Documents and Forms:

Guidelines for grant application

Note: the information below is also downloadable in the files guidelines.doc and guidelines.pdf to the left.

Frequently asked questions about applying to the Jacobs Research Funds


To apply for a grant from the Jacobs Research Funds, complete the application form and return it along with the supporting documents. All documents must be received by the deadline, February 15.

For any funding year, a researcher can be an applicant or co-applicant on at most one grant. Researchers may hold grants in consecutive years, but the final report must be filed and materials must be archived before subsequent funding can be received.

Supported research

The Jacobs Research Funds (JRF) funds projects involving fieldwork with living peoples of North, Central and South America which result in publication or other dissemination of information about the fieldwork. Priority is given to research on endangered cultures and languages, and to research on the Pacific Northwest. Projects focusing on archival research have low priority, but we welcome proposals to digitize, transcribe and translate old materials that might otherwise be lost or become inaccessible. Relevance of the project to contemporary theoretical issues in anthropology and linguistics is also a criterion used in evaluating proposals.

Funded projects typically focus on linguistic analysis, social-cultural anthropology, ethnolinguistics, or sociolinguistics. Especially appropriate are field studies that address cultural expressive systems, such as music, language, dance, mythology, world view, folk taxonomy, art, intellectual life, and religion. Also appropriate are projects focusing on cultural and linguistic forms in modern contexts, for example, traditional environmental knowledge or social organization.

Projects in archaeology, physical anthropology, applied anthropology, and applied linguistics (for example, grants exclusively for technological improvements, development of pedagogical materials, etc.) are not eligible for support. It is expected that both the subjects of research and society in general will ultimately benefit from the knowledge generated by the funded research. The Jacobs Research Funds therefore does not support proprietary research for the exclusive use of any entity, public or private (such as national, state, provincial, or local governments; public or private charities, churches or foundations; tribes or bands; or community groups).

Submission procedure

Your application should include the information page (or pages) and the required supporting material. All material should be in 12-point font with one-inch margins. Compile your application into a single document and then submit as a Word or PDF file. Please submit as a PDF file if special fonts are used. Label your file as follows:

  • Surname_year.doc or surname_year.pdf

For Group Grants, the surname in the file name should be that of the Principal Investigator (PI). Send your application as a single e-mail attachment to by February 15th.

If you are not able to submit the application electronically, please mail 7 copies of the application to the following address:

  • JACOBS RESEARCH FUNDS. Whatcom Museum, 121 Prospect Street, Bellingham, WA 98225 USA

All materials must be received by February 15th.

Grant categories

There are three categories of Jacobs Research Funds grants.

  • Individual Grants support research projects administered by a single investigator on a focused problem. The maximum award is $3,000 USD (or equivalent CAD).
  • Group Grants support work by two or more researchers who will be cooperating on the same or similar projects. The researchers should be sharing field expenses working with the same language, with the same speakers, and/or in the same geographical area. One person in the group should be designated as the Principal Investigator. The PI will serve as the contact person for the Jacobs Research Funds and will be responsible for use of funds, filing reports, and archiving materials. Normally, the PI will be the most senior scholar in the group, such as a faculty member or advanced graduate student. Projects involving collaboration between academics and non-academics are encouraged. Each member of the group should submit a CV. However, only one project description and budget should be submitted per group project. The maximum award is $6,000 USD (or equivalent CAD).
  • The Kinkade Grants honor the memory of the late Dale Kinkade, a linguist known for his work on Salishan languages. Kinkade Grants support projects requiring an intense period of fieldwork, such as research leading to a major work such as a dictionary, collection of texts, etc. They are intended for experienced researchers, such as Ph.D. students working on dissertations, faculty with sabbatical or other period of course release, or retired professors seeking to complete major research. If the researcher does not intend to work full-time on the project, this should be explained in the work plan. The maximum award is $9,000 USD (or equivalent CAD).
  • Projects which will be carried out in some other currency should provide a breakdown of expenses in the other currency, along with a conversion to USD. The JRF reserves the right to adjust the exchange rate at the time of the award if deemed appropriate. We anticipate that we will award only one or two Kinkade Grants per year to very worthy projects. If your project is not awarded a Kinkade Grant, you can nevertheless be eligible to receive an Individual Grant. Please indicate this on the application form and in your budget.

    Most grants for projects based in Canada will be awarded in Canadian dollars. A USD-CAD conversion rate in effect at the time of award will be used. Grants for other projects will be awarded in US dollars.

  • Required attachments to application

    A. Short curriculum vitae

    2 pages maximum (Each researcher in a Group Grant should submit a CV)

    Include information on:

    • current academic status (professor, student, independent researcher)
    • education and training (college/university degrees completed or in progress, dates; coursework, language classes, or other relevant preparation)
    • supervisor's name, if any
    • relevant employment and other experience
    • prizes or honors, fellowships, grants (with project names, dates, and amounts)
    • publications, conference presentations, etc.
    • degree of competence (speaking, reading) in languages relevant to proposed research

    B. Description of proposed activity

    3 pages maximum, including bibliography

    Statement of problem: State your research problem clearly and precisely. Try to be as explicit but as jargon-free as possible. Situate your proposal in the context of other scholarly research. All references in the bibliography should be cited in the project description. If you propose to describe or record cultural behavior, indicate the focus of your interest. Explain the relationship of your project to other work.

    Anthropology proposals should explain how the local language will be handled, if this is a consideration. For example, if the traditional language is still spoken, will you record or transcribe material in the local language? Who will translate into a meta-language? If you will not work in the traditional language, how will native terminology for items of interest be handled?

    Linguistics proposals should give an assessment of the language situation, including estimated number of speakers, and overall state of documentation. Also please provide concrete examples, in the target language, of the phenomenon or phenomena you will investigate.

    All proposals must demonstrate an acquaintance with previous research on the topic under investigation, citing relevant sources.

    Results from prior support: If the proposed project represents a continuation or extension of a previously funded one, the application should include a section summarizing results of previous support (particularly if support was provided by the JRF).

    Methods: Be specific about the methods and procedures you plan to use and how the information you collect will answer the questions your research poses. If you intend to use research assistants to help collect the data, indicate how you will select, train, and supervise them. If you intend to use a standardized instrument (questionnaire, etc.) please provide a copy. If you have not yet developed the instrument, describe your plans for its content.

    Work plan: Give a projected time-line for data collection, analysis, and dissemination of results.

    Permissions and consent: Indicate any arrangements for permissions from local communities.

    Archiving: Explain your archiving plan. It is expected that applicants will archive copies of their field materials with the Suzzallo-Allen Library of the University of Washington at the conclusion of their project.

    C. Budget summary, budget justification, and other support

    1 page maximum

    In the budget summary, give a breakdown of amounts by category. Allowed expenses include consultant fees for ‘Indian/First Nations experts’, travel and lodging, supplies (e.g. recordable media), and archiving (copying, mailing).

    Projects which will be carried out in a currency other than USD should provide a breakdown of expenses in the other currency, along with the conversion to USD. If you are estimating expenses in a currency other than USD, please make this clear by using the appropriate currency code (for example MXN for Mexican pesos, BRL for Brazilian reais). Also quote the exchange rate, including the source and date checked (see for example The JRF reserves the right to adjust the exchange rate at the time of the award if deemed appropriate.

    Disallowed expenses include researcher salaries, food, conference travel, per diems, and capital expenditures such as computers and recording devices. However, reasonable amounts (up to $300) for microphones and other recording equipment will be considered with adequate justification.

    In the budget justification, the items listed under the budget summary should be explained if further detail is needed beyond the note provided in the table of expenses. For example, provide the rate at which consultants are to be paid and the anticipated number of hours of fieldwork; means of travel, miles, and mileage rate; estimated lodging costs. If you are asking for mileage or kilometrage in the U.S. or Canada, please use the following rates: (U.S.) .25/mile, (Canada) .20/kilometer. Higher rates in the U.S. and Canada will be considered with adequate justification. Please propose a rate for other areas of the Americas.

    If you are applying for a Kinkade Grant and would like to be considered for an Individual Grant should you not be awarded a Kinkade Grant, provide a budget summary for both grants and indicate in the budget justification how you would scale down the Kinkade Grant budget for an Individual Grant award.

    In the section on other support, explain how other funding that you have requested or have already received for this project will be coordinated with the Jacobs grant.

    D. Letters of reference

    You (or at least one of your co-applicants in a Group Grant) should have an M.A. or equivalent. Otherwise, you should designate a sponsor for your project. If you are in a degree program, your supervisor should ordinarily serve as sponsor. If another sponsor is more appropriate, e.g. a tribal cultural affairs officer, please explain. In addition to writing a letter of reference for your proposal, a sponsor should provide oversight and be available to you for consultation and assistance throughout your project period.

    Two letters of reference are required. Letters from members of the research team will not count towards the total number of required letters. For Kinkade Grants, one letter of reference should be from a recognized scholar in the field who is not at your home institution. Choose people to write letters of recommendation who are in a position to judge the significance of your project, know you and your work, and know the field situation in which you will operate. Give each referee a copy of your proposal well in advance of submission and, if possible, discuss your proposal with each. If your project has a sponsor, your sponsor must write one of the letters.

    Letters of reference should be sent as e-mail attachments to If this is not possible, letters may be mailed directly to Jacobs Research Funds, Whatcom Museum, 121 Prospect Street, Bellingham, WA 98225. Deadline for receipt of letters is February 15th.