Global Initiatives Grant

  • Doctorates in Anthropology
  • Doctorates in Related Fields
  • Independent Scholars


Each year, the Wenner-Gren Foundation funds a small number of initiatives that meet a need not already addressed by our other programs. Global Initiatives Grants help support innovative projects that benefit the discipline as a whole by creating the conditions for anthropologists to do better work. We look for initiatives in which a small amount of money can have a wide and lasting impact, building capacity for the discipline to thrive.

Applicants of any nationality or country of residence may apply. Applicants must have a PhD in anthropology at the time of application and be affiliated with a school or organization that can carry forward the lessons learned through the project. We are eager to receive applications from individuals based in countries, regions, and communities where anthropology is disadvantaged or under threat. Our total budget for this program is modest, so the competition is stiff.

In the past, we have prioritized projects aimed at building capacity by addressing specific themes, including the impact of Covid-19 on anthropology, the struggle for racial justice in the discipline, and the ethical treatment of human remains.

In 2024 we are promoting Paleoanthropology in East Africa. Hominin fossil remains from East Africa have played a critical role in the history of the study of human origins.  But individuals and institutions from the region have long been sidelined in paleoanthropology, despite the critical role that local experts, stakeholders, and scholars have played.  In this year’s competition, we prioritize collaborative projects designed to promote the growth and flourishing of paleoanthropology in this key global region.

Possible projects include:

  • Support for workshops and curricula development focused on training researchers in ethnography and community engagement.
  • Support for the development of a strong African infrastructure for African-led research and partnerships on an anti-colonial basis in ways that avoid funding extractive, colonial, “exploration” science.
  • Support for African scientific development in the paleosciences, cultural anthropology, and the humanities to encourage the retention of scholars and reduce brain drain.
  • Support for training programs for staff in casting and 3D scanning with an eye toward developing facilities that provide ongoing support for institutions holding important fossil remains.
  • Support for meetings and skill-sharing bringing together institutions from across the region with an eye towards cross training and capacity building in the region.
  • Support for field schools and curriculum development at the master’s degree level, designed to grow a new generation of East African researchers.
  • Support for pilot projects demonstrating novel approaches to community participation and engagement.

Award Money

Global Initiatives Grants can be as small as $5,000 or as large as $20,000. 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

The deadline for this program is May 15. The application portal opens 2 months before the deadline. Projects may begin as soon as we arrive at our final selection, which is generally by July 15 of the same year.

Who Can Apply

Doctorates in Anthropology, Doctorates in Related Fields, Independent Scholars

Although we welcome applications from teams of scholars, the primary organizer must hold a doctorate in anthropology or a related field. Graduate students are welcome to act as co applicants, but they must be listed as such for the purpose of the grant. Applicants from all nationalities and institutional locations are welcome to apply.

We aim to support initiatives that further our mission to advance anthropological knowledge, amplify its impact, foster inclusivity, and address the precarity of anthropology as a career and a field of study. Successful proposals will be creative, targeted, feasible, and ideally, will contribute to addressing the problems articulated in each year’s theme.

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 Judy Kreid at or (+1) 212.683.5000.

The application asks for the following:

  • General information about you, your collaborators, and your project
  • An abstract of the project
  • Answers to six questions about your project
  • A budget detailing the expenses involved
  • A curriculum vitae for the applicant and each collaborator.

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.

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.

You may access the application portal here.