Research is central to most philosophical careers. On this page, we cite resources useful to philosophers to help carry out research; understand the REF (the UK-wide assessment exercise of publishing quality); career development and support; and securing funding and grant income.
Some widely-used online databases – of publications and researchers – include:
Research Excellence Framework
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the latest exercise for assessing research quality in the UK. Click here for information including assessment criteria, level definitions, and panel membership lists.
There was a discussion of the REF at the BPA Heads of Department meeting in September 2012. Notes from this meeting can be accessed here.
Career development for researchers
- Improving Careers: Philosophers in Non-permanent Employment in the UK: Dawn Phillips’ original report for the BPA Executive Committee, upon which the above document is based
- Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers (to which Universities UK is a signatory; includes annexes to the Concordat)
- Further information on the Concordat. Includes links to how it works, what it means for HE professionals, and details of the executive groups.
There are many organisations offering funding for various kinds of research activity, aimed at philosophers at different stages of their career. There is funding available for, for example, postdoctoral fellowships, short periods of research leave, overseas travel, running a conference, mid-career and senior research fellowships, and major research projects.
Below we list the major sources of funding, and give a brief description of the kinds of funding offered. All information correct as of July 2023, but details are subject to change. The funder websites are the definitive source of information, including the time times, eligibility criteria, and terms and conditions.
Major funding bodies
- The AHRC offers a number of funding awards for research centres, ‘responsive mode’ awards for specific topics, themes, or collaborative opportunities, doctoral awards, often concerning impact.
- The Daphne Jackson Fellowship supports those looking to return to a research career after a break.
- The Next Generation Thinkers scheme, co-funded by the BBC, offers early career researchers opportunities to develop programmes for the BBC. Applicants need not have permanent employment, but must be working or studying at a UK higher education or research institution.
- Details of funding schemes and guidance for applicants, including the Next Generation Thinkers program. Many of these are tied to specific projects.
British Academy (BA)
The BA funds a research fellowships, for all career stages, including postdoctoral research, as well as large and small research grants.
- BA/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowships: applicants must be employed in a UK institution. Fellowships allow established scholars, needing relief from teaching and administration, to have the time to bring to completion a significant piece of research, through sustained period of leave for one year. These Fellowships are not covered under the Full Economic Costing (FEC) regime, and no research expenses for the Fellowship holder are available. The only cost payable will be the salary of a replacement lecturer, who should normally be at an early career stage. Fellowships are tenable for one year
- Mid-Career Fellowships: for individuals employed at UK universities and other institutions of higher education. Eligibility: a significant track record as an excellent communicator and ‘champion’ in their field, and who are normally within no more than 15 years from the award of their doctorate. Full Economic Costing (FEC) regime, but the BA’s contribution to the salary of the Mid-Career Fellow will be capped at an upper limit of £80,000. It is not expected that the total value of an award will exceed £152,000. Awards can be held over a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 12 months.
- Postdoctoral Fellowships: for early career researchers to develop their curriculum vitae and boost their prospects of winning a permanent post. Applicants must be of Early Career Status, meaning they must apply within three years from the date of their successful viva voce examination. Anyone of any nationality who has a doctorate from a UK university is eligible. Full Economic Costing (FEC) regime. Duration: three years.
- British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant: up to £10,000 to support primary research with clearly-defined outcomes for projects up to 24 months. The most popular scheme in terms of application. Awards are open to postdoctoral scholars (or equivalent) who are ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom. Applications require the approval of the applicant’s employing institution, but are not limited to those of any particular status. Application may be made by independent scholars. Co-applicants may be from anywhere in the world, but the Principal Applicant must be ordinarily resident in the UK.
Leverhulme funds fellowships, project funding, and the Philip Leverhulme Prize:
- Emeritus Fellowships: three to 24 months, up to £34,000 to cover research expenses, to support integration or completion of research outputs.
- Visiting Professorships: 3 to 12 months, with tenures longer than 6 months spreadable over two or more visits, from £10,000 to £150,000 to bring an eminent senior professor from overseas to a UK institution.
- International Fellowships: three to 24 months, up to £50,000, for established researchers to collaborate in one or more research centres overseas.
- Major Research Fellowships: two or three years, covering replacement salary costs, for well-established researchers to complete a piece of original research.
- Research Leadership Awards: 4 to 5 years, up to £1milllion, for staff salaries and associated research costs for scholars who have launched their career and want to build a team to address a distinct research problem. One bid per institution.
- Research Project Grants: up to fie years, maximum awards of £500,000, for researchers based at a UK university or other higher educational institution to undertake an innovative research project. Can be used to fund research staff costs, research assistants, teaching replacement costs and associated research costs.
- Research Fellowships: 3 to 24 months, up to £65,000, for experienced researchers to complete a piece of research. Approximately 100 awards per year.
- Early Career Fellowships: three years, for applicants who have not yet held a permanent academic position. Leverhulme contribute 50% of the Fellow’s salary costs. £6000 research expenses.
- Philip Leverhulme Prize: two to three years, £100,000, for early stage researchers whose work has had international impact and whose research career is exceptionally promising, to use for any research purpose.
Philosophical associations that offer funding
- Conference grants: provides funding to support postgraduates and underemployed recent postgraduate to subsidise attendance at selected conferences. Funding should support bursary schemes, covering up to 50% of the cost of conference fees, accommodation, and subsistence (but not travel. Application form to be submitted by email.
- Analysis Studentship: awards of £17375 to support a promising philosopher who does not have other means of support (eg doctoral stipend or employment) to enable them to conduct research. It cannot be combined with academic employment.
- Candidates must have competed at least three and no more than five years of full-time research or part-time equivalent.
- Research must be on a subject falling under the concerns of the journal Analysis.
- Application includes CV, research statement (<500 words), an official letter from the host institution and two references, submitted by email.
- Conference grants: awards for one-off conferences, average award of £300 with a maximum of £500. Deadlines usually in September and April. Application by form to be submitted by email.
- Mind Research Fellowship (6 months): early and mid-career researchers based at a higher education institution in the UK or Ireland. Outcomes must be clearly stated. One of the aims of the fellowships scheme is to support academics who are substantially burdened with teaching or administrative duties.Each grant will exactly cover the cost of a six-month lectureship at the lowest spinal point of the Lecturer A scale or equivalent. Fellowships include the option for Mind Association-funded attendance at, and travel to, the Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association taking place in the year in which the fellowship is held
- Mind Research Fellowship (12 months): for academics of any career stage in post, part-time or full-time, in an institution of higher education in the UK or Ireland.Outcomes should be clearly stated. One of the aims of the fellowships scheme is to support academics who are substantially burdened with teaching or administrative duties. Each grant will exactly cover the cost of a twelve-month lectureship at the lowest spinal point of the Lecturer A scale or equivalent. Fellowships include the option for Mind Association-funded attendance at, and travel to, the Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association taking place in the year in which the fellowship is held
- Conference grants: up to £600 for conferences in the UK and Ireland. Only one award to any given institution in a given funding round. Funding cannot be requested for international flights. Deadline usually in November.
RIP supports philosophical thinking across educational programs, events, and conferences, as well as bursaries and studentships.
- Local partner funding: up to £1500 for events aimed at the general public. Application is by online form.
- Public philosophy events: up to £5500 for one-day events aimed at the general public. Papers are then published as a supplement to the RIP journal Philosophy. Application is by online form.
- Philosophy in schools: a scheme for schools, offering up to £1300 for courses to engage students aged 16-18 in philosophical thinking. Application by online form.
- Schools event funding: up to £5000 for a fully residential event up to 3 days. Application by online form.
- Postgraduate Conference funding: up to £6500 for graduate students to organise conferences. Application by online form.
Studentships and bursaries:
- Jacobsen Studentships: to support research in areas including metaphysics, philosophy of mind, epistemology, philosophical logic, philosophy of life, determinism, evolution, and moral, social and political philosophy. About 5 per year. Application by online form. As a guide, RIP bursaries offer grants up to £9600.
- RIP Bursaries: to support research into any philosophical area of study. About 11 per year. As a guide, RIP bursaries offer grants up to £3000.
Several funding schemes, to support work in applied philosophy. All applicants must be members of SAP.
- Events – up to £3000 (£6000 in exceptional cases) to support any workshop or conference or colloquium in applied philosophy.
- Applicants must be members of SAP.
- Deadlines: 1 January, 1 May, 1 September by online form.
- SAP offers additional funds to support PG attendance and delegates with disabilities (the latter up to a maximum of £1000).
- Doctoral scholarships – offers two scholarships annually for research at a UK university, and further scholarship for doctoral work carried out at any university in an EU country (up to £10,000, to be held for one year). Applications can be submitted from 1st May 2024, deadline: 10th July 2024.
- Postdoctoral scholarships – those who have received their PhD within two years, offers up to two one-year fellowships worth £16,000 to support postdoctoral work in applied philosophy at any university in any country. Applications for 2024-25 open March 31st, 2024, deadline is usually the 1st of May of each year.
- Research Trip support – small fund (up to £1200) to pursue research away from home university, trips, conferences etc. Open to postgrads, postdocs, academic staff, and independent researchers. PG applicants need a letter of support from a supervisor. Independent researchers can apply. Application is by online form. Submission deadlines are 1st January, 1st April, 1st July, 1st October.
- Teaching relief fund – small fund (up to £1200) for academic staff for limited teaching relief to support the completion of a research project. A letter of support from applicants’ department or faculty is needed. Application is by online form.
British Logic Colloquium (BLC)
The BLC supports logic-related research events and research activities.
- Conferences and workshops: funding up to £750 for smaller meetings, £1500 for larger meetings. Applications should indicate how groups under-repressed in logic will be supported. Application by online form.
- Research visits (such as visits by logicians from overseas, or research visits within the UK): funding usually £350 per visit or £250 within UK. Application by online form.
- Small Grants: up to £4000 in support of events in aesthetics and philosophy of art. Applicants must be members of the BSA. Events must be held in the UK. Deadlines in April and October. Application guidelines are provided.
- BSA Connections: runs biennially in even years, up to £12,000 for conferences designed to enhance the dialogue between aesthetics and other areas of philosophy. The majority of papers should be by philosophers who have hitherto not had a primary research focus in aesthetics. Sponsored events must be consistent with the BPA/SWIP Good Practice Scheme and the BPA Environment/Travel Guideline Scheme.
- Postdoctoral Awards: two years, up to £30,000 per annum plus additional £3000 geographical allowance, for postdoctoral research at any British philosophy department.
- Postgraduate Conference: up to £5000 for support events in aesthetics, to support postgraduate bursaries, including travel, accommodation and food costs, both for speakers and delegates, as well as the costs of any invited speakers. Deadline in May. Sponsored events must be consistent with the BPA/SWIP Good Practice Scheme and the BPA Environment/Travel Guideline Scheme.
- Travel Stipends: up to £800 for postgraduates, early career researchers, and those in temporary positions to support travel, registration fees, and accommodation costs for conference participation or research visits to other universities on topics in aesthetics. Applicants must be members of the BSA, have had a paper accepted for presentation (or been invited to give comments or participate in a panel) and have applied for other sources of funding.
- Conference and event funding to support academic conferences, seminars, and workshops centred around the history of philosophy within the UK. Application by form submitted by email. There are two kinds of award:
- Standard awards up to £1000. Deadlines 31 March and 31 October.
- Major awards up to £2000 for international conferences held with a view to publishing a special issue of British Journal for the History of Philosophy.
- BSHP also offer £500 for childcare costs over and above funding otherwise awarded.
- BSHP also offers public engagement funding of up to £1000 towards the costs of organising exhibitions or public events, including public lectures, with a significant component relating to the history of philosophy.
- The application deadline is 31st March each year. Membership of the BSHP is a requirement for applying.
- BSHP also offers funding for scholarly activities (up to £1000) per year towards costs of visiting archives and specialist libraries for research in the history of philosophy. Deadline is 31st March each year. The application form should be submitted by email.
- BSHP offers one postgraduate and one postdoctoral fellowship annually. Deadline 31st March each year for both schemes. For those studying or researching any area of the history of philosophy:
- Postgraduate fellowship: bursary of £4000 to postgrad of any nationality studying currently at a UK HE institution, or accepted an offer to start studying in the UK. Bursary offered for single academic year.
- Postdoctoral fellowship: bursary of £6000 to an early career researcher of any nationality residing in the UK. Offered for single year.
- BHSP offers a Graduate Essay Prize of £1000 each year – submissions accepted between 1st-30th Open to students currently enrolled on an MA or PhD course, or those who have finished their course within the last 6 months.
- Conference Grants: up to £750 for conferences relevant to research and education in the philosophy of science, for travel, lodging, and subsistence costs. Open conferences favoured.
- Sponsored events must be consistent with the BPA/SWIP Good Practice Scheme,
- Applicant must be members of the BSPS. The Society prefers that contributions towards travel and accommodation costs for participants who are junior, or in insecure employment, be prioritized over those who are senior/securely employed.
- BSPS also encourages applications for grants for conferences that are online.
- Application guidance is provided (as is a budget template) and applications are made by email.
- Doctoral Scholarships: for doctorates in philosophy of science at a UK university. The scheme runs in odd years (the next is in 2025). Deadline usually in April, requiring two references (of whom at most one can be the proposed supervisor) and a supervisor statement. Scholarship are subject to renewal on a yearly basis.
PESGB supports research in the philosophy of education, and its application to policymaking and wider philosophy.
- Small Grants to support conference attendance, research costs, and collaborations among philosophers of education and with educationalists, policymakers and other philosophers. Eligiblity is PESGB membership of at least one year. Up to £750. Rolling applications by online form.
- Large Grants to support research with a substantial philosophical component and educational relevance, including research towards monographs, articles, podcasts, events, projects that communicates and applies philosophy of education to policy and practice. There are four categories:
- PESGB also partners with the BA Special Funds.
Society for Women in Philosophy-UK (SWIP-UK)
SWIP-UK offers funding to support organisation of events, or individual attendance at events. Applicants must be Members or Friends of the society. Funded events must be BPA-SWIP Good Practice Scheme. All funding applications by email.
Please note that applicants to any of these schemes should consult in detail the specific instructions, eligibility requirements, and conditions of the relevant funders.
Scottish funding resources:
Grants can support philosophy events organised in Scotland, including conferences and workshops, reading parties, and public lectures (ones primarily for non-academic audiences).
- Up to £750 for one-day events.
- Up to £1250 for two-day events.
- In exceptional cases, and only when the need and justification for such additional funding is clear, the SPA can provide grants of up to £2,500
- Applications accepted anytime, using this form, submitted by email.
RSE has a range of funding schemes. The most relevant:
- RSE Personal Research Fellowships – up to 12 months, funds staffing replacement and research costs. Up to £45K pa + £5k research costs.
- RSE Research Collaboration Grants – up to 24 months, interdisciplinary collaborations, with Scottish or overseas collaborations, as long as lead applicant in Scotland. Max value £10k over 2 years.
- RSE Small Research Grants – to support personally conducted research, up to 12 months. £500-5000.
- RSE Saltire International Collaboration Awards – to encourage Scotland-EU collaborations. Up to two years. Up to £6000pa and up to a maximum of £12000 over two years.
RSE also has specific schemes for cooperation with Asia, Ireland, the EU, RSE Saltire International Collaboration Awards, RSE International Joint Projects, as well as the RSE Fulbright Scholar Award for research visits to top universities in the US.