David Berry Fellowship in the History of Scotland and the Scottish People

Launched in late 2023, the David Berry Fellowship provides an annual award of up to £2,500 to undertake research on the history of Scotland and the Scottish people worldwide.

Invitations for the 2024 awards have now closed. The call for the 2025 Fellowships will be announced in due course.

The Fellowship is a new award drawing on the David Berry Fund, donated to the Society in 1929 and used, until 2022, to support the David Berry Prize in Scottish History. The change to a Fellowship from 2024 is in line with the Society’s strategic aims of using available funds to support new research and activity by historians.

The David Berry Fellowship may be used to undertake research, and to cover the costs of research, into an aspect of the history of Scotland and / or the history of the Scottish people within the United Kingdom or worldwide.

The Society is particularly keen to support activities for which alternative sources of funding are very limited, or do not exist. The Society seeks to provide grants to those in greatest need of funding, where options for institutional support are minimal or not available.  

What is covered by the Fellowship?

The David Berry Fellowship is intended to enable and facilitate research that would not otherwise take place. Sources of funding may include, but are not limited to:

  • Travel to an archive or research site
  • Accommodation while researching away from home
  • Entrance charges for archives, or similar, where required
  • Fees for obtaining or posting research materials (e.g. copying / scanning)
  • Please note: the Fellowship may not be used to pay a third party to undertake research or to support the publication of a final manuscript


For this scheme, applicants will be considered eligible who are:

  • Current members of the Society, at all career stages from PhD research and beyond, and who belong to one of the Society’s four membership categories. For more on how to join the Society, please see here;
  • Normally resident in the UK;
  • Supported by letter by a referee testifying to the contribution of the research and the need for financial support;
  • Able to undertake their designated research within 12 months of the closing date of the next application round
  • Willing to remain in contact with the Society during the Fellowship and to contribute a post to the Society’s blog, Historical Transactions, on an aspect of their research.

How to apply

  • Calls for the next round of applications will be announced in due course via the Society’s website.
  • All applicants must be members of the Society when applying for the Fellowship; the award is open to historians at all career stages and in all categories of RHS Fellowship and Membership
  • Applicants must outline a tangible, discrete research goal clearly explaining the rationale behind the amount requested.
  • Applicants will be asked to provide a PDF copy of a CV, a reference letter, a 500-word project proposal and a 300-word funding request.
  • To submit an application, please do so via the Society’s applications portal.
  • Applications will only be considered with a supporting academic reference. You are reminded to submit your application in sufficient time to allow your referee to provide their reference before the closing date.

Holders of David Berry Fellowships, from May 2024

  • Fiona Jackson (University of Bristol) to support her PhD research on ‘Musical Exchange within British-Soviet Diplomatic Relations, and the key role of the Baltic Republics and Georgia’.
  • Mhairi Winfield (University of St Andrews) to support her PhD research on ‘Scottish Libraries before Carnegie: An Evaluation of Scottish Library Culture (1450-1883)’


All enquiries about the David Berry Fellowship should be addressed to the RHS Membership and Administration Officer at: membership@royalhistsoc.org.

HEADER IMAGES: (left); William Duguid, Scottish textile importer based in Boston (1773), by Prince Demah Barnes; (right) ‘Janet Law’, by Sir Henry Raeburn, both Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, public domain.