The Lewis N. Cotlow Fund

Since 1990, the Lewis N. Cotlow Field Research Fund has supported over 150 anthropological research projects by GW students in over 50 countries. The Fund was created by a $150,000 bequest from the estate of Lewis Cotlow (1898-1987), an explorer, author, and filmmaker who attended GW.

Any topic relevant to anthropology's four fields is appropriate. Illustrated here are archaeological excavation, study of monkey dentition, ethnographic research in Ghana and Colombia, and analysis of a skeletal collection at the Smithsonian. Among the many studies the Cotlow Fund has supported are an examination of fair trade activists in San Francisco; Mesoamerican ceramics; midwifery in Washington, DC; rumors of organ trafficking in Cambodia; the behavior of orphaned and non-orphaned baboons; and Hopi attempts to preserve intangible aspects of their heritage.

Currently enrolled GW students are eligible to apply. Funds are used for travel, living expenses, research assistance, and other expenses related to field research; they cannot be used for tuition, equipment, or fees. Most awards are between $400 and $1800. Grant recipients are required to present highlights of their findings at a departmental student conference or at another venue approved by their mentor.


What Has Been Funded

Click here to see all projects funded since the program began.


How to Get an Award

To prepare a strong proposal, it is important to work with a faculty mentor or advisor in the Anthropology Department. This is particularly true for undergraduates, since their faculty advisor has to endorse their proposal for consideration. All our regular faculty members are available for consultation about the process. 

Although some people have received two Cotlow awards, preference is given to applicants who have not already received funding. Among doctoral student applicants, preference is also given to those who have not yet advanced to candidacy with the intent that Cotlow awards may assist in completing pilot fieldwork or data collection. Awards are not given to undergraduate seniors unless they are continuing enrollment in one of our Masters programs for the next year. 

Click here for the application form, which is fillable in Adobe Acrobat. If you have recevied a previous Cotlow award, please include a statement in your current application reporting the results of previous Cotlow support. Proposals for 2018 are due by 5 p.m. March 9. Applications are e-mailed to  [email protected]. Awards are announced in April.


Get More Information

Successful proposals. Review sample Cotlow proposals that were funded in recent years.

Conference program. Read the Cotlow Conference program for 2014, 2013, or 2012.