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 at right are archaeological excavation, laboratory 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 undergraduate and graduate students at the George Washington University 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 $250 and $1800. Grant recipients are required to present highlights of their findings at a departmental student conference or at another approved venue -- in consultation with their advisor.


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 mentors in the Anthropology Department. Grant-writing workshops are held in November and January. Click here for a copy of an informative PowerPoint slide presentation.

Proposals for 2016 are due by 5 p.m. March 11. To apply, download a Cotlow Award Application Form, (requires MS-Word) and submit it electronically to cotlowapplication@gmail.com. Awards are announced in early 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.

Slide show. View the PowerPoint presentation explaining the competition.

Faculty advisors. For more details, contact a member of the full-time faculty. Good "gateway faculty" include Attiya Ahmad, a sociocultural anthropologist; Alison Brooks, a biiological anthropologist and archaeologist; Alex Dent, a linguist and cultural anthropologist; and Shannon McFarlin, a biological anthropologist.