Postgraduate Research Development Fund 

Each year, postgraduate students in the College of Arts and Law are eligible to apply for funding specifically for new research activity or to enhance existing activity.

How to apply

Applications for the current round of this year's PGR Development Fund are currently open and will close on Wednesday 22 February 2017.

Further information

For more information on the Fund, please refer to the Guidance Notes (PDF, 200KB)

Please note that funding must demonstrably benefit Postgraduate Research Students (MA by Research, MRes or PhD) - due to Research Council constraints, the scheme can only support training for Postgraduate Taught Students (MA, MSc etc.) if PGR students also benefit. 

In order to apply, please download the Application Form (Word, 100 KB)

If you require any further assistance, please contact us at

Funded projects

Previous research projects funded by the Postgraduate Research Devlopment Fund include:

Birmingham English Language Postgraduate Conference


I am currently entering my third year of my PhD in Applied Linguistics, focusing my research on Academic Medical Language in a non-native English country. As a postgrad in Bham, I am also a co-representative of PG Tips, a student run group for postgraduates in the Department of English. We run weekly Friday Seminars where both faculty and students are given opportunity to present their research. PG Tips also provides opportunities to socialize with weekly meets at Staff House, and outings bowling, mini-golf, BBQs, comedy clubs, dinners, etc. Our student group endeavors to provide social events as well as educational, informative, and highly beneficial seminars/workshops/conferences for the postgraduates..


We are extremely grateful to the University Graduate School Development for the funding they provided for our 14th Annual Birmingham English Language Postgraduate Conference (BELP) 2012 which was hailed a success by presenters and participants alike. The BELP conference was a one full day event, open to both postgraduates in the University of Birmingham and those in other Universities, such as Leicester, Aston, Coventry, Warwick, etc. With opening and closing Plenary Speakers (Dr. Rosamund Moon & Professor Hilary Nesi respectively), 18 Presentations and 6 Academic Poster presentations, the BELP2012 conference was, in the words of Professor Susan Hunston, an “intellectual feast”.

Personally, I greatly benefited from the Conference not just by being the main organizer, but also by meeting students and having an opportunity to hear them present their research, and in other cases, discuss their research during the breaks. The University of Birmingham has a rich and diverse postgraduate research group. The BELP 2012 conference provided forums were networks were developed, friendships formed and like-minded researchers exchanged details to stay in touch and collaborate.

Special thanks must be given to the students who took time to volunteer and assist at the BELP 2012 Conference, namely, Salmah Yaakob, Kok Yueh Lee, Sheng Li, Lee Oakley, Baramee Kheovichai, Susie Li, and a great many others, but most especially, to my PG Tips co-representative and Co-Conference Organizer, Benet Vincent.


The Shakespeare Institute Review


Dave Paxton, Giulia Sandelewski, Thea Buckley and Paul Hamilton are doctoral researchers based at the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute. In addition to co-editing the Shakespeare Institute Review, they are respectively working on: Shakespeare and Wagner, methodology for Shakespeare translation, Shakespeare and South India, and Shakespeare, Hawthorne and Dickinson.


Thanks to the generous funding we have received, we were able to launch The Shakespeare Institute Review, a journal of new postgraduate research in Shakespeare and the Renaissance. The journal, which is accessible on, aims to provide a platform for postgraduate researchers to be featured in an academic publication. The thematic approach to each issue (Death & Mortalitymarking the birth of the journal) reflects the format of calls for papers for periodicals and conferences, avenues of self-affirmation that are crucial to the prospective employability of humanities graduates. By inviting contributors to submit original material on key topics, we are fostering the focus on intellectual independence and development which makes The Shakespeare Institute the premier research hub in its field.


Connections: Communications in Ancient Egypt


Carl Graves is a second year PhD student studying the social landscapes of Middle Egypt and the development of Egyptian urbanism through natural limitations. He has also been the postgraduate curator of the Eton College Myers Collection of Egyptian Antiquities since February 2011.


The College of Arts and Law awarded funding to this exhibition project with the aim of providing students with transferable skills. The majority of funding was spent on items to help display objects, including mirrors and magnifying glasses, which allowed contributors to experiment with ways of displaying objects and information to their intended audience. The remaining funds were spent on an inauguration event allowing contributors to celebrate the project completion and to network with those who had helped the project, such as representatives from Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry. Staff from Special Collections and also Research and Cultural Collections, who advised those involved with displaying objects for exhibition, also attended the inauguration evening. All those involved in the project should now be capable of working within a museum and exhibition environment, both for work and research purposes. The opportunity to publish research online also enabled students to familiarise themselves with professional publication procedures and editing methods.


The Good Life: Theory and Practice


This conference was organised by Ben Bessey, Sarah-Louise Johnson, Herjeet Marway, and Peter West-Oram. We are all from from the Philosophy Department, and all supervised by Heather Widdows. We all work on ethics, broadly conceived, focusing (respectively) on the capability approach, bodily commodification, agency and autonomy, and global healthcare.


Bessey---good-life-teamThe funding we received was used to organise a multidisciplinary workshop entitled The Good Life: Theory and Practice, which aimed to provide a forum for discussion within this vital area, and to establish cross-discipline, cross-institution networks. With speakers from universities such as Birmingham, UCL, Oxford Brookes, York, Keele, and Flinders (Australia), the event attracted 60 attendees from a variety of disciplines across the University, including Philosophy, Law, History, and POLSIS, and from other institutions. Organising this event has furthered our research and future career development in several ways: firstly because the experience of pulling together such an event will be invaluable in our future careers; secondly because the event achieved its proximate goal of stimulating discussion and reflection about the topic and its place in academia and the wider world; and thirdly because it has opened up opportunities for further discussion and events on this theme.


Byzantine Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies Colloquium


Daniel Reynolds is a 3rdyear doctoral student in the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies. His research focuses on monasticism and pilgrimage in Early Islamic Palestine between the seventh and tenth centuries. In addition to his archival research, he is involved with a series of excavations in Jordan and the organisation of several outreach events with schools in the Birmingham area, aimed at promoting the discipline of Byzantine Studies to new audiences.   


Our postgraduate development award was used for the organisation of the 13th Annual Postgraduate Colloquium for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, this year entitled ‘Middle Earth: exchange, influence, memory and legacy.’  The colloquium aimed to explore the idea of the Mediterranean, and the concept of ‘shared past’ as a symbolic resource for the construction of communal, and later national, identity. This colloquium also endeavoured to challenge the tendency to isolate studies of Byzantium and the Ottoman world from broader narratives of medieval history and to place the Eastern Mediterranean at the heart of a global Middle Ages. Held in the European Research Institute, this year’s venue accommodated more participants, and provided speakers with a more diverse range of technical equipment to use during their presentation. 

Reynolds-CBOMGS-colloquium-photoThe event was attended by 70 participants, reflecting the colloquium’s ever-expanding profile, and 27 communications were delivered on a diverse range of topics covering East Mediterranean studies by students of the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman & and Modern Greek studies, Princeton University, University of Oxford, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Athens, Leiden University and the University of San Marino. Our morning session was opened by a key note address delivered by Dr. Peter Sarris from the University of Cambridge. In addition, the centre hosted an outreach event for 6 A Level students from local schools in the Sandwell and Dudley district. Thanks to the kind support of the Barber Institute and Special Collections, students were able to experience hands-on sessions with some of the University of Birmingham’s most exciting collections of primary material.

The quality of papers and activities was felt to be very high, and participants appreciated the attendance of students from local schools as this was felt to be an important way to promote the discipline. PGRs from other institutions were particularly positive about the welcoming and scholarly environment provided by the University and there were three requests for advice on future study at Birmingham.

In order to increase the profile of the event and the research impact of the vibrant postgraduate community of the Centre, plans have been made to publish a selection of the papers delivered at the 2011 and 2012 colloquia in a volume edited by Frouke Schrijver and Daniel Reynolds.


Institute of European Law Conference


My name is Luke Butler. I am currently writing a PhD in public procurement law under the supervision of Professor Martin Trybus. Prior to commencing a PhD at the Law School, I completed an undergraduate LLB and an LLM at the University of Birmingham.

My PhD focuses on the application of EU public procurement rules to the defence sector with specific regard to their impact on EU-US defence trade relations.


This funding was used to enable a number of postgraduate research students from a wide range of leading European law schools to attend the Institute of European Law conference. We felt that it was necessary to include the participation of postgraduate students from leading universities in order to enable the dissemination of new research agendas, which was one of the criteria used in selecting attendees. The conference itself provided a valuable opportunity for me to present the core themes of my PhD in front of a specialist panel on EU external relations law. By doing so I gained a number of important insights that will greatly assist in the final revisions of my PhD which is due for submission in 2013. More broadly, funding of successive IEL conferences has enabled it to have an international reach that would otherwise not be possible.


History and Cultures Research Groups


The History and Cultures Research Group was set up by postgraduate students from across the department of History and Cultures.


The Development Funding has been used to establish a new History and Cultures Postgraduate e-journal ( and a fortnightly seminar series. In doing so, it has provided postgraduate researchers with a great opportunity to share and present their research within a friendly and inclusive environment. 

French Studies Poster Session


My name is Claire Peters and I am in the third year of an AHRC-funded project that looks at the dynamics of collective memory and representations of the city of Paris in contemporary French film and fiction. I am the postgraduate representative for the Society for French Studies and the Society of Francophone Postcolonial Studies.


Peters----French-Studies-PG-poster-session-photoAs postgraduate representative, part of my role includes co-ordinating the PGR poster session at the Society’s prestigious annual conference. The feedback from the PGRs has been positive, they all found the process of presenting the essence of their research in a condensed and strikingly visual format very useful. It can lead to valuable insights as new connections can emerge across chapters or indeed disciplines, leading to a reflection on approach, corpus, or methodology. The poster session provides a vital dialogue between PGRs themselves, but also between PGRs and the broader academic community. Last year, I collaborated with the General Editor of French Studies Bulletin,editing PGR reports on the process, where the brief includes training guidance for future PGRs. This year the reports will be published in the Winter issue. Such an experience of editing, and of co-ordinating PGR training is instructive in itself and useful for my CV.