British academy

General Information About Research Grants and Funding

  • All awards are for scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • All awards are for scholars at postdoctoral level, i.e. after the award of a PhD. The Academy has no funding schemes for postgraduate students, masters students or candidates studying for other professional qualifications.
  • For most schemes, the Principal Applicant must be resident in the UK.
  • Generally the Academy’s awards are for support of ideas and individuals rather than large-scale institutional projects.
  • With a few exceptions for specific geographic regions, the Academy’s awards are non-directive, wholly responsive in mode.
  • The Academy seeks to match its assessment procedures proportionately to the scale of funding being offered. For larger-scale awards, such as the Postdoctoral Fellowships, a two-stage assessment procedure is used.
  • For all awards, the primary criterion for award is scholarly excellence.
  • Recommendations for award are made by relevant Academy Committees in the light of the available budget for the specific scheme.

Objectives of Academy Research Funding Programme

The Academy's research funding strategy is focused on providing support for individuals through the award of Fellowships and small-scale grant funding. Its aim is to foster high-quality research and to help develop research capacity through a framework of responsive-mode programmes.

Academy programmes are targeted towards the following areas: sustaining individual research; facilitating the work of small networks of scholars; encouraging pilot studies and speculative research; and underpinning long-term infrastructural research projects.

Academy programmes offer direct support for the research-active community within the UK. Its programmes are equally open to those within and outside the HEI sector, to support scholarly enquiry that contributes to the research capital of the UK and to the intellectual and cultural health of the nation. The Academy is a signatory to the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, which sets out the expectations and responsibilities of researchers, their managers, employers and funders. It aims to increase the attractiveness and sustainability of research careers in the UK and to improve the quantity, quality and impact of research for the benefit of UK society and the economy. 

The Academy fosters international collaboration and cultural interchange, of benefit to scholarship both in the UK and worldwide.

The Academy participates in the national programme to support advanced research by providing a large number of small awards, whose value is out of all proportion to their size in fostering original research and contributing to the UK research base. Academy funding frequently serves as a catalyst for accessing funds from other sources, and opening opportunities for career advancement. Recipients of Academy awards often go on to compete for major grants from the Research Councils and other bodies both nationally and internationally.

Research programmes supported by the Academy are expected to deliver an outcome in terms of publication or other dissemination, which may be of direct benefit to the individual and to the host institution in terms of scholarship and RAE funding, and indirect benefit to a much wider constituency. To this end the Academy is a signatory to the Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research.

Schemes in support of research

Postdoctoral Fellowships

Key aims/attributes: to foster research capability, promote career development and enhance skills portfolio of recently postdoctoral scholars, cultivate individual creativity, and contribute to future research base of the nation, and to provide an opportunity of supporting endangered and emerging subject areas.

Newton International Fellowships

Key aims/attributes: to build a global pool of research leaders and encourage long-term international collaboration with the UK, ensuring the UK engages with the best postdoctoral researchers from around the world.

Skills Acquisition Awards

Key aims/attributes: to support the career development of early career scholars (within 10 years of the award of the doctorate) who are in established academic posts by providing an opportunity to develop and enhance their quantitative skills by spending some time with a mentor at a specialist centre in the field

Mid-Career Fellowships

Key aims/attributes: to support individual contribution to the nation's research capital, recognise outstanding scholarship and enable substantial output, both in terms of publication and communication of findings to a broad audience, through allowing an extended period of concentration on research.

Small Research Grants

Key aims/attributes: to underpin individual research activity which contributes to the research capital of the UK and to the intellectual and cultural health of the nation, nurture research capability by supporting younger scholars who have limited access to other funds in the early stages of their career, ensure support for outstanding individuals in institutions or departments not specially noted for research excellence, encourage innovative research by funding speculative proposals wherever reasonable, support independent scholars and those in museums and galleries whose activities also contribute to the scholarly and cultural resources of the UK, and to offer a non-prescriptive alternative to modes or topics of research funding favoured by the Research Councils.

International Partnership and Mobility Grants

Key aims/attributes: to support the development of partnerships between the UK and other regions of the world, building innovative and sustainable research links, contributing to the exchange of expertise and knowledge, and stimulating UK scholarship through contact with different academic cultures.

BA/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowships

Key aims/attributes: to provide opportunities for research leave for one year for established scholars who need time away from normal teaching and administrative duties in order to bring a major piece of research to completion

Projects

Key aims/attributes: to support and give academic recognition to world-class research, maintain long-term small-scale funding to enable interaction between project members and to underpin other core activities for which funding from other bodies is difficult to obtain, support the UK contribution to major international research programmes vital to scholarship worldwide.