Victoria station


A (by no means comprehensive) list of funding sources available to demographers in the UK.

Research grants

The following organisations have a range of research grants available:

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

The ESRC is the major research funder of social science in the UK

Medical Research Council (MRC)

The main focus of MRC grant funding is for engineering and physical sciences applied to health, but there are some grant schemes that encourage interdisciplinary collaboration with the life sciences

Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust funds biomedical science

The Leverhulme Trust

The Leverhulme Trust awards approx £25million each year to support research and education across all disciplines

UK Department for International Development (DFID)

DFID operates a number of different funding schemes to promote sustainable development and eliminate poverty

Research fellowships

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

The ESRC provides the following fellowships:

  • Career development postdoctoral fellowships which fund researchers for one year immediately after completion of the doctorate (see under postgraduate funding on the ESRC website)
  • Longer postdoctoral fellowships for any stage in your postdoctoral career (see under research funding)

Medical Research Council (MRC)

The MRC provides fellowships for various stages in the academic career.

Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust provides fellowships for various stages in the academic career.

Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research frequently has fellowships/ jobs available for postgraduates and postdoctorates in demography.

Nuffield Foundation

The Nuffield Foundation has a New Career Development Fellowship Scheme.

The British Academy

The British Academy has postdoctoral fellowships (and demography is one of the categories they will potentially fund) as well as more senior research fellowships.

The Leverhulme Trust

The Leverhulme Trust awards Early Career Fellowships and Research Fellowships for more advanced researchers.

Small grants

Parkes Foundation

The Parkes Foundation Small Grants Fund helps to promote research into the biosocial sciences. Priority is given to the support of fieldwork that involves the integrated study of biological and social features of human populations. Relevant disciplines are anthropology, demography, population studies, ecology and environmental studies, nutrition, and population genetics.

Grants are directed particularly towards helping graduate research students meet their fieldwork costs, but others may apply. Undergraduate projects, however, are not supported. Grants are small, usually not exceeding £600.


Mrs MA Herbertson
Department of Biological Anthropology
Downing St.
Cambridge CB2 3DZ

Tel: +44 (0)1223 335454


The Nuffield Foundation

Small Grants Scheme in the Social Sciences

This scheme makes small grants for social science research expenses. Awards are normally up to £7,500, although in exceptional circumstances awards may be made up to a maximum of £12,000. The scheme has no closing date. Applicants must be resident and working at a UK institution, although the research may be undertaken outside the UK.

Trustees have identified three priorities for funding:

  • Projects that develop social science research capacity particularly by supporting the work of those new to social science research
  • Self-contained or pilot or preliminary projects that address the wider objects of the foundation, namely a broad concern with the 'advancement of social well-being'
  • Outstanding small projects in the social sciences

See the Nuffield Foundation website.

Opportunities and Choices Programme (Department for International Development (DFID)-funded) Small Grants Scheme

The Opportunities and Choices Programme offers a limited number of small grants for the development of research proposals that fall under the five major themes of the programme:

  • Reproductive health in developing countries
  • Availability of services
  • New knowledge of affordability
  • Operationalising the delivery of quality care, evaluation and monitoring
  • Capacity building and effective 'research into practice' techniques

The aim of the small grants scheme is to strengthen capacity among developing world researchers, to cover proposal development expenses and/ or small pilot projects that go on to inform research proposals submitted to larger funding bodies. Applicants are encouraged to consult the Opportunities and Choices Programme website and contact the programme to discuss potential subject areas.

The British Academy

The British Academy has both small (up to £7,500) and large (up to £20,000) research grants available to help meet research expenses (for postdoctoral, but not postgraduate, researchers).

Population Investigation Committee

The Population Investigation Committee (PIC) established a scholarship fund in 1996, due to concern about the problems of UK students in obtaining funds for further study. Tutors of approved one-year MSc courses in subjects with a high demographic content are invited to apply on behalf of suitable candidates. Students in receipt of other major grants for postgraduate study are excluded.

The current value of a scholarship is £15,000.

Course tutors are advised at the beginning of April of the number and value of the scholarships available and are advised of the date by which applications must be received.

Please note that applications must be made by course tutors.

Population Investigation Committee
Room PS201
London School of Economics
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE

Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 7666


Conference grants

The following organisations have conference grant schemes: