We have found a wide range of funding opportunities for postgraduates. Please look through the page to see what you can apply for!
The main places to search
The following websites all offer funding and loan information for postgraduate study, and/or the option to search large databases of funding and scholarship opportunities from throughout the UK.
UK Research and Innovation provides links to all the UK’s major funding bodies (including AHRC and ESRC).
Postgraduate Studentships is a large database with the option to search for a wide range of funding opportunities. You can search in a variety of ways. It also organises a yearly PhD Funding Fair which is attended by universities.
Scholarship Search is a large database with the option to search for a wide range of funding opportunities. You can search by institution or by subject.
Postgraduate Funding is a large database with the option to search for a wide range of funding opportunities. You can search by subject, nationality and place of residence.
UCAS provides a wide range of advice and options for different postgraduate funding options, including loans.
Prospects outlines various ways to apply for loans, scholarships, bursaries, grants, disabled students’ allowances, and offers advice on how to use crowdfunding to pay for your studies, and how to approach employers for sponsorship.
The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding claims to be the ‘most popular funding resource in the world for current and prospective postgraduate students studying at UK universities’. However, it does require a subscription, and currently only around half of UK universities have signed up (the list is here). There is the option to buy an individual license.
RGS-IBG Funding opportunities
There are various funding opportunities available through the RGS.
The RGS-IBG funding page for student grants can be accessed here.
Another source of funding from the RGS-IBG is through grants for researchers, accessed here.
PhD funding tends to be given via a department, institution, research project, or Doctoral Training Centre. Often to find opportunities, it is best to use one of the databases as the top of this page, or to search on specific University websites. Nonetheless, we have found some of the major PhD funding opportunities resources which are listed below.
AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) has a variety of doctoral training centres and partnerships you can apply to:
- Midlands3Cities (M3C DTP): University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, De Montfort University, University of Leicester, Nottingham Trent University and The University of Nottingham.
- TECHNE DTP: Royal Holloway, University of London, Kingston University, Royal College of Art, University of the Arts London, University of Brighton, University of Roehampton, University of Surrey.
ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) has a variety of doctoral training centres and partnerships you can apply to:
- White Rose Social Science DTC: Leeds University, University of York, University of Sheffield
NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) funds independent research, training and innovation in environmental science in the UK. It works primarily on developing world leading science designed at helping sustaining natural resources, predicting and responding to natural resources, and understanding environmental policy change.
Carnegie-Caledonian PhD Scholarships are prestigious PhD scholarships which supports graduates with first class Honours undergraduate degrees from a Scottish university, who wish to pursue three years of postgraduate research leading to a PhD at a university in Scotland. There is no restriction on subject of field!
Envision is a DTP between Lancaster University, University of Nottingham, Bangor University, The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Rothamsted Research and the British Geological Surviey (BGS). They have three core themes: Environmental Change, Sustainable Use of Natural Resources, and Environmental Hazards and Risk.
CENTA (The Central England NERC Training Alliance) is a consortium of research intensive Universities and research institutes. Host partners include British Geological Survey, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Loughborough University, The Open University, University of Birmingham, University of Leicester and the University of Warwick. They have four broad research themes: Antropogenic Impact, Evolution and Ecosystems, Dynamic Earth and Biogeochemistry.
For students and prospective students interested in going to Leicester, Birmingham or Nottingham Universities, there are grants and information available here. For more information on what is offered at Nottingham University please follow the following links for the cultural and historical geography research theme here, for information on Leicester University the link is here.
There are various funding bodies that give grants for postdoctoral research to support writing up your thesis for publication, additional research, or for new research projects entirely. This list is not exhaustive but gives an indication of the main opportunities available. Speak to supervisors about opportunities your university might offer internally. And approach academics with funding for large projects, as often they can set aside money for a postdoctoral researcher if the research interests fit.
Junior Research Fellowships at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. These fellowships, offered on a yearly basis, provide opportunities to carry out up to three years of postdoctoral research. They are offered by individual university colleges, and each college will have it’s own slightly different application process. For Oxford JRFs see here and here. Cambridge JRFs are often advertised here.
Similar fellowships are also offered by Imperial College London.
Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships. The Leverhulme Trust offers postdoctoral research fellowships for researchers who have not yet held an established, full-time academic post. These are offered for up to three years and usually lead to a permanent academic position and a significant piece of publishable research. The call for applications usually opens on the 1st of January and closes sometime in early March. The Leverhulme Trust also offers a range of different grants that may be applicable to some postdoctoral researchers, see here for a full list.
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships. The British Academy offers postdoctoral fellowships to early career researchers, tenable for up to three years. The call for applications usually opens in late August each year, and closes in October. There are also grants that may be applicable to postdoctoral researchers.
Arts and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Funding. The AHRC offers the Early Career Research Grant. This scheme is open all year round and so can be applied to at any time.
Economic and Social Research Council Postdoctoral Funding. The ESRC offers different postdoctoral research opportunities, primarily through their standard Research Grant scheme. They have also just established a Global Challenges Research Fund.
National Environment Research Council Postdoctoral Funding. NERC offers Fellowships for postdoctoral researchers, and it also has a wide range of different grants that postdoctoral researchers could potentially apply for, see here for a full and regularly updated list.
The European Research Council offers Starting Grants to those with a minimum of two years postdoctoral experience, and are tenable for up to five years.
For historical and heritage/museum studies geographers, the Institute of Historical Research (University of London) offers a range of postdoctoral fellowships. There are various deadlines.
As well as the above grants, there are several others that might be appropriate to your interests depending on your research specialism, such as AXA Research Fellowships, the Bibliographical Society, the Fogarty International Centre, the Hakluyt Society, H-Net, the Royal Society, and the Wellcome Trust. The University of Kent also has a good list of fellowships here.
There are also various internally funded postdoctoral opportunities offered by universities. Check individual websites, although we have listed some:
Conference and workshop funding
The RGS and other institutions often funding specifically aimed at conference attendance. Again, this list is not exhaustive but provides you with some useful directions. A few tips to start with:
- Most RGS-IBG research groups offer grants to attend conferences (usually for RGS-IBG affiliated ones) – check out their websites for more details.
- Always check with conference organisers and in your own departments to see if any provisions are available for attendance to conferences.
- All RCUK funding streams offer funding for those on their studentships to attend conferences. Check out their individual websites or with your institution for more details.
The sociological review offers £1000 for ECRs and PhD students to attend conferences: see https://www.thesociologicalreview.com/early-career-researchers/conference-funding.html
The Geographies of Justice Research Group offer grants of up to £500 which may be used to conference attendance in some cases. See https://research.ncl.ac.uk/geographiesofjustice/postgraduateaward/
WISE offer grants for women in science and technology to attend conferences. See https://www.wisecampaign.org.uk/funding
The Royal Society of Chemistry offer grants that some geographers (those involved in atmospheric chemistry) may be eligible for: http://www.rsc.org/ScienceAndTechnology/Funding/division-travel-grants/
Fieldwork, miscellaneous and non-UK funding
A number of trusts and other organisations offer smaller grants for fieldwork and research expenses. This section also includes more general grants and areas of funding including help with living expenses.
The David Nicholls Memorial Trust offers postgraduate students in the UK the opportunity to carry out original substantive research and fieldwork in the Caribbean. Bursaries go up to £1,500 and yearly application deadlines are April 1st.
RGS-IBG, QRA and Research Group Dissertation Prizes. The Society and its Research Groups offer a variety of Awards to outstanding undergraduate and postgraduate research. UK departments are encouraged to submit innovative, high quality thesis research. Particular focus is given to originality of thought, quality of research and excellence in presentation. Further information and a list of the available prizes for 2016/17 is available here.
RGS-IBG Postgraduate Research Awards offers awards of up to £2,000 for PhD students undertaking fieldwork/data collection. These awards, offered to individuals, aim to help students establish themselves in their particular field. Awards can be offered in each of the following areas: physical environment; conservation and sustainability; society and economy.
Dudley Stamp Memorial Awards offers a number of small grants (up to £500) for PhD students or postdoctoral researchers in the early stages of their careers to assist them in research or study travel. Preference will be given to research that leads to the advancement of geography and to international co-operation in the study of the subject. Applications are particularly welcome for projects which will strengthen links between geographers in the United Kingdom and those overseas.
Frederick Soddy Award provides up to £6,000 to support a PhD student/group of PhD students carrying out fieldwork/research on ‘the study of the social, economic, and cultural life of a region’ – anywhere in the world.
Henrietta Hutton Research Grant Offers two grants of £500 each annually to undergraduate or postgraduate students undertaking overseas field research as an individual or part of a team. The field research must last longer than four weeks, but does not have to be related to the student’s academic studies.
Monica Cole Research Grant offers £1,000 each year to a physical geography undergraduate or postgraduate student undertaking original fieldwork overseas.
The Slawson Awards offers three to four awards annually, of up to £3,000 each, for PhD students intending to carry out geographical field research. The awards support geographical fieldwork involving development issues with a high social and economic value.
Family Action offers small loans (£200-300) to cover ‘costs associated with a course of study such as clothing and/or equipment required for the course, travel, examination costs, computers/laptops’ for those on low income.
The Emslie Horniman Anthropological Scholarship Fund offers grants for MPhil/PhD fieldwork outside the UK, details here.
While not aimed at Geographers, the Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness offers a number of grants that might be suitable for those studying Geographies of Health.
The Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust is again a multidisciplinary funder, and worth a look for students who do not receive significant other funding and may be financially struggling.
The Leverhulme Trust offers a variety of grants, and while a lot of them are aimed at larger projects and established researchers, some are applicable to students. More information is here.
The British Federation of Women Graduates offers awards to women, details are here.
Funds for Women Graduates provides help with living expenses for women postgraduates in the final year of their studies, details are here.
The Institute for Human Geography, publisher of Human Geography, has a small grants program – up to $5000 US, for which they are looking to fund research or activism which is radical in character. More information here.
As part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has announced a call for Network Plus awards. Funding will support multidisciplinary, internationally collaborative programmes of activity rooted in the arts and humanities that take a place-based approach to addressing global development challenges. More details are here.
Every summer from 1 June to 31 August, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) hosts up to 50 doctoral students from around the world in its Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP). More information here.
Hong Kong Research Grant offers two research grants for students undertaking geographical research in the Greater China region (People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Macau SAR and Hong Kong SAR). One grant of £2,500 will be awarded to a postgraduate student on a PhD course. These grants, supported by the Hong Kong branch of The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), may be used to help with travel, equipment, data collection and subsistence in the field.
The American Association of Geographers has a number of speciality groups, such as the the Cultural Geography Specialty Group (CGSG), and members of the AAG can apply for grants and funding from them.