SSH Rate

Leakey Foundation Research Grants on Human Origins and Evolution

Research Grants are awarded twice annually (in May and December) and constitute the majority of the Foundation’s grant program. The Foundation funds research related specifically to human origins.

Our current specific funding priorities include:

  • Paleoanthropology of the Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene.
  • Primates (Old and New World): Evolution, behavior, morphology, ecology, endocrinology, genetics, isotope studies, and modern hunter-gatherer groups.


Advanced doctoral students (advanced to candidacy - all but dissertation) and established scientists are eligible for general research grants. There are no citizenship restrictions. However, all applications must be in English.

Candidates must be affiliated with a school or research institution. We do not award directly to individuals.


The Leakey Foundation exclusively funds research related specifically to human origins. Priority of funding is commonly given to exploratory phases of promising new research projects that meet the stated purpose of the Foundation. The majority of The Leakey Foundation’s Research Grants awarded to doctoral students are in the $3,000-$15,000 range. Larger grants given to senior scientists and post-doctoral students may be funded up to $25,000.

Suggested major categories include the following: subsistence (food and lodging, per diem), expendable supplies, travel (airfare, local or ground transportation), fees (park or museum), personnel (justify in project description), special analysis costs (C14, SEM, pollen analysis, etc.). The Leakey Foundation does not allow institutional overhead of any kind.

Aid is not offered for salary and/or fringe benefits of applicant or senior project personnel, tuition, non-project personnel, child care, equipment, travel to meetings, institutional overhead, publication costs or institutional support.

Submit a separate budget for project-specific equipment. The purchase of expensive permanent equipment such as computers, cameras, video and recording equipment, vehicles, boats, etc. is not generally funded by the Leakey Foundation. Applicants are advised to request such items from other granting agencies.

Some Suggestions for Maximizing Your Chances for Funding

  • State your hypotheses clearly with ways and means of testing them.
  • Carefully proofread the application before submission. If English is not your first language, have a native English speaker proof  it as well.
  • Submit a spare (but realistic) budget.
  • Find out from other researchers what they have spent on lodging, food, and transportation in your study area.
  • Review and accurately cite related literature thoroughly.
  • Provide assurances that necessary permits and visas are obtainable.
  • Provide letters of permission for study of museum collections.
  • For archaeological research, include sections, fossil lists, lithic lists, latitude and longitude coordinates, and an accurate map.
  • When feasible, carry out and provide results of a pilot study.
Application date
15 Jul 2018
America United States Pacific
Humanities Anthropology & Ethnology Archaeology History Social sciences Demography Other Biology
Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 99 years
Award granted
Up to US$ 25.000