Research Grants


Advanced doctoral students (advanced to candidacy – all but dissertation) and established scientists are eligible for Leakey Foundation Research Grants. There are no citizenship restrictions; however, all applications must be written in English.


The Leakey Foundation exclusively funds research related to human origins. Priority of funding is commonly given to exploratory phases of promising new research projects that meet the stated purpose of the Foundation. The majority of The Leakey Foundation’s Research Grants awarded to doctoral students are in the $3,000-$15,000 range with a funding limit of $20,000. Larger grants given to senior scientists and post-doctoral researchers may be funded up to $30,000. As of May 2022, the funding limits have increased to $20,000 for PhD candidates and $30,000 for senior scientists and post-doctoral researchers.


The deadlines for research grant applications are January 10th and July 15th.

We occasionally make exceptions to our application deadline. If you are experiencing extenuating circumstances that you believe would preclude you from meeting the deadline, please contact us at [email protected].  We will consider such requests on a case-by-case basis. 

*New Requirement

General Contingency Plan: Considering potential impacts to your project plan (for example, COVID-19, political unrest, natural disasters, emerging infectious diseases, etc.), it is important to have formal contingency plans for your proposed project. In up to one page, please describe the possible risks you may encounter that could hinder a successful completion of the project and describe your plans for adjusting this project if needed. Changes could include modified start dates for travel, fieldwork or data collection, alternative data collection strategies, alternative field sites, or alternative methods for recruitment and engagement of participants, as well as any other potential modifications to research and development activities (including IRB/IACUC approvals/changes).

*New Policy

Investigators may only submit one proposal as a principle investigator (PI) per granting cycle. This policy does not apply to co-investigators. For example, you may be the PI on one proposal as well as a co-investigator on another.


Please consider the following if you are thinking of applying for a Leakey Foundation Research Grant:

  • Is my research relevant to human origins and evolution?
  • For PhD candidates: Will I be advanced to candidacy (all but dissertation) before the deadline for application?
  • Am I affiliated with an academic or research institution?
  • We do not award funds to individuals.
  • Am I fully compliant on all prior Leakey Foundation awards?

How to Apply

Please use the detailed application instructions as well as the application guidelines and FAQs to prepare the attachments that you will upload to your new application. Then use the links on this page to apply online.   


Click here to email our grants department at grants at leakeyfoundation dot org.