Ten top tips on applying for funding

You’ve got a brilliant idea. You think you’ve found the perfect funding scheme. Your application gets rejected! What went wrong?

Based on reading a lot of applications to various funding schemes in the last few months, here are my ten top tips, in no particular order:

  1. Read all the guidelines and documentation. Have you read all the documents provided? Have you answered all the questions?
  2. Meet the deadline. Many funders won’t accept applications after the published deadline – for any reason! If you’re not sure of the deadline, then contact the administrators. If you really can’t get the application in on time, then ask what leeway there is, but don’t be surprised if there isn’t any.
  3. Answer the question! Think what the selection panel want to know. Be specific, don’t waffle.
  4. Use the word limit as a guide. If the word limit is 500 words, then two sentences isn’t enough information!
  5. Demonstrate commitment from others. Could you include a letter of support? Can you demonstrate a commitment of additional funding from elsewhere if you get the award you’re applying for? If you say, “If I get this money I will talk to…,” it begs the obvious question as to why you haven’t already talked to them.
  6. Talk to the people running the scheme. Make sure you are eligible, ask for clarification about anything you don’t understand. Save yourself from spending a lot of time writing an application that won’t even be considered!
  7. Don’t make assumptions! Explain any acronyms you use. In fact, don’t use acronyms unless you have to! Be really clear about what you are going to do. It’s unlikely the people reading your application will have huge amounts of time to devote to each application.
  8. Get someone not involved in your application to read it! At the very least, they will pick up on typos. Even better, they will be able to tell you where your answers don’t make sense or need more detail.
  9. Be realistic with your costs. Don’t just ask for the maximum amount available (unless that’s really what you need).
  10. Provide a clear budget. Present the information really clearly. A simple table is always a good idea. If possible indicate your working but don’t confuse things with too much detail. Make sure it adds up! Then check it again and get someone else to check it! An error might result in your whole application being rejected. If you can’t add up (the panel might think), what chance have you got of delivering a high quality project, on time!

If you do all these things, you’re giving yourself a great chance of getting funding. I wish you all the best for your next application.

Tweet your comments, or suggest other tips, using #fundingtips @naje99

Dr Nigel Eady
Head of Researcher Training & Development
King’s College London

London Arts & Humanities Partnership

The London Arts and Humanities Partnership has up to 80 PhD studentships available for postgraduate students applying for a doctoral programme in the arts and humanities at one of the three partner institutions: King’s, UCL and the School of Advanced Study. Subject to availability, these awards will cover:

  • tuition fees for a maximum of three years at the Home/EU rate
  • annual maintenance grant or allowance (stipend)

Before applying for a LAHP studentship you must have already applied for admission, LAHP strongly recommends that you submit your admissions application before Friday 16th January 2015.

If you have already commenced doctoral study, you may apply for funding for the remainder of your study, providing that, at the start of the AHRC award (September 2015), you will have at least 50% of the period of study remaining.

LAHP studentships are open to UK and EU students who meet the AHRC’s residency requirements. EU students are eligible to apply for LAHP funding on exactly the same basis as UK students. LAHP expects to make full awards (fees and maintenance) to successful EU candidates in 2015.

Your research topic must be within the subject areas covered by the AHRC. LAHP encourages cross-supervision between the partner universities; please speak to the supervisors or departments about the possibilities available.

Full eligibility criteria and more information about the application procedure can be found on the London Arts & Humanities Partnership website.

Graduate School Conference Fund – Deadline 15 January

At the start of November, 20 students were awarded grants of up to £300 to present their research at conferences around the world. You can find out more about the grant-winners for the first round of this year’s competition here.

The deadline for the second round of the conference fund is now only a month away, so if you are presenting your research at a conference between February 6 – May 5 2015, and need additional financial support in order to attend, you may be eligible to apply for a Graduate School Conference Fund Grant.

The fund offers grants of up to £300 per award to support postgraduate students at King’s College London attend conferences where they will be delivering an oral or poster presentation on their research in 2014/15.

And this year, we are delighted that, for the first time, we are able to open up the scheme to Masters students, thanks to additional funds being allocated to it.

There are three remaining competition rounds for the 2014/15 academic year, and each round covers conferences within a specific period, as below:


DEADLINE For conferences commencing within the following period


15 January 2015 6 February 2015 – 5 May 2015


15 April 2015 6 May 2015 – 5 August 2015


15 July 2015 6 August 2015 – 5 November 2015

For  full eligibility criteria and guidance on how to apply, please see the Graduate School’s Conference Fund intranet webpages or contact graduateschool@kcl.ac.uk / 020 7848 4146 for further details.

Thouron Award Presentation – Study at Penn

The Thouron award, for British university graduates, which offers full funding, for up to two years, to study for a graduate degree programme at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (Penn).

Established in 1960, it is one of the most generous exchange fellowships in the world. Not only does it provide funding for tuition fees but also a stipend that allows students to travel and immerse themselves in the life of their host country. Typically between 6-10 awards are offered to British Students each year. You can read more about the award on the website: http://www.thouronaward.org/ .

Applications are invited by 5pm on 3 November 2014 from UK university graduates, including forthcoming summer 2015 graduates, who are British citizens normally resident in the UK. Come along and learn more at a Thouron Award presentation on:

30 September, 6pm, River Room, Strand Campus

All welcome: ideal for those who are coming to the end of a Master’s and are considering a postgraduate programme (Master’s or PhD) in the USA.

This scheme is open to students at all UK universities so if you have friends at other institutions who may be interested in the scholarship, let them know.

For further details, see Thouron website at www.thouronaward.org or contact Jennie Eldridge, Thouron Awards, 020 7848 3376

Reminder: Graduate School Conference Fund – Deadline 15 July

The deadline for the final round of the 2013/14 Graduate School Conference Fund is on Tuesday 15 July.

If you are a research student delivering an oral or poster presentation at a peer-reviewed conference between 6 August 2014 – 5 November 2014 make sure you get your application in on time. To find out more about the fund and how to apply, please see this post from earlier in the year.