ECH Grant applications

ECH Grants: Research trips and/or training events

Funding for research trips to archives and libraries or to undertake fieldwork or training is available from many sources.  Obtaining one or more of these small grants as a PhD student lays excellent groundwork for making more substantial grant applications as a postdoctoral researcher.  This indicative list will give you an idea of where to begin looking for funding options:

  • Your ‘home’ institution: Your department, school, faculty, graduate school, and/or university may provide funding for research trips.  Start your search by exploring these internal options, and make sure you apply by the relevant deadlines.  (It is quite common for funders to ask what internal funding is available for your project, and whether you have applied for it).
  • AHRC/ESRC International Placement Scheme: For postgraduate ECRs and for doctoral students funded by these two research councils, this scheme supports research undertaken at select institutions in the US and Japan. For details, see:
  • British Academy: The BA (assisted by the Leverhulme Trust) has a scheme for which postdoctoral scholars normally resident in the UK (including independent postdoctoral researchers) are eligible. The scheme provides up to £10,000 per project, which can include funding for research trips.  For more details, see
  • Delmas Foundation: The Delmas Foundation provides funding for historical research undertaken in Venice, the Veneto and European archives and libraries:
  • Economic History Society: The EHS funds a number of bursaries for postgraduate students studying in the UK who are researching economic and/or social history. For details, see
  • Entente cordiale: These scholarships fund periods of postgraduate research in France of, normally, a few months’ duration.
  • Paul Mellon Centre: This centre provided funds for research on topics relating to the history of British art and architecture. See
  • Royal Historical Society: The RHS provides a limited number of grants to PhD students on a competitive basis.  Research can be conducted within the UK or internationally. Recent PhD recipients are eligible to apply to the RHS for conference travel funding. For full details see our Grants menu.
  • Specialist Libraries: Many specialist libraries (particularly in the US, but not exclusively for research in US history) offer full or partial support for short research trips to use their resources.  Always check the website of libraries and archives in which you need to work to see if they offer any funding.  Examples of such funding include: American Antiquarian Society, (American history, literature and visual culture: ); Harry Ransom Center, Texas (strengths include for example African and African-American studies, British history and literature, Jewish studies and Latin America : ); Hoover Institution, California (modern political, social and economic change, esp. 20th-century ideological movements, Russia and the Soviet Union: ); Houghton Library, Massachusetts (US, continental European and English history and literature: ) ; Huntington Library, California (medieval to modern British history, US history (esp. the Southwest),history of science, medicine and technology); John Carter Brown Library, Rhode Island (history and literature of the Americas—both North and South—before c. 1825: ); Lewis Walpole Library, Connecticut (18th-century Britain: ); Newberry Library, Illinois (medieval, Renaissance and early modern history, American and American-Indian history, history of the book, maps, travel and exploration: ); Yale Center for British Art, Connecticut (British art: ).
  • Wellcome Trust: The Wellcome offers small grants to researchers in history of medicine and history of science who are based in, or travelling to, the UK or Republic of Ireland. See .


ECH Grants: Public engagement and/or impact work

For public engagement and/or impact work:

  • Your ‘home’ institution: Many UK universities offer training and/or funding to undertake public engagement/impact activities.  Especially if you hope to gain employment in the UK HEI sector (whether as an academic or in an administrative role), it is very much to your advantage to take up these opportunities.  A strong track record in public engagement as a doctoral student will significantly enhance your subsequent application for a research assistantship on a collaborative project in the UK (or for employment in many parts of the charitable sector).
  • AHRC/ESRC: The research councils occasionally offer training and/or funding for public engagement activities.  Keep an eye on their websites for more information, and for contextual information on public engagement and impact more broadly: and ;
  • NESTA: This UK charity seeks to enhance innovation across a range of public domains and at intervals provides funding for public engagement for which academics can apply. See .


ECH Grants: Conference attendance & organisation

For conference attendance:

  • Your ‘home’ institution: As with travel for research trips and training, this is always the place to start. Most (but not all) internal funding opportunities are advertised at roughly the same time each year within a given institution.  Acquainting yourself with the normal deadlines for these internal pots of money in your first months/year of study will increase your likelihood of being funding, and enhance your ability to coordinate internal and external funding applications;
  • Royal Historical Society: The RHS provides funding to assist doctoral candidates and postdoctoral early career historians to give papers at national and international conferences.  Remember that the total number of RHS applications you can make is limited: don’t lose the opportunity to apply for an expensive conference late in your degree by applying for multiple less expensive, local ones early in your studies.  Details of RHS conference funding are available here.
  • Scholarly societies: The scholarly societies that organise many conferences offer bursaries to assist some ECRs to attend their events. Information on this funding will normally be provided when you register for a conference or submit a paper for consideration.

For conference organisation:

  • Your ‘home’ institution: As always, this is the most sensible place to start. Many departments, faculties and graduate schools offer ECRs funding to organise conferences.  You will enhance your application for external funding if you have already applied for/secured internal funding of this kind;
  • British Academy: The BA/Leverhulme Small Grants scheme (noted above) can be used to organise workshops or conferences. For eligibility and terms, see ;
  • Economic History Society: The Society provides funding, on a competitive basis, for conference organisation on topics related to economic and/or social history. See ;
  • Paul Mellon Centre: This centre provides funding, once annually, for conferences in the field of the history of art and architecture. See
  • Royal Historical Society: The RHS provides funding for conference organisation twice a year.  Full details are available here. 


ECH Grants: Generic tips

  • Start small, build up a profile, and then expand your ambitions: There are many small pots of funding available for early career historians (including from the RHS). Use applications for these funds to hone your application skills and to build up the ‘Grants’ section of your CV  Then you will have the experience and profile to submit successful applications for larger projects;
  • Know your grants: Many grants are advertised on a regular cycle, with deadlines at established points each year. If you familiarise yourself with the available funding landscape before you require funding, you can plan ahead, and apply at the right time for the right funding.  Don’t try to force your project into a funding scheme for which it is not appropriate, or for which you are not eligible. Instead, find a scheme for which you and your project are an appropriate fit;
  • Read, address and adhere to the application criteria: Address the specific criteria of the funding scheme to which you are applying, answering every question you are asked. Aim for clarity, and avoid jargon. Applications will often be read by assessors who are not specialists in your field of history. Be careful to convey what research questions your project addresses, why those questions are important, and how you are addressing them. Do not exceed the word/page length specified in the grant application. Check any budgets you provide carefully, and make them as specific as feasible. If you know someone who has made a successful application to the scheme you are applying for, ask if you can read their application in advance of submitting your own.
  • Work to the application’s deadline: Many grants require letters of support from supervisors or other academics who know your work. You will need to ensure that anyone writing on your behalf has a copy of your application and CV in time to write a reference by the application’s stated deadline. (Ideally, you should provide your PhD supervisor with a draft of your application sufficiently in advance for him/her to provide feedback). Don’t assume that your application will be accepted if submitted late: most funding bodies automatically reject applications that miss the deadline.
  • Proof-read your application carefully: A grant application larded with grammatical, spelling or other errors makes a very poor impression on the assessors. Funding bodies typically have far more applications than they can support.  Don’t auto-eliminate by detracting from the substance of the application through careless presentation.