Research Studentships

Online Application Form

Online Application Form
Funding for research of the highest quality


The Cambridge Philosophical Society has a fund for the award of studentships or grants for research in the natural sciences or any branch of technology or mathematics.  The primary purpose of these awards is to provide for the continuation of an exceptionally promising piece of research beyond the usual standard of the PhD. Applications may also be made to allow extra time for the completion of a PhD thesis which has been delayed by circumstances outside the applicant’s control, but in these cases the applicant must demonstrate that they have already applied to relevant University, Department and College funds. 

Notes to applicants

Applications for Research Studentships must be submitted using the online form.


Applicants must have been Fellows of the Philosophical Society for at least one year at the closing date for applications. They must be Registered Postgraduate Students of Cambridge University or ARU, though in exceptional circumstances this latter condition may be waived.

Awards will be tenable for a period not exceeding three months.  The maximum monthly award is normally in line with comparable awards from other funding agencies, currently around £1550. The Society will not make any contributions towards fees, travelling expenses, etc. Applicants who have previously received a Research Studentship award from the Cambridge Philosophical Society are not eligible to apply for further awards.

(i) Studentships may be awarded to provide for continuation of an exceptionally promising piece of research beyond what was envisaged when the project was set up. Successful applications are expected to lead to immediately publishable results. In making awards the Society will have regard to the specific piece of research proposed, to the proven ability of the applicant, and to the other sources of funds for which the applicant may be eligible. Note that this funded work must be completed before the applicant has completed their PhD, so while they are still registered students. Student status may be retained until post-viva thesis corrections have been submitted, unless the student has moved into employment. Submission of the PhD thesis should therefore not be delayed: studentships may still be held post-submission. 

(ii) Applications to allow extra time for completion of a PhD thesis will only be considered in cases of objective misfortune resulting in delays that could not have been predicted. Examples include:

  1. Loss of time through circumstances that could not have been reasonably anticipated (such as equipment failure, non-availability of promised resources)
  2. Change of supervisor or project part way through course
  3. Illness, family circumstances or other personal misfortune


The Society will not expect to contribute to over-run expenses in cases where it should have been clear from the outset that the project would require more time than was covered by the duration of the main funding. Similarly, the Society will not ordinarily cover costs associated with delays arising from a planned move of a department or laboratory: these costs should be factored in by the relevant department during the planning process, and covered by them.

Funding from the Cambridge Philosophical Society will only be provided after relevant University and College resources have been explored. In particular, the applicant must demonstrate that, if eligible, they have already applied successfully to the University’s Postgraduate Financial Assistance Fund. They must state what Department and College funds are available, and apply for anything for which they are eligible.  Details of any funding bodies that have supported them during their PhD research should also be given. Any part-funding allocated by the Society will be to bring funding up to the award level for comparable funding bodies. Funds for part-time students will be reduced pro-rata. 

It is the responsibility of applicants and their referees to provide the necessary assurance of compliance with these policies, otherwise the application will be rejected.

Applicants should describe the aims of their research and report on progress to date including a full explanation for any delays that have occurred. This statement should be corroborated by the referees, who should ensure that a clear case is made for why funding from the Society is justified. For over-running students the supervisor must state what resources could be available from the Department and from their own funds. 

The remit of the Philosophical Society is ‘to promote research in all branches of science and to encourage the communication of the results of scientific research’.  If there is any doubt whether the field of work qualifies under this rubric, for example, if the applicant’s departmental affiliation is not necessarily scientific (e.g. Geography, Education, Archaeology or the Judge Business School), their statement must demonstrate that their particular research project counts as “science” and they must ensure that their supervisor and referee reinforce this.  

Each applicant should ensure that their application is supported by a report from their supervisor and from one other referee (the referee should be an academic tutor or person of appropriate standing who knows the applicant in a professional capacity).  It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that both the supervisor and second referee provide their references online by the closing date. Applications that are incomplete will not be considered.  

There are two Research Studentship grant applications each year.  Applications for either of the two Research Studentships awards must be submitted online by the closing dates of 30 September or 31 March.

Regulations revised January 2024.

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