The following are responses to commonly asked questions about the Society's grants programme. If you can't find the answer to your question here, please contact us at email@example.com
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 are continually shaped, changed and interact. It is of relevance to us all as not only do we carry out our lives in ‘places,’ but through our actions we increasingly change our environments – both built and natural.
A number of our grants specify that you must be a Fellow to apply If that is the case, this requirement is clearly stated on the grant guidelines that can be found on the individual webpage of each grant, along with any other eligibility criteria.
There are a range of benefits associated with becoming a member or Fellow 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 the regions of England and Wales.
It also enables you to network with others in your profession, apply for professional status as a Chartered Geographer, participate in any of 31 active research groups for scholars and access the Society’s academic journals. Fellows have unlimited use of the Foyle Reading Room and our library of maps, books, guides and have unrivalled access to our historic Collections. Fellows can also receive receive expert advice on fieldwork and expeditions.
Of the 25 grants offered through the RGS-IBG’s grants programme, 22 are awarded by the Society and 3 are administered by the Society on behalf of other organisations. Candidates may have only one Society grant application pending at any one time, but may apply for any number of Society-administered grants. The exception is the Henrietta Hutton and Monica Cole Research Grants; applicants can apply for both.
Dudley Stamp Memorial Award
Environment and Sustainability Research Grants
Field Centre Grants
Geographical Fieldwork Grants
Henrietta Hutton Research Grant
Hong Kong Research Grant
Jasmin Leila Award
Journey of a Lifetime Award
Land Rover Bursary
Monica Cole Research Grant
Neville Shulman Challenge Award
Postgraduate Research Awards
Ralph Brown Expedition Award
Ray y Gildea Jr Award
Small Research Grants
Thirtieth International Geographical Congress Award
Society administered grants
Frederick Soddy Award
Geographical Club Award
Gilchrist Fieldwork Award
The Society’s grants programme provides funds for geographical research and fieldwork; unfortunately we do not have grants to assist with fees or living costs while studying for a degree.
Unfortunately, the Society does not have grants to assist with the costs of pre-organised gap years.
The Society has resources with useful advice on planning a gap year, a bulletin of expedition vacancies, a register of personnel available for expeditions, as well as running a number of fieldwork and expedition seminars and workshops throughout the year for people planning research and expeditions.
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 AS/Highers (or equivalent) who would not normally have such opportunities. For more information see our Alexander Awards page.
We also offer grants to geography teachers to help them develop innovative and exciting new lessons.
The Society only offers funds to projects through its existing grants.
When fundraising for an expedition or overseas fieldwork, it is important to strike a balance between applying for a grant too early and not having made detailed enough plans to be able to put forward a convincing argument for funding, and applying too late and finding that the administrative process for the award will take too long for decisions to be made in time. The application process for each of the Society’s awards varies, with some requiring multiple applications and interviews and others requiring only an application form to be completed. Full details on the process for each award can be found on each grant’s webpage.
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. The majority of the Society’s grants are awarded annually; if there is an award that appears particularly appropriate to your circumstances but does not fit in with your schedule, it may be necessary to apply for it a year early. If in doubt, contact us.
We have a wealth of information, resources, advice and training available to anyone planning overseas fieldwork. Expedition teams and groups are strongly advised to contact us at an early stage in their planning 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 organises a series of seminars, workshops and training days, including Explore, the annual expedition and fieldwork planning weekend.
In addition, our Collections comprise over two million documents, maps, photographs, paintings, periodicals, artefacts and books, and span 500 years of geography, travel and exploration, making them an invaluable research resource.
The Society does not consider applications for retrospective funding. See question 8 for when to apply.
The application process for each grant is different, and may involve submission of two proposals and interviews, as well as training days. Full details can be found in the guidelines for each award. In general, the application process lasts between three and four months, though this may be extended if there are delays in scheduling interviews. All candidates, whether successful or unsuccessful in their application, will be contacted with details of the outcome.
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