……………………..has applied for a grant from the above Funds and has given your name as a referee.

The Radcliffe-Brown and Firth Funds make small grants to assist doctoral students in social anthropology complete their thesis.  The overall resources of the Funds are limited and derive from interest on capital funds, augmented by the ASA’s royalties and support from the Sutasoma and Firth Trusts.  Per capita grants to successful applicants are modest.  Awards may be made up to £500.  Applications that, in the opinion of the Trustees, suggest an outstanding piece of research is reaching completion may, however, be considered for a Sutasoma or Firth award – normally worth between £500 and £750 – which the Trustees may decide to supplement with Radcliffe-Brown money where achievement has demonstrably been accompanied by financial hardship, subject to the overall limits of funds available for all deserving applicants in a given year.

The Trustees – who are themselves social anthropologists nominated by ASA and RAI – rely heavily on the frankness of their colleagues’ references in allocating what are limited but strategically useful funds.  Specifically, they need your assessment of the candidate on the following criteria:

1.    Applicants to the 30 April round must expect to submit their thesis between the following May and November; applicants to the 30 November round must expect to submit their thesis between the following December and April. Is the applicant’s assessment of the submission date realistic? What is the applicant’s progress towards completion?  Is she/he likely to complete during the appropriate period?  Please discourage premature applications for these limited funds.

2.    How do you assess the applicant’s current financial need?  Please bear in mind that, sadly, the global figure for grants is limited.

3.    What is your opinion of the applicant’s intellectual qualities, fieldwork and analysis?  Is the thesis likely to make an outstanding contribution to the discipline of social anthropology?  Your opinion will particularly assist the Trustees in selecting Firth and Sutasoma awards.

4.    Please mention any other factors that make the applicant a particularly worthy case for support.

Please note that applicants need to submit their applications (complete with reference) by 30 April or 30 November. Applications will only be considered complete once the reference is received. References should be sent direct to the RAI as a PDF to


Yours sincerely,

Amanda Vinson
Assistant Director (Administration)