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 the 2018/19 development fund will open on Monday 28 January and will close on Friday 1 March.

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 Development Fund include:

Postgraduate Symposium in the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts

Postgraduate Research Development funding facilitated a one-day Postgraduate Symposium in the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts (DTA). In its third iteration, our aim was to increase the breadth of speakers, thereby helping to cultivate new networks, expand knowledge bases and encourage exposure to alternative research methodologies. As a result, between the eleven speakers, eight universities were represented. Participants were exposed to a wide range of research, and for each speaker, this platform granted them a diverse audience with which to engage.

The discussions encouraged the forming of links to develop between specialist research and other areas of expertise. The success of this event has increased the profile of the DTA department, with many attendees suggesting they would return. As the individuals responsible for organising the event, we benefitted by enhancing our communication skills, organisational responsibilities and leadership abilities, as well as being able to discuss our research with peers. 

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 7th 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. 

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


Thanks to the financial support from the PGR Development Fund, EMREM was once again able to hold a full programme of events across both semesters of the academic year. These events included a roundtable discussion on working with special collections and archives; a workshop on conference skills (including writing and submitting an abstract); a session on digital tools and resources, and several research presentation sessions. 

Much of our funding was spent on running the 2017 EMREM Symposium, held on 18th and 19th May. This was a successful and well-attended event which featured postgraduate speakers from Birmingham as well as a number of external speakers from universities such as St Andrews, York, Manchester and Warwick, presenting plenty of opportunities for networking. The Symposium was a thoroughly interdisciplinary event, with papers on a very wide range of topics from early medieval monastic reform to early modern material culture. 

Birmingham Egyptology

Birmingham Egyptology (BE) is a group based at the University of Birmingham for the benefit of postgraduates, as well as undergraduates and alumni. These primarily come from the department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology, but the activities are designed for anyone to further their knowledge and research skills.

BE has been running for five years. It consists of a peer-reviewed Journal, a fortnightly discussion Forum, an Annual Symposium, and a Virtual Museum, and our website advertises these activities and publishes the results. The outcomes of a previous activity, the Tutankhamun’s Texts translation project, are also available on the website.

The money generously awarded to us by the PG Development Fund has been used for refreshments at the Forum, for the Symposium running costs and for website hosting. BE aims to provide various opportunities for the presentation of research – primarily spoken presentations, posters, small-group discussion and online exhibitions – and is both social and academic, being open to anyone regardless of experience or Egyptological background. Our events are all free thanks to the funding we receive, which we believe facilitates our objective to develop skills and disseminate knowledge.