SAPIENS Public Scholars Training Fellowship

  • Doctoral Students
  • Doctorates in Anthropology
  • Independent Scholars


Supported by a 3-year grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the SAPIENS Public Scholars Training Fellowship provides in-depth guidance in public scholarship and communication. Fellows learn how to transform their anthropology research into engaging, thought-provoking stories through accessible writing and podcasting for broad, nonacademic audiences.

This program selects a yearly cohort of 10 Fellows who will focus on a particular theme, drawing primarily from the research areas around cultural evolution—specifically, The Wisdom of World Cultures (academic year 2022/2023); The Impacts of Technology (2023/2024); and Global Challenges, Cultural Opportunities (2024/2025).

Throughout the academic year (September 1 through May 31), participants are expected to actively participate in regular Zoom meetings and trainings with their cohort; pitch, develop, and publish at least one article for SAPIENS; pitch, develop, and publish at least one article for another popular magazine; and contribute to one SAPIENS podcast episode, in collaboration with our production partner, House of Pod.

Fellows will attend exclusive quarterly keynote lectures by four renowned science writers and editors: Carl Zimmer, The New York Times; Kate Wong, Scientific American; Samir Patel, Atlas Obscura; and Amanda Mascarelli, The Conversation.

We are especially interested in bringing historically marginalized voices—by race, ethnicity, gender identity, class, geography, or ability—to the center of public conversations.

Award Money

In addition to the benefits of deepening skills in popular writing and podcasting, individual mentoring from SAPIENS staff and partners, widening the Fellows’ professional networks, and enabling them to receive public recognition for their research, this program provides a $2,500 award upon completion of the fellowship.

Application Deadline

The application deadline is July 15 annually, from 2022 to 2024, and the fellowships begin the September immediately following. It takes us 2 weeks to complete the review process and arrive at a final decision.

Applicants must be pursuing a research area that coincides with that year’s theme. Fellowships cannot be deferred to a subsequent year. Successful applicants can only receive the fellowship one time; however, unsuccessful applicants may apply for another cycle.

Who Can Apply

Doctoral Students, Doctorates in Anthropology, Independent Scholars

Applicants must be ABD Ph.D. students who have completed dissertation research and are currently enrolled in an anthropology degree program, have a Ph.D. in anthropology, and/or have an appointment in an anthropology department. Preference will be given to early career scholars. Qualified applicants of any nationality or institutional affiliation may apply. We also welcome applicants who hold or in the process of applying for Wenner-Gren Foundation grants.

Our reviewers evaluate applications based on the following:

  • Quality of the applicant’s research and its potential contribution to anthropological knowledge, theory, and debate
  • Convergence of the applicant’s research with the year’s theme
  • Demonstrated potential for the applicant to be an engaged public scholar
  • Degree to which the applicant’s background, perspective, and personal experiences will enrich the diversity of the magazine and selected cohort.

To present yourself in the best possible light, please follow all instructions for completing the application, which must be in English. If you have questions, contact us at editor•

The application asks for the following:

  • A short biographical sketch
  • Academic credentials and a curriculum vitae
  • A description of your research and its potential contribution to anthropological knowledge, theory, and debate
  • A discussion of your interest in the year’s fellowship theme
  • Evidence of your interest in and/or contributions to engaged public scholarship
  • A brief discussion of how your personal experiences, perspective, or background will help bring marginalized voices to the center of public conversations.

You must create an account on Submittable and send your application through our portal here.

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.

By submitting your application, you are agreeing, if selected, to adhere to SAPIENS’ Terms of Use and to work collaboratively with your colleagues, the SAPIENS editorial team, and project partners in a timely, responsive, and respectful manner.

You may access the application portal here. The portal opens 2 months before the application deadline.