British academy


18 Jan 2012

The British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust have today (18.01.12) announced a major new collaboration to support the award of Small Research Grants across the Humanities and Social Sciences.


The Academy announced last year that its Small Research Grants scheme (SRGs) had been resumed with the agreement of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, although with more restricted funding than in the past. Today, in a significant new development, the Leverhulme Trust has confirmed a grant of £1.5 million over 3 years to support the scheme which will continue to be administered by the Academy.

This support recognises the value of British Academy SRGs as a vital part of the UK’s research funding landscape in the UK.  Its flexibility is central to the scheme’s success; researchers can apply for awards of up to £10,000 for a variety of research projects, international fieldwork or to pilot new areas of research.

The scheme is notable for the breadth of the research it funds and the results.  Research  made possible by a SRG formed the foundation of a three-part BBC 2 series, Mixed Britannia, presented by news reader George Alagiah in October 2011.  Dr Chamion Caballero and Dr Peter Aspinall used first-hand accounts of people, couples and families from mixed racial backgrounds for their British Academy-funded research, The Era of Moral Condemnation: Mixed Race People in Britain, 1920-1950.

Dr Caballero said,

‘The BBC were blown away by the incredible images and stories that we had identified and used our findings as the basis for the Mixed Britannia series. Without the British Academy grant, it is unlikely that the project would have got off the ground so we are incredibly grateful to the Academy for approving our proposal and enabling us to bring this overlooked but fascinating part of British history to light.’

SRGs are open to researchers at any UK Higher Education Institution or other research organisation, as well as to independent scholars, and are particularly valuable in supporting early career scholars.   Ian Gregory went on to secure a European Research Council Grant for EUR1.5 million based on earlier work funded by the SRG scheme.  He said,

‘The success of this application was in no small measure down to the pilot work that I had undertaken under an earlier Small Research Grant.’

This announcement will enable the Academy to hold two rounds of competition for SRGs each year, with deadlines in the spring and the autumn.

Welcoming this major new collaboration, Sir Adam Roberts, President of the British Academy said, ’Small Research Grant awards are one of the Academy’s best known and most valued schemes, offering significant returns on the investment of small-scale funding in individual researchers and small networks of scholars.’

Professor Gordon Marshall, Director of the Leverhulme Trust, added, ‘The Trust welcomes this opportunity to add to its portfolio of research support by offering this new funding to support new scholarship and research in the Humanities and Social Sciences.  We particularly welcome the way the scheme supports research by scholars in the early part of their careers, which for us is an especially valuable feature of the Academy’s Small Grants scheme.’

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Editor’s notes

  • The British Academy
    The British Academy is the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences.  Its purpose is to inspire, recognise, and support excellence in these disciplines throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.  For more information please go to our website at  For information about applying for a Small Research Grant, please visit
  •  The Leverhulme Trust was established in 1925 under the Will of the first Viscount Leverhulme. It is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing funds of some £60 million every year. For further information about the schemes that the Leverhulme Trust fund visit their website at