Grant Advice

I am a biological anthropologist by training and yet many of the questions on which I work can easily be approached from the perspective of social anthropology. Indeed, most anthropological demographers and anthropologists working on questions of infectious disease are social or cultural anthropologists. Since coming to Stanford, I have found that most of my students are more social than biological anthropologists. So it goes.

I have been on numerous scientific review panels, including the NSF Cultural Anthropology Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG) committee. While committee work of any kind can be a hassle, there are definite up-sides to working on scientific review panels. Top among these is the incredible amount that you can learn about grantsmanship. There's nothing like looking at 20 grant applications -- and talking about 100 in committee -- to learn what works and what doesn't.

My goal here is to translate some of this experience into practical advice for students. Ostensibly, this is advice for students applying for DDIGs in cultural anthropology. However, much of it transcends the particulars of this panel and applies to grant-writing more generally. Some of the stylistic advice I have copied from my Guide to Research Papers.

DDIG-Specific Advice

It's the Theory of Mind, Stupid

This is so important that it is worth spelling out again. The advice in this section applies not only to DDIG applications but to any grant application, fellowship application, or research paper.

Notes on Writing Style

Research Design