SPA / RLF Student Fellowship Program

Three of the 2013 Lemelson Fellows, Kelsey London Robbins, David Aftab Ansari, and Laura Horton, attended the SPA business meeting at the AAA annual meeting in Chicago, IL.

Three of the 2013 Lemelson Fellows, Kelsey London Robbins, David Aftab Ansari, and Laura Horton, attended the SPA business meeting at the AAA Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL.

Applications are open for the 2019-2020 SPA/RLF Fellowship program!

The SPA / Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowships are designed to provide graduate students working in the field of psychological anthropology with funding to pursue exploratory research for planning their doctoral dissertation research and /or methods training to prepare for their doctoral dissertation research. Research projects supported by the funding should have the potential of advancing the field of psychological anthropology. 

Normally, fellows receive their awards after their first or second year of graduate training as they begin to develop their dissertation research projects. Proposed exploratory projects are evaluated for viability and the potential of resulting in future dissertation research that will advance the field of psychological anthropology.  Preference is given to applicants conducting exploratory research abroad. We expect to award six or more fellowships (depending upon funding levels) in 2019 with each fellow expected to receive between $3,000 and $6,000 depending upon need.


  • Fellowships are open to all graduate students without regard to citizenship or place of residence.
  • Applicants must be enrolled in a graduate program at the time of application and during the period of the fellowship. Applicants’ proposed research must be in the field of psychological anthropology, broadly defined, but they do not need to be students in Departments of Anthropology.
  • Applicants cannot have completed more than four years of graduate education, including all institutions that they have attended.
  • Applicants must be current members of the Society of Psychological Anthropology (SPA), a section of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) as of February 15th, 2019. Details on joining the AAA and the SPA can be found at (Note: If the applicant is not a current member, we suggest submitting the membership application well in advance to be sure that the membership is current by the deadline.)
  • The funding cannot be used to collect data for the fellow’s master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation. This funding is explicitly for exploratory research to plan doctoral dissertation research, not for collection of data for broader projects.
  • Fellows are prohibited from accepting the Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowship in conjunction with any other summer or research funding for the same project or over the same time frame as the proposed research supported by the Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowship. The sole exception is that a fellow may accept funding for expenses, such as durable equipment, that are not covered by the Robert Lemelson Foundation fellowship.
  • All fellows are required to attend either the 2019 AAA Annual Meeting to be held in Vancouver, BC, Canada (November 20-24, 2019) or the 2021 SPA Biennial Meeting (location and dates TBA).

2019-2020 SPA/RLF Fellowship Details and Application Instructions

2019-2020 SPA/RLF Fellowship Application Form

Deadline for Applications: 5PM EST on February 15, 2019

Please contact the SPA’s Secretary, Cameron Hays, if you have any questions on the fellowship program or application.

All award and selection committees abide by the SPA’s Conflict of Interest Statement and Recusal Policy.


For information on current fellows, click here.

For information on past winners, click here.