……………………..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. Current maxima are usually £300 (£325 in London) for living expenses, and £200 to defray the costs of thesis production. Requests for more than these amounts will only be granted in cases of exceptional need, such need must be thoroughly documented and justified, and candidates are advised that most grants will be made at or below these levels. Applications that, in the opinion of the Trustees, suggest an outstanding piece of research is reaching completion may be considered for a Sutasoma or Firth award – normally worth between £500 and £750.

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.

If you are a member of the ASA, you may like to bear in mind that it is in part your money we are redistributing. If you are not a member of the RAI or ASA, perhaps further knowledge of this scheme will persuade you to join. Applicants who do not themselves belong to ASA or RAI are required to nominate one referee who is a member of the ASA.

Please note that applicants need to submit their applications (complete with references) by 30th April or 30th November.

Yours sincerely,

Amanda Vinson
Office Manager