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Criteria for grants

This page explains the criteria and categories for RAS grants.


General information

The RAS will generally NOT provide funding for:

  • Professional academics based in the UK who would be expected to apply for departmental or research council funding.
  • Students seeking fees for organised courses at GCSE, A level, undergraduate degree, PhD or diploma level.
  • 100% grant funding for travel by postgraduates who can obtain some support from research council training awards. Applicaitons for partial funding only will be considered.
  • Travel on research projects funded by, or eligible for funding from, research councils.


Grant schemes

The RAS will accept proposals prior to the published deadlines in the following categories. Please tick the category of grant for which you are applying. The deadlines are February 15 and August 15 with applications being reviewed shortly after these dates.

  • RAS Small Grants Scheme
    • Conferences attendance
    • National Astronomy Meeting attendance for fellows based overseas presenting a talk
    • Field study trips
    • Project trips
    • Visits by UK astronomers and geophysicists on capacity building schemes
    • Visits by UK astronomers to developing countries under the joint RAS-Office of Astronomy for Development scheme
    • The purchase of equipment for, or the funding of, outreach projects
  • E. A. Milne Travel Fellowship
    • A one to two week study visit abroad
  • RAS Summer student bursary
    • Undergraduates wishing to complete a summer research project of six to ten weeks duration
  • RAS-Paneth Meteorite Trust small grants supporting studies in meteoritics
    • Travel to meetings
    • Field trips
  • The RAS Tomkins awards
    • Exceptional undergraduate laboratory work
    • PhD thesis prize for instrumental research at PhD level
    • Equipment for experimental science

The RAS grants panel reserve the right to change the category of grant awarded in order to place awards in the most effective scheme.


Criteria for Awards

The RAS has limited funds for grants and these funds come under more pressure as other funding sources diminish. The guidelines below should be observed closely by applicants in preparing their proposals in order to maximise their chances of success.

  • Overall policy
    • The RAS cannot fill the gap in funding necessary to maintain career academics, university departments and professional research programmes, so its grants scheme focusses primarily on provision for undergraduate students, PhD students, schools and public outreach.
  • Student bursaries
    • Applications will only be accepted from Fellows of the RAS.
    • Only one application per year will be considered from any Fellow.
    • Strong preference will be given to applications with a named student beneficiary, a clear programme of work and evidence of the student's ability to benefit from the training.
  • Travel and conference grants
    • The RAS expects to see a clear travel budget with evidence of departmental and/or other funds being used to support the visit.
    • Strong preference will be given to conference travel which involves students giving oral presentations but applications should not be delayed beyond the deadline waiting for acceptance of papers for oral presentation.
    • Clear statements are needed concerning the status of research council training awards which should be available to most research council funded students for some travel during their study. It is not adequate to simply state that the fund is overspent or is not known to the applicant.


How to Apply

Full details and forms are available on the applying for a grant page. In brief, the application should consist of:

  • An application form, with the grant scheme selected from the above list AND all the mandatory sections completed.
  • A case for support, not to exceed two sides of A4 in a font not smaller than 11pt.
  • A simple budgetary breakdown on a fourth sheet making clear any contribution that your institution, or others, will make to the total funds required.