Martin Lynn Scholarship – Guidelines

Thanks to the generosity of the family of the late Martin Lynn, the Society has pleasure in announcing the establishment of an annual award in his memory. Martin Lynn was Professor of African History in the Queen’s University, Belfast, the first scholar to hold a chair in African history in Ireland. His scholarly career was devoted to the history of West Africa and he published most extensively and importantly on the 19th and 20th century history of Nigeria. His scholarly achievements were matched by the reputation he enjoyed as an exciting and concerned teacher and a delightful, generous colleague and friend. This award reflects the interests of the man it commemorates. Annually the Society will make an award of up to £1,000 to assist an historian pursuing postgraduate research on a topic in African history.


  • Eligible students will be registered for a PhD or DPhil. Students must be registered at a UK institution. Students may be full-time or part-time.
  • Eligible students will have successfully completed their first year of full-time or first two years of part-time study by the time the award is taken up.
  • Applications are open to researchers of all nationalities, however the Society does not normally fund students to do research in their own country of permanent residence if this is outside the United Kingdom.
  • Applications will NOT be considered for research to be conducted within the four weeks immediately following the deadline.
  • Grants cannot be sought retrospectively.

Criteria for Assessment

In making its funding decisions, the Research Support Committee uses the following criteria:

  • A well-written proposal will enhance both the likelihood and the value of RHS funding.
  • Priority is given to applicants who provide clear evidence of the historical significance of their project as a whole and specify in detail how the requested funds will advance and enrich that project.
  • Applicants should ensure that their proposals extend beyond mere description to analysis: for example, they should indicate the project’s key research questions and (if research is already at an advanced stage) their conclusions thereon.
  • Priority is given to applicants who provide a detailed and economical budget. You are advised to take the cheapest possible travel option.
  • Priority is given to applicants who demonstrate that they have sought out the full range of available funding, both at their home institution and among relevant scholarly societies.
  • Priority is given to candidates whose progress toward their degree is clearly and specifically attested by their PhD/DPhil supervisor.
  • Applicants intending to use the award to carry out research within Africa will be especially welcomed.

The application process

  • From the 7 January 2020, the RHS switched to a new online system for applications. If you had an incomplete application started before the 6 January 2020, you will now be unable to access or submit your application.  All new applications for Research Support Grants (including Conference Travel, Research Expenses and Conference Organisation) should be made using the new RHS application system, which can be accessed here.
  • A copy will be emailed to your referee, who will be asked to provide a reference. No application will be considered without a supporting academic reference. You are reminded to submit your application in sufficient time to allow your supervisor to provide their reference before the closing date for which you are applying.
  • If your application to the Martin Lynn Scholarship is unsuccessful, your request for funding will automatically be considered under the Society’s Research Expenses scheme which offers grants of up to £750. You do not need to apply to both schemes.
  • All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application within six weeks of the closing date for applications.
  • If your application is successful, you will need to provide proof of expenditure before any grant is paid to you. This may be done prior to travel or after travel but the grant must be claimed within six months of the date of the award. If you are unable to claim the award within six months and do not inform the Society, you will be deemed to have forfeited the offer of the grant.
  • If you have already purchased travel tickets, please do not submit these with your application. If your application is successful, you will be sent full details on how to claim the grant.
  • Successful applicants will be required to provide a full report on the uses to which the grant has been put and the outcome in terms of contribution to the progress of the research within one month of completion of the proposed research.

Notes for referees

  • The committee would be greatly assisted if referees were to address the merits of the application and specific requests for funding as well as the merits of the applicant.
  • If the applicant is in their first year of a postgraduate research degree, the referee is asked to confirm that the student will upgrade.
  • Priority is given to candidates whose progress toward their degree is clearly and specifically attested by their PhD/DPhil supervisor.

All enquiries about research support applications should be addressed to the RHS Membership and Administration Officer at:

Apply now