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Nikki Sheth, doctoral researcher in Musical Composition at the University of Birmingham

Throughout my doctoral studies in Musical Composition I have been successful in receiving the Postgraduate Research Support Fund to fund things like travel, accommodation, photocopying, books and conference fees. Without this funding I don’t think I would have been able to attend as many conferences and residencies over my four and a half years of study.

My research involves using field recordings to create immersive, multichannel soundscape works using the specialist facilities at The University of Birmingham. I work with the BEAST (Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre) system which is one of the largest and most renowned multichannel speaker systems in the UK and I often find myself travelling abroad to collect environmental sounds. Throughout my studies I have been very fortunate in being accepted onto residencies and conferences around the world, but this would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the additional financial support I received from the university through the PG Research Support Fund.

In 2017 I attended the Invisible Places festival in the Azores alongside my PhD supervisor to assist with her workshop, in 2018 I went on a two week field recording residency in South Africa to collect sounds that formed almost half of my PhD portfolio of works, in 2018 I presented my work at The Global Composition conference in Dieburg alongside some of the pioneers in my field and this year, I used my funding to purchase software to work at home while finishing my studies.

I was able to keep up with developments and new research in the field by attending these conferences and I got to connect and network with artists from around the world. In addition, attending these residencies provided field recording material for me to work with for my portfolio of works which is the main part of the PhD in Musical Composition and contributed to my ongoing research in the field.


The process of applying for funding is very straight forward – you can find the application guidance notes and application form on the university website and you can apply for either conference support or research support. The form asks for a breakdown of activities and costs, your reasons for wanting to do the proposed activity and for a supporting statement from your supervisor. It covers anything from conferences, travel and accommodation to photocopying and the purchase of books.

I would definitely encourage you to apply if you are a postgraduate researcher!