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

The next round of applications is open from Monday 27 January 2020 and will close at 12 noon on Friday 28 February 2020.

Further information

For more information on the Fund, please refer to the Guidance Notes.

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 Development Fund include:

British Graduate Shakespeare Conference Profile

The British Graduate Shakespeare Conference (BritGrad) is an annual event held at the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute. This year we celebrated our 21st year.

Thanks to the generosity of the PG Research Development Fund, we were able to host a successful conference from the 6  to 8 June. Attended by more than 70 delegates from institutions across the world, including the University of Murcia, Edinburgh University, and our own Shakespeare Institute, BritGrad 2019 provided plenty of opportunity to network in a supportive and fun environment. The conference catered to a wide range of interests across early modern studies, from corporeality in Shakespeare to Shakespeare’s influence on King Kong

The PGR fund helped us to provide catering and quality delegate packs to all of our delegates across the three days. This helped to maintain the positive atmosphere for which BritGrad is well known.

Birmingham English Language Postgraduate Conference

Through the support of the PGR Development Fund, students were able to organise the 2017 Birmingham English Language Postgraduate Conference (BELP). BELP took place on Friday 7 April in the Alan Walters Building on the University of Birmingham campus.

This was the nineteenth BELP conference and continues a tradition of the ELAL department representatives organising a supportive and friendly forum for linguistics postgraduates to meet and share their work. The event had 48 registrants, from as far afield as China and Mexico, who enjoyed 22 parallel sessions. The day also included two plenary presentations delivered by leading linguistics professors from the universities of Nottingham and Birmingham.

The support of the PGR Development Fund allowed the students to provide quality conference packs and refreshments which enhanced the overall experience for delegates, whilst importantly keeping it free for attendees. Furthermore, it enabled Birmingham students to gain valuable experience in event organisation and research dissemination. 

plenary papers

Roles Sexuality and Gender Conference

The PGR Development Fund was used for the annual Roles Sexuality and Gender Conference. This conference brings together delegates who are interested in sexuality and gender issues and enables people to present their research, often for the first time, in a supportive and encouraging environment. 

We used the funding to make the conference as open and accessible as possible, to fund lunch and refreshments for the delegates and travel expenses for our keynote speaker. The funding means that the conference is free to all, which means we can welcome delegates from all backgrounds and levels of experience.

For those who present, the conference is an invaluable way to gain experience of academic conferences, sharing their research, and public speaking in general. Feedback and support from an audience who are also interested in sexuality and gender can help presenters refine their ideas or consider interdisciplinary perspectives. 

Roles conference poster


Furnace Journal

Furnace Journal is a postgraduate-run biannual publication produced by the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage. The editorial team applied for a PGR Development Fund grant of £216 to pay for the production of promotional materials for furnace journal. The journal is published online, which has meant that, previously, the publication has functioned entirely without funding. However, with the original editorial team approaching the end of their PhDs there was a clear need to promote the journal within the department to encourage new students to get involved, and also to help elevate the profile of the journal within the field.

The PGR Development Fund supported the printing of flyers and a pull up banner which have been used to advertise the journal. Being part of the journal helps PGRs learn a wide variety of new skills, as well as being a valuable boost to their CVs. The promotional materials have helped us tell more people about the opportunity to volunteer. 

Journal front cover

Objects Come to Life exhibition

Stephanie Boonstra is an Egyptology PhD student, funded by CAL, looking in-depth at the production methods and usage of scarab amulets. Aside from her research, she is also the Postgraduate Curator of the Eton Myers Collection of Egyptian Art, on loan to the University of Birmingham. 

The funding generously provided by the PGR Development Fund has allowed me to gain invaluable curatorial experience creating the Objects Come to Life exhibition. Throughout the process of curating this exhibition, I have recruited an array of specialist researchers, edited and formatted their display panels and object labels, installed the print material and artefacts into display cases, as well as contributing research of my own to the exhibition. The funds were used for the printing of the display panels, as well as for catering of the launch event, an event that allowed myself and the contributors to showcase our work for staff, students, and members of the public.

Curatorial (as well as event planning) experience is vital to anyone aiming to find a future career in the museum industry and the PGR Development Fund was integral to my gaining of this valuable experience.

Objects come to live exhibition

Journal of History and Cultures 

Journal of History and Cultures (JHAC) is made up of editors and an editorial board. The co-editors are Samantha Armstrong and Nichola Tonks, both of the History Department at University of Birmingham. The editorial board is made of PGs from History, English, Anthropology and African studies to name a few.  

The PG Research Development Fund has given JHAC funding for our first printed edition, and, for a launch party. The journal itself is a wonderful source of ground-breaking research for PGs who are researching. The journal itself is also a CV-builder for those who participate in putting together the journal (editors, editorial board, authors). By having a printed edition, the journal reaches a wider audience, and answers the reader demand for printed edition. The launch party was to celebrate those involved's hard work, but also to interest new people in participating in one of the various roles. 


PLAY/PAUSE is a seminar series dedicated to academic discussions of videogames and virtual reality, set up by Rebekah Cunningham, Richard Bingham and Vicki Williams in 2016. The seminar series is now supported by the Centre for Digital Cultures within the Department of English Literature at Birmingham.

After the success of PLAY/PAUSE’s first symposia event in 2018, we ran our second event this year entitled ‘Immersion|Dissonance’. The event was attended by more than 30 attendees from across the UK, with speakers from various institutions talking about topics including game development, immersion and music, and VR/AR/MR. Verity McIntosh, leader of the VR Masters programme at UWE was the keynote for this event, and spoke to our attendees about the current state of Virtual Reality technology and its use in and out of the home. As well as funding this event, the PG Research Development Fund has enabled us to continue fortnightly seminar discussions, covering printing and advertising costs. We are now hoping to continue to expand the PLAY/PAUSE network, and publish some of the presentation topics in journal form.