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Research grants

Find out about Society research grants

The Society awards and administers a range of funds and grants for a broad scope of research activities (see individual below). The average grant has previously been about £1,500.  

Applications for Society grants should be made using the downloadable form below. Please note that you do not need to be a Fellow to apply, however if successful, you will need to become a Fellow in order to receive your grant. We advise you to read the guidelines for full details, and pay particular attention to the allowable and non-allowable costs, as well as the information required for your application. 

Applications must be must be accompanied by ONE supporting statement form, completed by a suitable person familiar with your work and proposed project. Supporters do not have to be a Fellow.

Forms can be returned together or separately to the Awards Secretary at [email protected] and must arrive no later than the closing date. The grants cycle opens Autumn each year with the closing date for applications normally on the first Monday in February.

Guidelines for Applicants

  • Travel
  • Local travel costs
  • Specimen shipping costs
  • Laboratory expenses (please provide justification for the rates)
  • Costs of training programmes may be permitted if the research grant panel feel it is essential to the candidate being able to carry out the proposed project
  • Subsistence: In regards fund requests for food, please note food is not an eligible cost except for in situations in which, (1) no salary/stipend to cover such costs is available to the applicant, and/or (2) food costs will be particularly high during the field period of the project. If you wish to request food costs, please ensure that your case is clear
  • Attendance at committee meetings of IUGS and similar international bodies
  • Conference attendance
  • Tuition fees
  • Stipend for masters and PhD students
  • Costs associated with open access publishing
  • Undergraduate field mapping projects
  • Applications should have a clear scientific focus. It is not the practice of the Society to fund general proposals such as student expeditions.
  • Applicants are required to provide one supporting statement from a supervisor or other suitable person familiar with their work and with whom they must discuss their project prior to application. A supporting statement from someone suitably qualified and familiar with the details of the candidate’s topic of study is strongly recommended. The supporting statement will be used for confirmation of ability of the applicant to carry out the proposed research (i.e. it will be used as a letter of reference) and for verification of the need for research grant funding. The Supporting Statement Form can be emailed directly to [email protected] or it can accompany the application form.
  • Applicants in receipt of NERC (or other UKRI) funding will need to make a strong case for funding although new, innovative opportunities will be considered.
  • The Society will not consider applications for grants to compensate for insufficient funding of studentships.
  • The Society will not provide funding where there has been a failure by the research supervisor to seek the full cost of associated field or laboratory work. The applicant’s supervisor must explain clearly in their supporting form the reasons for the funding deficit where there has been a failure by the research supervisor to seek the full cost of associated field or laboratory work.
  • Applications which the Committee considers to be premature, e.g. too early in the applicant’s course, will be ruled out.
  • All applications are judged on the scientific excellence of the project. In deciding between those of equal merit, preference will be given to those who make the strongest case for financial support.
  • All applicants will receive a brief statement of feedback. This statement is intended to be constructive and to aid the applicant with future funding applications they write. No further feedback will be provided, however feedback can be clarified if any comments are unclear to the applicant.
  • All applications must be submitted on the downloadable form.
  • Please note that applications will be reviewed anonymously, so avoid providing any personal details with the exception of the grants cover page.
  • Please complete all sections. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • The project must have a clear title and in the case of a PhD project please include the title of that project and the names of the supervisors.
  • The project description may not exceed word limits specified and must be in a font size of 11 or larger. Applications exceeding word limits will not be considered. Please note that in-text citations do not count towards the word limits. Up to two visuals/diagrams can be included.
  • Describe clearly the work to be done and its timeliness.
  • The role of the applicant is to be stated if the application is part of a broader project. What is your role within the team? Set out what it is that you will do.
  • State that all necessary permissions have been obtained, the ownership of any specimens collected in the course of the work, and indicate what will happen to any specimens collected at the end of the project (e.g. lodged with a museum, disposed of).
  • As appropriate, confirm that an institutional risk assessment has been, or will be, carried out and the fieldwork will only proceed once it has been approved by the institution. This is particularly when an application is for funding to work in a remote area.
  • Bibliography/list of references - Please do not exceed 10 references to support the project abstract and methods and materials sections. You may include up to two additional references to your own work. You may use your preferred reference style in this section.
Society Research Grant assessment criteria

  • All applicants are required to be Fellows at the time of receipt of the grant money. If you are not yet a Fellow, you must complete an application in order to receive your grant.
  • The grant may be used only for the purposes described in your application as approved by the Society’s Research Grants Committee. If you are unable to use the grant for the specific purpose for which it was intended, please contact the Society before spending any portion of the grant.
  • If any significant changes are likely to be made to the project’s scope or scale, before or during implementation, or if the project’s timetable is delayed, it is important to inform us immediately and to obtain approval for any variations. If changes are made without our agreement, we may consider reclaiming any funds not used for the intended purpose.
  • Successful applicants must produce a report on the work supported by the funding at 12 months from receipt of grant. There is no specific format but we would suggest writing the report in the style of a piece of geoscience journalism rather than a learned paper. Please provide a 2-3 page report clearly identifying the purpose of the research and the results. We can provide some past reports on request if you would like some examples.
  • Please head the report clearly with your name, the project’s title/subject, the fund allocated, and the amount received. The report must state whether the recipient has had articles published or about to be published. We would also ask that you acknowledge the assistance of the Society in any other articles or published papers that may arise from this project work related to this grant.
  • Failure to produce a report will make future applications ineligible.
  • Please provide separately to your report an account of how the money was spent and receipts where possible for all significant items e.g. flights, laboratory costs, accommodation, equipment, fuel etc.
  • Recipients must ensure acknowledgement of funding from the Society in all publications relating to the funded project.
  • Successful applicants may be asked to write a piece for the Society’s magazine, Geoscientist, and blog.
  • Reports may be published on the Society’s website.
  • Payments will generally be made by BACS. If your application is successful, we will require BACS details to make payment.


Privacy Statement

The information contained you submit with your form will be processed by the Geological Society for the purposes of administering your grant application.  It will only be shared with external referees from the relevant committees as part of the review process.  For more information, please refer to the Privacy Notice on our website

Application and Supporting Statement forms

If you have any further questions regarding your application, please contact the Awards Secretary – [email protected]

Research Grants Committee: Call for panellists

Are you interested in research funding awards and would like to learn more as part of our Research Grants Committee panel?

You invited to submit your expression of interest to sit on the pool of Fellows that we call upon for our annual Research Grants Committee. You will work alongside other experienced Fellows and Society staff. The time requirement can vary depending on the number of applications received, but is typically ~8 hours each round.

The 2024 panel will convene in late February/early March 2024 – (date and time tbc subject to availability).

Please submit an expression of interest (no more than 300 words), including details of current position and area of expertise, via email to [email protected]. Expressions will be carried forward for a three-year period unless you indicate otherwise. Expression of interest from Early Career Researchers are warmly welcomed.

Our funds

Mike Coward Fund

  • For fieldwork in structural geology as applied to regional tectonics.

Edmund Johnson Garwood Fund

  • For the encouragement of research in stratigraphy, with palaeontology, and in physical geology. Preference will be given to mid-career applicants. 

Gloyne Outdoor Geological Research Fund

  • For outdoor research preferentially of a palaeontological or stratigraphical character, and preferentially within the limits of the British Commonwealth.

Annie Greenly Fund

  • For detailed geological mapping.

Elspeth Matthews Fund

  • For members of the Society, for geological field-based research anywhere in the world. Preference will be given to early career applicants.

Joseph Burr Tyrrell Fund

  • To assist geologists of Great Britain and Ireland to travel to and in Canada; or to assist in the publication of meritorious papers by geologists of Great Britain and Ireland upon the geology of Canada; or to assist such geologists in any other way best adapted to further this object.

Robert Scott Memorial Award

  • CASP (formerly known as the Cambridge Arctic Shelf Programme) has generously bequeathed an endowment in memory of Robert Scott, one of their senior geologists, who died suddenly in 2012 of leukaemia. The interest earned will be used to support a single research award of £2,200 each year.

    To be eligible for the award, applicants must be UK-based and either (a) registered postgraduate students; (b) university postdoctoral researchers; or (c) university lecturers. Postdoctoral researchers and university lecturers should preferably apply within seven years of their first appointment to an academic position.

    Awards shall be made to support research under the following terms:

    1. At least 50% of the award should be spent directly on research fieldwork (transport, accommodation and field logistical support)

    2. Preference will be given to applications that are in regard of fieldwork in Arctic regions (field areas within the Arctic Circle)

    3. Preference will also be given to projects that focus on basin analysis studies including tectonics, structural geology, sedimentology, stratigraphy and provenance analysis

Jeremy Ingham Fund

  • An annual award of up to £2,000 will be made for the encouragement of research into engineering geology with preference being given to the study of construction materials and/or research incorporating the use of petrological techniques.

Distinguished Geologist Memorial Trust Fund

  • This bursary aims to assist early career geologists, particularly those in industry, with professional development by contributing to travel costs or gaining experience. This fund has a separate application process but the closing date is the same 23:59 on Monday 6 February 2023. Please see the DGMT page for more information and to apply.

Other grants administered by the Society

Jeremy Willson Charitable Trust

  • The Jeremy Willson Charitable Trust, and the Willson family, generously supports the Geological Society grants programme in memory of their son and brother, Jeremy.

    Jeremy was a great athlete, geologist and adventurer. He sadly died of new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) in March 2006. In the spirit of Jeremy’s interests, the Jeremy Willson Award supports field-based projects with a distinct focus on the physical environment. To find out more, visit the Jeremy Willson Charitable Trust's website.