.org or (+1) 212.683.5000.

The application asks for the following:

General information about you and your project

  • An abstract of your proposed project
  • Answers to six questions about your project
  • A resubmission statement if we declined a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant application you submitted previously
  • A detailed Plan A budget (Best-case scenario)
  • A detailed Plan B budget (Worst-case scenario)
  • A bibliography relevant to your proposed project.

The application also asks you to list the permits and permissions required for the proposed project, with the estimated dates by which you expect to secure them. However, please do not submit these documents with your application. If your application is successful, we will request copies of all relevant materials when we notify you of your award.

Applications must be in English. Applicants must submit all forms and other required materials online. If you don’t have adequate internet access to use our system, please contact us at least 1 week before the deadline and we’ll help arrange an alternative method. The online portal opens for applications 2 months before the application deadline.

Before submitting your application, please refer to the U.S. tax information on our website. Non-U.S. applicants should read the information on visa requirements for non-U.S. citizens present or coming to the U.S. as part of their project.

The Foundation requires successful applicants to comply with all U.S. laws. These include but are not limited to regulations governed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which administers U.S. government sanctions programs and regulations relating to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List). Please see the OFAC Guidelines page on our website and consult the U.S. Department of the Treasury for more information.

In compliance with OFAC regulations, the Foundation requires 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.

Please do not send any other materials beyond what the application requests. Do not send transcripts, letters of reference, manuscripts, publications, photographs, or recordings. We will not use this material in the review process, and we cannot return it to you.