Support for prospective grant applicants and recipients.
The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) is the UK’s learned society and professional body for geography and geographers.
The Society’s grants programme aims to promote geographical research and a wider understanding of the world. As such, it is not required that you have a geography degree, work in a geography department or define yourself as a geographer. However, it is essential that the project you are undertaking advances geographical knowledge.
Geography is the understanding of our world; from local communities to global scales. At its core are the processes by which the environments, societies and places of the world interact and are continually shaped and changed. It is of relevance to us all, not only as we carry out our lives in ‘places’, but through our actions as we increasingly change our environments – both built and natural.
To obtain support from the Society, the proposed research must contain a substantial geographical component. Non-geographical mapping projects (e.g. simply mapping the distribution of species X) do not meet the requirement to make a contribution to new geographical knowledge. Such projects will not be eligible for funding.
Specific information about the grants the Society offers can be found on the individual webpage of each grant. All these pages can be accessed from here.
Most of the Society’s grants support research and fieldwork and scientific expeditions. There are specific grants to support conference attendance, the development of teaching resources, and to support school field trips. Each grant has a different focus, which may be related to subject area or career stage. We encourage you to explore the opportunities starting from the grants overview page and then to read the individual grant pages, and linked documents, carefully to find which grant is most appropriate for you to apply for.
Yes. For most of the grants, the application form can be found here.
However, the following grants have more specific forms linked from the individual grant page:
Journey of a Lifetime
Land Rover Bursary
Geographical Fieldwork Grants
Frederick Soddy Schools Award
Innovative Geography Teaching Grants
30th International Geographical Congress (conference travel) Award
The Society’s grant pages are updated regularly with the most recent information.
Up to four months. The application process for each grant is different, and may involve submission of a second application and interviews, as well as training days. Full details can be found in the guidelines for each award. Applications for all grants will be acknowledged and all candidates will be informed of the outcome of their application, whether successful or unsuccessful.
It depends on the grant you are applying for. A number of our grants specify that you must be a Fellow or Member to apply. If that is the case, this requirement is clearly stated on the grant guidelines on the individual webpage for the grant, along with any other eligibility criteria.
There are a range of benefits associated with becoming a Fellow or Member of the Society, with a number of options available for individuals, schools and organisations. Membership will enable you to attend the UK's largest programme of popular geographical lectures in London and various regions of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
It also enables you to network with others in your profession, apply for professional status as a Chartered Geographer, participate in any of our 31 active research groups and access the Society’s academic journals. Fellows and Members can also receive expert advice on fieldwork and expeditions.
Candidates may only apply for one grant within an annual cycle (deadlines October to April). The exceptions are:
Henrietta Hutton and Monica Cole Research Grants which can be applied to at the same time;
The Postgraduate Research Awards. PhD students may apply for the Frederick Soddy Postgraduate Award while an application to the Postgraduate Research Awards is pending. An individual may only be awarded one grant in any one cycle.
Gilchrist Fieldwork Award can be applied to in addition to any other post-PhD researcher grant.
No. While the Society encourages the highest quality research and fieldwork practice and university-led projects, in which students gain fieldwork experience, department led field trips will not be supported through this grant scheme.
No. We do not offer grants to participate in voluntary work overseas.
No. We only support independently organised research projects and do not offer funding to participate in charity fundraising activities.
No. The Society does not consider applications for projects that have already taken place.
No. The Society’s grants programme provides funding for geographical research and fieldwork. Unfortunately, we do not offer grants or scholarships to assist with tuition fees or living costs while studying.
No. Unfortunately, the Society does not have grants to assist with the costs of pre-organised gap years.
Unfortunately, we do not offer grants to students at school.
However, we do have a programme that provides bursaries for maintained school A Level students to participate in fieldwork summer schools in the UK. Each summer, we hold a fully funded residential fieldwork summer school for geography students at the end of their first year of A Levels/Highers (or equivalent) who would not normally have such opportunities.
No. We can only offer funding to projects through our existing grant schemes.
We have compiled a filterable list of other funding organisations on our website which you may find useful when searching for funding for your project.
Most of our grants only have one deadline a year. In general, the application process lasts three to four months, so it is important to apply for grants with an application deadline no less than four months before your planned departure date.
If in doubt, please contact us.
Yes. We have a wealth of information, resources, advice and training available to anyone planning overseas fieldwork. We strongly advise you to contact us at an early stage to benefit from the expert knowledge available throughout the planning process. We maintain a database of projects and expeditions which are being planned each year to help those planning similar ventures, as well as a library of past expedition reports which can be consulted. We also organise a series of seminars, workshops and training days, including Explore, the annual expedition and fieldwork planning weekend.
You must inform the Society immediately of any changes to the project, including changes to the budget, participants and to the programme of travel and fieldwork. We recognise this happens sometimes and for factors well beyond your control. If decisions have not yet been made, we will update the reviewers with this information.
If your project has been selected for funding, we will review any changes to the project and may request more information before deciding if support will be continued. Minor alterations to projects are unlikely to result in the withdrawal of funding.
If a project is abandoned or postponed the Society should be informed. Any unspent funds received from the Society must be returned.
Normally, you will be expected to begin the fieldwork/data collection funded by the grant within 12 months of the grant being awarded. Once it begins, your fieldwork/data collection and associated spending of the grant will then be expected to be completed within a 12-month period. If you are planning a project where you expect grant-funded data collection and spending to occur over a period longer than 12 months, please contact the Grants Officer in advance of submitting your application to discuss this.
Yes, but you must contact us. A formal extension can be given for time away from the research environment (e.g. for personal reasons such as maternity, paternity, shared parental and adoptive leave or other caring responsibilities, ill-health or bereavement). Each case will be considered individually. Please contact the Grants Officer to submit or discuss a request for an extension.
An ECR is defined as an individual who is within 10 years of completing their PhD, taking into account any period of career breaks (e.g. for family care or health reasons).
Yes, time away from the research environment may be deducted from the total time that you are post-PhD. This must be described clearly in the application.
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