Founders' Fund

If you’re a PhD student reaching the final stages of writing up your thesis in an area of research related to International Studies, this fund might be for you. The application form is open all year round, but applications will downloaded and reviewed each quarter (see deadlines below).

We usually give priority to those applicants who haven’t received any other funding. We also aim to help anyone who can demonstrate that the grant will help them to finish within the short to medium term (three to six months), and who receive strong support from their supervisors. The key criteria are:

  • the academic quality of the PhD research
  • the accuracy of the timetable for completion
  • financial need.


Grants are up to £500 and are intended to help with the direct costs incurred in the final stages of your thesis (e.g. fees, living or travel costs). You can’t use the grant to fund fieldwork trips and you can only apply once. You must have been a BISA member for six months when you apply, and continue to remain so for at least three months after receiving the grant.

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How do I apply?

Application is via our online form. Before you start your application, you should put together the following: 

  • Thesis topic/research area including details of what the grant would be used for, and of existing sources of financial support (200 words)
  • A letter of support from your supervisor (max 200 words) The letter should:
  • introduce you and your supervisor
  • confirm your attitude to studying and research
  • detail your academic record and commitment
  • make the case for funding i.e. confirm there is no institutional or other funding available for you
  • confirm you’re still registered as a PhD student.

You can complete the application form at any time throughout the year. Applications will be downloaded and reviewed on the following dates: 28 June 2024, 30 September 2024, 31 December 2024, 31 March 2025. Applications will be considered promptly after each deadline and all applicants contacted with a decision.

Transfer of funds

If you require the grant to be paid to a non-UK bank account, the maximum amount you will receive will be £500 minus the bank charges incurred by BISA to transfer the funds.


You can expect to hear of the outcome of your application within two weeks of each quarterly review date (see above).

If you have any queries about this award, please contact our office:

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