The American Association of Physical Anthropologists recognizes that the professional development of talented scientists in the early stages of their careers is critical to the continued health and vitality of the discipline. To that end, the AAPA offers Cobb Professional Development Grants annually to qualified recipients, each in the amount of $7,500.
W. Montague Cobb, MD, PhD (1904-1990) scientist and social activist was the 15th President of the AAPA in 1958 and 1959 and twice served as AAPA Vice President (1948-1950 and 1954-1956). A distinguished anatomist, mentor and citizen, Cobb was also President of the NAACP (1976-82) as well as Vice President of AAAS Section H. Cobb earned his MD from Howard in 1929. He was the first African-American to earn a PhD in Physical Anthropology, doing so in 1932 at Case Western Reserve as a student of T. Wingate Todd. There were no other African-American doctorates in Physical Anthropology until after the Korean War. Cobb returned to train students at Howard University where he also served as Chair of Anatomy. Cobb’s research was in human anatomy and function, especially craniofacial growth including hafting and the maxillary tuber, as well as the application of his science to questions of social justice and racial equality (e.g., Cobb 1933, 1936, 1940, 1942, 1943). He published over 1,100 papers, from peer-reviewed journals to popular press and public education pieces. In 1980, he received the Henry Gray Award from the American Association of Anatomists for outstanding contributions to anatomy. Cobb’s professional example in medicine is honored by the W. Montague Cobb National Medical Association Health Institute. Cobb was a dedicated builder of infrastructure and opportunity. He saw the value of systematic human skeletal collections and unlike some eminent scientists of the time recognized that investigations of the influence of environment and behavior (rather than assumptions of racial determinism) were critical to understanding human skeletal variation. From this understanding, Cobb constructed a systematic human skeletal collection from the local Washington, D.C. area and included careful attention to social aspects of its individuals, including socio-economic class, occupation and so on. The collection now forms the basis of the W.M. Cobb Research Laboratory at Howard. The W.M. Cobb Professional Development Grants are a fitting recognition of Cobb’s commitment to science, inclusion and opportunity and his long and distinguished service to the AAPA. More information on his remarkable career in the context of the early development of Physical Anthropology can be found in Rankin-Hill and Blakey (1994).
Cobb W.M. (1933) Human materials in American institutions available for Anthropological study. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 17supplement, 1-49.
Cobb W.M. (1936). Race and runners. Journal of Health and Physical Education 7, 1-9.
Cobb W.M. (1940). The cranio-facial union in man. American J. Physical Anthropology 26, 87-111.
Cobb W.M. (1942). Physical Anthropology of the American Negro. American J. Physical Anthropology 29, 113-222
Cobb W.M. (1943). The cranio-facial union and the maxillary tuber in mammals. American J. Anatomy 72, 39-111.
Rankin-Hill, L.M., Blakey, M.L. (1994) ; American Anthropologist, New Series, 96:74-96.
Eligibility: Applicants must have completed the PhD or equivalent terminal degree in biological anthropology or an allied discipline. Applicants must be conducting applied or academic research that is within the disciplinary boundaries of biological anthropology. Applicants must be junior faculty members (such as postdoctoral scholars, lecturers, or Assistant Professors) and must be non-tenured at the time of application and award. Individuals in non-traditional positions equivalent to these junior faculty positions are also encouraged to apply. Membership in the AAPA is NOT a requirement. An applicant may receive only one Professional Development Grant during their career.
The program is primarily directed toward the career development of individuals who have not yet been successful with major awards (e.g., NSF, NIH) to fund their research. Explicitly, this is not a program for filling in funds that were cut from, or are needed for an already funded project. That being said, if an applicant was previously funded by NSF, NIH, or another major funding organization, they are not necessarily disqualified from applying. If an applicant is currently funded by a major organization and fulfills all of our other requirements, they may still apply if their application involves the development of a novel idea for which funds are needed to collect pilot data or perform another activity to get the new research started. For applications of comparable quality, priority will be given to the applicant who has not yet received major funding. If in doubt about the appropriateness of your proposal for an AAPA Professional Development Grant, contact Dr. Shara Bailey. The program is directed toward the career progress of individuals, therefore co-authored/multi-authored applications will not be considered. Completed applications must be received on or before January 15, 2021. Incomplete/late applications cannot be considered.
Application Procedure: Applicants are required to submit a research proposal, curriculum vitae, a letter explaining how this research will promote their careers, and a letter from a colleague (e.g., former supervisor) who can evaluate both the significance of the research and its impact on the applicant’s career. Approvals to conduct the research (e.g., field permits, IRB approvals) are not required at the time of submission but should be in progress. Applicants will have until the end of the calendar year in which the award was given to secure necessary approvals. Funds will not be released until approvals are in place.
A complete application includes:
Applications must be received by January 15, 2021. Incomplete/late applications cannot be considered.
If electronic submission is impossible, applications should be mailed to: Dr. Shara Bailey, Department of Anthropology, New York University, 25 Waverly Place, New York, New York 10003. Applications must be received by January 15, 2021. Incomplete/late applications cannot be considered.
Evaluation and Decisions: Grant applications will be reviewed and ranked by a committee of AAPA members chaired by Dr. Bailey. Decisions will be confirmed by the AAPA Executive Committee. Recipients will be announced in early Spring of 2020 and grantees will be recognized at the AAPA Business Meeting. Decisions of the Award Committee in any year are final and not subject to appeal or reassessment.
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