Frequently Asked Questions

When are the funding deadlines?

The deadlines for the two-stage application process are 5th January 2022 for the initial outline application, and 17th June 2022 for those who are successful at outline stage and are invited to full application.
Those invited to full application are required to submit the names and details of three reviewers, as well as their proposal title, by 23 May 2022.

On the submission portal, I have to specify my proposal title, can I change it later?

We are asking those invited to full application for an extended title that can be up to 50 words long. This is to give the reviewer an idea of the proposal so they can judge better whether their expertise is a good fit, before accepting a review request. If your proposal is successful, you will have the opportunity to give the grant team an alternative (shorter) title that you can use throughout the lifetime of the grant.

Should I cite/reference relevant research in my proposal?

For the full application stage, we do require the proposal fields to include references in Author-Date style (e.g. Kendal 2016). There is a separate field to enter your references.

One of the objectives of the grant is to encourage applications from those who might be new to the cultural evolution field, therefore we did not expect you to have detailed knowledge of cultural evolution theory at the outline application stage. However, you are advised to engage with relevant literature and demonstrate in your application how your proposed activity is linked to this. A good place to start, if you are unsure, is to read the text under the research project themes and working group call. This text is heavily referenced and should help you access literature that is relevant for your idea. If you are invited to submit a full application, you may (as appropriate) be assigned a mentor from the CES executive committee to help you incorporate cultural evolution more fully into your proposal.

Can I include figures or links in my proposal?

Your proposal text has a strict word count, and all the information needed to review your proposal needs to be contained within those fields. While we cannot preclude you from adding links as part of this text, please be aware that reviewers are instructed not to take any information into account that may be included in a link. Figures, formulae or other visual material that is essential for reviewers to score the proposal, and that does not add extra information, can be uploaded through the portal. If this applies to your proposal, ensure that you reference any uploaded visual material in the text to guide the reviewer.

Would I fulfil the diversity criterion of extending the geographical reach of CES if I am from a non-Northern American/Western European country but did my PhD in North America or Western Europe?

Evaluation will be made on a case-by-case basis (using information provided by you at application stage, such as nationality, ethnicity, location of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees). As an example, were your application ranked equal to another application from an individual that had not already had the opportunity to develop networks in Northern America or Western Europe, we may consider this other application slightly more favourably. NB. indigenous peoples from Northern America or Western Europe meet the diversity criterion.

Why are the funded awards only 18 months long? This is not helpful in terms of career stability and hence diversity in academia.

Whilst we agree that it would be optimal to provide funding for more than 18 months this is the maximum length of funding we can manage given the constraints we are working within. The overall grant is for 33 months within which we must fit a 2-stage competition with mentoring for applicants, review of applications, creation of contracts for the 20+ funded awards, notice for funded awards prior to start date, and time after the awards end for completion of final reports and the capstone conference. To make the best use of the funded time, the deadline for the first stage of the funding competition is the day the grant officially starts. Hence, all advertising and applicant advising is taking place in addition to Rachel Kendal’s usual academic commitments and prior to grant-associated support staff being in place – your patience is therefore appreciated if responses to queries take a little time.

Can I apply if between positions (unemployed)?

Yes, we recognise that there are many reasons (e.g. early career, returning to work after illness or caring commitments) why individuals may not be employed by an institution or organisation at the time of applying. If you are in this position, we encourage you to apply whether as PI or Co-I. If you are invited to submit a full proposal (after the first ‘outline’ stage of the funding competition) then you will be required to identify the institution/organisation that you would like to host you and provide a letter of support from them highlighting their commitment and ability to administer the funding and provide you with the required facilities.

If I (the PI) want to include a Co-I in the proposal who is currently unaffiliated with an institution/organisation should my institution/organisation host them?

In this situation, you should consider what will work best for the project you propose, but also how your decision will influence the diversity aims of the funding scheme. If the Co-I is based outside of Northern America and Western Europe it would be preferable for them to be hosted by an appropriate institution/organisation in that country. As indicated above, you would need a letter of support from this institution/organisation confirming their support of the application. In addition, if the PI host institution is in Northern America or Western Europe, please consider whether it would be beneficial for your team members’ career progression if they also had an affiliation (such as Visiting Researcher) with your host institution.
We will work with all identified host institutions/organisations (for all proposals) to ensure we are satisfied with their procedures for due diligence and accountability in financial and ethical matters before creating award contracts. 

Can the personnel associated with a grant application change between the outline stage and full application stage?

If, between outline stage and full application stage, you are able to change an unnamed role (e.g. PDRA or RA) to a named role, this change will be welcomed. As a result of the mentoring and advice you receive leading up to the full application submission, you may also wish to add new named Collaborators. Collaborators are unfunded members of the project team, although they can receive travel costs to meet with the project team once if necessary. Other changes will not be allowed as invitation to full application will have been partly based on the project team indicated in the outline application.

Can I be PI or Co-I on more than one application?

No, as indicated under Eligibility, you can only be PI or Co-I on one application to this funding scheme (whether a Research Project or Applied Working Group). You can however, be PI or Co-I on one application and a Collaborator on multiple others. A Collaborator is involved in the grant but does not receive any funding other than travel expenses to meet with the project team once, if necessary.

Is the funding like a postdoctoral position?

Yes, you could think of it this way if you are early career. However, ideally you would apply in your own right (as the Principal Investigator, or PI) for a research project that you have designed. Often you would then refer to yourself as an Independent Researcher rather than a Post Doc, and this may be more prestigious and useful for your career. However, you can most certainly include collaborators or Co-Investigators (Co-Is) in your proposal and may wish to do so if you are early career, or new to the cultural evolution field etc. Alternatively, a more senior individual may act as the PI but fund you as a Co-I or Post Doc via the award.

Which countries are designated as Western Europe and Northern America for the purposes of the grant?

Western Europe (regional group of UN): Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom.

Northern America: United States of America (contiguous only), Canada.

NB. Indigenous peoples from within Western Europe or Northern America are considered to meet the ‘extending the geographical reach of CES’ diversity criterion.

Is research with nonhuman animals eligible for this funding scheme?

Yes! The funding calls have been designed to be appropriate to diverse researchers. Whether your project involves humans or nonhumans, you must clearly justify how it addresses one or more of the 4 Research Project thematic calls. Likewise, whether your Applied Working Group idea involves humans or nonhumans, you must justify how cultural evolution insights will be used to address the chosen societal issue or challenge.

Can I apply to this grant scheme to fund my PhD research?

The scheme is intended to fund new ideas and programs of work, not those that are already underway. Regrettably, this funding scheme is not designed to fund research that is part of a PhD. See here for resources if you are looking to fund your PhD research. If you have not yet begun your PhD, then you may be a named Research Assistant (RA) on a project submitted by a Principal Investigator (PI) and could use this experience to make you more competitive for winning a fully funded PhD position in the future. See further information on eligibility.

Can I apply to this scheme as the Principal Investigator (PI) if I do not have a PhD?

An individual who does not have a PhD may only act as PI on an application in exceptional circumstances. For example, the individual is based in a country where academics (employed to teach University degrees) do not routinely have a PhD or the individual is applying from outside of academia and has research experience or credentials equivalent to a PhD. You will have the opportunity to explain this in your application when asked to describe why the project team is exceptionally appropriate for achieving the project objectives.

You may be included in the project team as a named Co-Investigator (Co-I), named Research Assistant (RA), or named Collaborator without a PhD.

If you are nearing the end of your PhD and expect to have completed your PhD (successfully defended it / passed your viva) by the time the full application is due (mid-June 2022) then you may be included in the project team as a named Co-I or named Postdoctoral Research Assistant (PDRA), or even apply as PI. You do not have to have officially graduated by the full application deadline as we understand that there is often a long wait for graduation ceremonies. Some form of justification for your confidence in passing your PhD by mid-June 2022 will be needed in the Outline Application and you will need to upload some form of evidence that you have passed your PhD (e.g. an email/letter from your examiners) for the Full Application. You will need to indicate mitigations should you not successfully gain your PhD in time. See further information on eligibility.

If I am applying as PI can I include Co-Is or Collaborators who are more senior to me?

Yes! You should create the best team for achieving your objectives. There are no restrictions on the career status of the project team, excepting that (usually) PIs must have a PhD, Postdocs (PDRAs) must have a PhD (see the previous FAQ and further information on eligibility).

Can I apply for a Research Project or Working Group grant if my host institution, or that of a member of my project team, is in a country on the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) list?

The Templeton Foundation is a U.S.A. based charity and has provided the funds for us (CES) to run this funding competition. Accordingly, we must comply with all applicable laws, regulations, rules, judgments, decrees and orders, whether federal, state, local, domestic or foreign, including but not limited to U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) Compliance and Internal Revenue Service rules and regulations relating to tax withholding and reporting for payments to non-U.S. persons.

We will not knowingly support, employ or do business with, directly or indirectly, individuals, entities, or groups that are subject to OFAC sanctions, or with individuals, entities or groups known to us to support terrorism or to have violated OFAC sanctions.

I am new to the field of cultural evolution and would like to know how I can get advice on the suitability of my project idea?

We are very pleased that you are interested in the scheme and in bringing a new perspective to cultural evolution. You can watch a recording of Rachel Kendal’s introduction to the funding scheme on our YouTube channel. In this video Rachel presents the funding scheme, different call areas and diversity priorities as well as the application and review process. We also offer a ‘Research Match-Making’ service and will endeavour to help you locate appropriate colleagues to discuss your ideas with.

How do I broaden my research network in order to include individuals in my project team that are more diverse (geography, discipline, outside universities)?

If you are looking for expertise to bring into your team do use our Twitter account. Tweet using @CultEvolFunding with #CultEvolTeam and we’ll retweet. Specify your area and who you are looking for. Then check the # and our feed for new people to follow.
You can also use our academic match-making form for assistance in finding/meeting potential project team members.
Those considering forming a working group may find the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog a particularly useful resource on how to link researchers with policy makers.

How did you decide on the topics of the funding scheme?

The research projects call and the applied working groups call were largely informed by the ‘grand challenges’ identified by the 2017 survey of the field (Brewer et al. 2017), and discussions with the current CES executive, with input from the John Templeton Foundation who have generously supported the field for many years. The calls are quite broad and although we provide an outline of the research project topics and suggest working group areas, we will consider any well justified interpretation of the calls.