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Wenner-Gren Foundation Guidelines for Panel Members


Commitment  Panel members are asked to review approximately 30 applications in March/April and in August/September of each year.  This is a two to three year commitment, that would normally only be dissolved due to emergency circumstances.  The reviews will consist of rating the application, on a scale of 1-5, as well as writing a paragraph or two explaining the rating.  Panelists are given approximately seven weeks to review their applications. A specific due date will be provided for each season.

Honorarium  Panel members will receive an honorarium of $750 each season from the Foundation in recognition of their service. The Foundation hopes this sum would help pay the costs of some professional activity, such as attending an additional scholarly meeting, that otherwise could not be done.

Application Restrictions For the length of their service, panel members are not eligible to apply for grants where they are the sole applicant (e.g. Post-Ph.D. Research Grants, Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowships), but their students can apply for Dissertation Fieldwork Grants. During their panel service, they can apply for conference or workshop grants so long as they are not the sole organizer; they can participate in the Foundation’s international symposia, and they can serve as host sponsors for students under the Wadsworth International Fellowship program.

Reviewing.  Please express your views in a format that is acceptable for us to anonymously forward to the applicant as feedback. You also have the opportunity to provide candid confidential comments for the exclusive use of the Foundation. The Foundation is interested in both the merits of the proposal and the qualifications of the applicant to carry out the project described.

Reviewers are asked to treat these applications and their comments as confidential.  Please do not discuss applications with others or communicate with applicants about their proposals.  If there are special circumstances that may warrant such communication, or if you specifically want your name released to the applicants, please contact the Foundation.

We have included in the applications you will be asked to review a number from international scholars that may not be presented in as sophisticated of a format as is normal for Wenner-Gren applications. These have been screened internally and we have only included those that we feel have merit. It is the mission of the Foundation to foster international research in Anthropology and I would appreciate it if you would provide these scholars with particularly positive and constructive feedback if you do not feel that the applications are competitive as they currently stand. We would like to help these individuals develop their skills in producing competitive applications.

Applications should be evaluated in their present form, not as they might be improved or revised.  Please note that the instructions available to applicants give detailed information on how to complete the application and on the criteria used in evaluation; the instructions also provide specific word limits for the project description questions. The textual part of the application is equivalent to four and one-half pages of text. If a resubmission statement is included, the textual part is equivalent to five and one-half pages.


Evaluating applications

Please rate each proposal (1 being highest, 5 being lowest) on the basis of the applicant’s answers to the first five project description questions.  In addition, we ask you to write a paragraph or two of feedback for the applicant (see the following section on On-line Reviewing).  The following criteria of evaluation are suggested:

  • Is there a well-developed research question or objective?  Is it likely the project will resolve some important issues?
  • Does the applicant know the relevant literature?  Is the applicant qualified and prepared to undertake the project?
  • Is the evidence the applicant expects to collect likely to answer the research question posed?  Is the project, as designed, feasible?
  • Is the budget appropriate?  Could it be cut without critically jeopardizing the project? If the applicant should receive an award in addition to the Wenner-Gren grant and therefore be asked to rebudget, are there any budget items that should be augmented or any new budget expenditures that should be permitted?
  • Will the project make a significant contribution to basic research and methodology in anthropology?

Distribution of ratings.  You may be asked to review up to three different types of applications: Dissertation Fieldwork, Post-PhD, and Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship. Please rate these different types of application against others of their category and NOT against each other. This is particularly important with the Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship applications (see below).

Dissertation Fieldwork and Post-PhD Research Grant applications
In-house screening by Foundation staff has already removed approximately 50% of the applications from consideration. We will be able to fund approximately a quarter of the applications that you receive. Please try to give no more than 10-15 percent of the proposals a rating of ‘1’ (highest priority) and no more than 10-15 percent of the proposals a rating of ‘2.’ Bear in mind that a proposal rated ‘3’ has little chance of obtaining funding (unless other panelist rate it highly) and those rated ‘4’ or ‘5’ almost no chance.

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship applications
The Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship awards are for writing and do not include any substantial periods of fieldwork. Please note that there has been a significant increase in applications for these awards. As with the other programs, the Foundation has already screened out about 50% of the applications. Because of the higher funding limit for the Hunt awards ($40,000 per year) the Foundation only awards eight of these Fellowships each year (four per season). This means that we will only be able to fund one-tenth of the Hunt applications that have been sent to the panelists. When you are assessing these, please pay particular attention to the potential significance of the proposed research and publication outputs to the field.

On-line reviewing. The Foundation operates an online review system for all our programs. You will be sent hard copies of all the applications you are being asked to review. These applications can also be accessed online from anywhere there is internet availability.

Panelists review the applications and submit their reviews through ReviewerCONNECT, the Foundation’s web-based software. Detailed instructions for accessing ReviewerCONNECT will be forwarded to you at the time you are assigned your applications to review. If for any reason you have difficulties with the online system, please contact the Program Administrator, Elizabeth Rojas, at or by phone at: 212-683-5000.

It is important that the comments are presented in a positive and constructive manner to help scholars reformulate their research. Applicants are allowed to resubmit their proposals for consideration at the next deadline; however, they will be required to include a resubmission statement outlining how they have specifically dealt with the screeners’ and panelists’ comments.

After completing your review, please destroy any hard copies of the applications you have been sent by the Foundation or printed out.

Rev. 6/2016