- As with all Wenner-Gren awards, the main criteria of evaluation are the quality of the research and its potential contribution to anthropological knowledge, theory, and debate.
- There is no preference for particular geographic areas or topics.
- Proposals for the Dissertation Research Grant will be judged on the following four essential characteristics:
- A well-defined research question
- A detailed description of appropriate evidence to answer the research question
- A feasible plan for gathering and analyzing this evidence
- The significance of the research to important theoretical and methodological issues in anthropology
- Proposals whose primary objective is to “fill in” knowledge about a culture, a region, a language, a site, or a primate species will not be competitive unless a further case can be made for the importance of this finding to broader issues in anthropology.
- Applicants whose research focuses on primatology should ensure that their proposals emphasize the specific ways in which their research relates to humanity's cultural and/or biological origins, development, and/or modern variation. The Foundation does not fund basic research in primatology or research that is primarily orientated towards primate conservation.
- Linguistic anthropologists should also be aware that the Foundation does not fund salvage work on endangered languages (e.g., preparation of dictionaries and/or grammars). It also does not fund other descriptive research on languages or work on language structure that is not grounded in anthropological concerns.
Those applicants with applied anthropological objectives should emphasize the theoretical and methodological impact of their research for the discipline as opposed to its applied value only.