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Project Description and Training Questions

All applicants should answer the first six (6) project description questions.

Applicants who wish to also be considered for the training element in your application you will be asked to provide answers to training questions 7 and 8.

Question 1: Describe your research question/hypothesis or research objective. That is, what will be the focus of your investigation? [approximately one page, single-spaced]

The formulation of a developed research question, hypothesis, or research objective is a very important characteristic of a successful proposal. There are three major guidelines that applicants should follow:

  • The research question, hypothesis, or objective should be narrowly focused and ask “why,” “how,” or “what” about an issue of significance to anthropology. Do not present a vast research topic as the object of investigation; instead, develop answerable questions (or testable hypotheses) in the context of the larger research topic.
  • Research questions should not be presented as if the answer were already known.Applicants need to demonstrate that the proposed research will answer (or test) the question/s (or hypothesis)
  • Applicants should also be realistic about what can be achieved. Many applications fail because they assert that the research will answer such a wide variety of questions that the investigation may not answer any single one fully and carefully

Question 2: How does your research build on existing scholarship in anthropology and closely related disciplines? Give specific examples of this scholarship and its findings. [approximately one page, single-spaced]

It is important to clearly demonstrate that you have a good knowledge of the anthropological literature, as well as other disciplinary literature, relevant to your topic of research. Be explicit in showing how your research will expand on previous findings. The foundation prioritizes work that is theoretically driven and question 2 allows you discuss the theoretical framework that has guided you in formulating your research questions. It is not enough to just cite literature in answer to this question. Please provide a clear and comprehensive discussion of the issues and demonstrate how your work fits into current theoretical debates in the field.

Primatologists should note that to be competitive they should clearly demonstrate how their research is derived from and will contribute to anthropological debates dealing with humanity's cultural and/or biological origins, development, and/or modern variation. It is not sufficient to merely cite primatological literature and primatological debates in answer to this question.

Question 3: What evidence will you need to collect to answer your research question? How will you go about collecting and analyzing this evidence? [approximately one page, single-spaced]

Applicants are strongly advised to clearly and explicitly demonstrate that the evidence gathered and the analytical procedures proposed will realistically support the research goals expressed in Question 1.

All Applicants should provide a timeline for their research. Applicants should also demonstrate that the plan for conducting the research can be managed in the allotted time and with the available funds. A feasible research plan with clearly defined procedures is much better than one so broad that it seems impossible to accomplish within the limits of the time and funding available.

If the research is to be conducted in phases, applicants should provide a timeline and justify why separate trips to the field are necessary. Applicants should note that the Foundation does not fund trips home to consult with supervisors/colleagues, to carry out preliminary data analysis or to attend conferences, nor does it fund follow-up trips to the field to verify or augment data, etc.

The Foundation supports projects using all appropriate methods of data collection and analysis commonly employed in anthropology, including both qualitative and quantitative methods, laboratory, archival and/or museum research, and fieldwork involving archaeological, survey, or ethnographic techniques

Question 4: Describe the roles of the Applicant and Co-Applicant, and any additional C0-PIs participating in the project and the nature of the collaboration. Briefly describe each individual’s training and how they are prepared to do this research (examples: language competence, technical skills, previous research, and any other relevant experience). Describe any work you have already done on this project, and/or how it relates to your prior research. [approximately one page, single-spaced

It is critical to demonstrate that the applicant, co-applicant, and co-PIs are equal partners in the research and will play an equal role in the analysis and publication of the results of the research. Applicants should also demonstrate that the plan for conducting the research can be managed in the allotted time and with the available funds. A feasible research plan with clearly defined procedures is much better than one so broad that it seems impossible to accomplish within the limits of the time and funding available. If your project is dependent on funding from more than one source, you should address the feasibility of the research in the case that full funding is not obtained.

In assessing a project the Foundation also pays close attention to researcher preparation. Have the required language and/or other relevant skills been acquired? Have local contacts or academic affiliations been made? Has the applicant and team members already carried out a pilot project? If so, what data/results are already available? 

Are there any safety or access issues involved with the fieldwork or other forms of data collection? If so, how will they be managed? What are the ethical issues involved with the research and how have these been addressed?

Question 5: The goal of the Wenner-Gren Foundation is to support original and innovative research in anthropology. What contribution does your project make to anthropological theory and to the discipline? [approximately half a page, single-spaced]

The Wenner-Gren Foundation defines anthropology in its broadest terms as a discipline that advances significant and innovative research about humanity's cultural and biological origins, development, and variation.

A successful application is one that emphasizes the contribution of the proposed research not only to the specific area of research being addressed but also to the broader field of anthropology. Applicants should be explicit about the potential contribution of their research to anthropological theory and debate in the broadest possible sense.

Question 6: How will the project contribute t the international development of anthropology? How will the collaboration be of benefit to each of the investigators, and how will it contribute to anthropology in the contry/countries in which the project is carried out? [approximately half a page, single-spaced]

An important part of the mission of the Foundation is to foster the creation of an international community of research scholars in anthropology. It is important here to demonstrate the benefit of the research to foster collaboration not only in relation to the specific research project but in future years.

It is also important to highlight any benefits of the collaborative project in the context of capacity building in countries where there are limited resources to support the development of anthropology as a discipline. We are also interested in how the collaboration will benefit the career and intellectual development of all the project participants


TRAINING DESCRIPTION QUESTIONS (required only for proposals that include the optional training element)

Question 7 (Required only for proposals that include a training element): What training is required, why is it necessary, who will participate in the training, and where and when will it be delivered? [approximately one page, single-spaced]

Justify the training in the context of: 1) the backgrounds of the personnel who will participate in the training activities; and 2) the relevance of the training to the success of the research project proposed in your ICRG application.

Be specific about the nature of the training and what the participants involved in the training should achieve at the end of the period of training.

Question 8 (Required only for proposals that include a training element) How will the training help to build the capacity of anthropology in the countries of those benefiting from the Wenner-Gren grant? [approximately half a page, single-spaced]

The Foundation is particularly interested in building the capacity of institutions in countries where anthropology is underdeveloped. Please be as explicit as possible in your answer to this question. For example, how will the knowledge obtained be disseminated to students and other colleagues in the relevant country, etc?


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