The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)

The Wenner-Gren Foundation and engaged anthropology


Anthropology, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research

March 28, 2015 , Archview Ballroom Add to calendar

In 2012 the Wenner-Gren Foundation introduced a unique funding program, the Engaged Anthropology Grant (EAG), designed to provide funds to enable Wenner-Gren grantees to return to their research locale to share their research results.

Over the past decade, the Foundation has received ~12,000 applications for research funding. The EAG was introduced in response to the trend in these applications to ask for funds for a variety of engagement activities, from setting up local museum displays, to participating in educational or conservation activities, to engaging with the resident academic community. This trend also parallels the awareness of our ethical responsibility to disseminate our research results to the benefit of our research community and beyond.

Since the introduction of the EAG in February 2012, the Foundation has received 102 applications and has funded 68 (66.7%). We have been impressed by the variety of engagement activities and the enthusiasm and dedication of our EAG grantees, most of whom are young anthropologists who were funded by Wenner-Gren for their doctoral research. This is a welcome trend.

In biological anthropology the engagement activities have ranged from projects involving indigenous groups in bioarchaeological research in Ohio, to enabling local school children in Uganda to be primatologists for a day, to engaging with the Turkana about the importance of palaeoanthropological research in northern Kenya. Our intention is that these and other EAG projects will inspire anthropologists to carry out similar research-inspired engagement activities. It is an important part of the future of the discipline.