Postgraduate Research Support Fund Guidance Notes

All postgraduate students within the College of Arts and Law are eligible to apply for funding to help with conference expenses or research expenses as part of the Postgraduate Research Support Fund.

The funding can cover anything from travel and accommodation to photocopying and books, and has proved to be a real help to our past and current doctoral researchers.


All postgraduate students from the Schools of:

  • English, Drama and Creative Studies
  • History and Cultures
  • Birmingham Law School
  • Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music
  • Philosophy, Theology and Religion

Except for students:

  • Whose status is Leave of Absence/Leaver
  • Whose application is for an event after the submission of their thesis
  • Who are funded through the Midlands4Cities (M4C) consortium

Students funded through the M4C should apply to the SDF/RTSG or RDF/EF as applicable, managed through the consortium. Full details of how to apply are on the VPP. Students with non-M4C managed Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funding (e.g. via a collaborative doctoral project) may be eligible for the locally managed Research Training Support Grant (RTSG). The RTSG can be used for overseas and UK study visits and overseas conference attendance. For more information and details on how to apply please visit the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funding page.

Application process

There will be two rounds of funding during the year 2022-23:

  • Monday 24 October – 12 noon on Monday 14 November 2022 (Applications now closed)
  • Monday 23 January – 12 noon on Monday 13 February 2023 (Applications now closed)

There is no limit to the amount for which any PGR or PGT student can apply, and the Panel has discretion to make awards in line with the academic merit of the application. The panel will however only make awards of over £1000 in exceptional circumstances, and a detailed case to support this would be required. Students are advised, however, that the usual subsidy per academic year is:

  • Full-time PGR (PhD, MA by Research, MRes, MLitt) applicants – Up to £200
  • Part-time PGR (PhD, MA by Research, MRes, MLitt) applicants – Up to £100
  • Full-time PGT applicants – Up to £100
  • Part-time PGT applicants – Up to £50

Update: Students who need to travel for research purposes are required to complete a risk assessment.  A step-by-step guide to the process can be found here. Please note that although some sections of the paperwork refer only to ‘staff’, the process applies to all CAL researchers, including PGRs. Many research trips will be low risk and so can be signed off by you and your supervisor. If you are in any doubt about how to complete the form, please contact for advice. Once completed, forms should be submitted along with your application form. You should also register for university travel insurance once your travel plans are in place. 

Applications will be considered in relation to previous awards during the programme of study. Previous awards may result in subsequent awards being reduced. Students are advised to consider how their applications will work over the entire programme, not just the current year.

Applications made for prospective and retrospective events (covering activities undertaken within six months of the deadline) will be considered.

Applications may be made for support towards conference expenses or research expenses (i.e. travel, copying, books etc.). Please note travel and accommodation should be by the cheapest possible means. Please also see information below regarding travel insurance.  Accommodation is capped at a maximum of £120 per night for London or non-UK and £100 for anywhere else in the UK (non-London).

Where copying or books are requested it should be explained why electronic resources cannot be used. Priority for books will be given to students who are later on in their programmes.

Applicants need to ensure that they send applications to supervisors/programme convenors at least 7 days before the deadline to allow an adequate amount of time for completion. Please note applications won’t be considered without a supervisor/programme convenor statement.

The panel awarding the funds will be chaired by the College of Arts & Law Graduate School Deputy Director. The panel members will be made up from Heads of Postgraduate Studies from across the College. Both applicants and supporting supervisors/programme convenors should note that the fund is usually substantially over-subscribed. The College Panel must therefore make difficult decisions about how best to allocate the available money. Applications that demonstrate significant added value to the applicant’s degree will be prioritised (e.g. the use of an archive that is of intrinsic value to the student’s research project; presenting a paper that will subsequently be published in a journal, edited collection etc).

Please note that, in line with CAL policy, various categories will not be considered for funding. These include:

  • Funds for sustenance (meals) other than conference dinners (indicated as such on the conference registration form) will not normally be provided.
  • Travel insurance, which should be done through the free university policy.
  • Capital items (e.g. photography equipment, recording equipment, anti-malarial netting etc.)
  • Students attending a conference without presenting will not be considered for funding without exceptional reasons.

Applicants should take care to provide enough information to allow the College Panel to appreciate the full significance of the relevant research activity (e.g. if presenting a paper at the conference, briefly outline the significance of your paper and how it fits within your larger research goals; explain how the conference fits within your overall research project).  Requests which do not have a strong supporting case showing the benefits of receiving awards from the support fund are likely to be refused or considerably reduced.


Payment of funds supporting successful applications will be contingent on the submission of relevant receipts along with a finance claim form within one month of the activity taking place.  Please note that all expenditure must be processed before the end of the University financial year (July). Therefore, if necessary, students must ensure that they make advance payment and have receipts available to claim before the end of the financial year in which the award was given (e.g. pay in advance for conference fees, travel tickets etc). All claim forms must be received by the end of June to ensure they are processed.

If an award is made but you subsequently are unable to use it, please let the PGR office at know as soon as possible to allow the money to be re-allocated. Students who do not use their award in a particular year, and do not notify the PGR office may be penalised in further awards.


For further information please email: