Learning and Teaching Small Grants

The award outline

This award is open to single or joint applicants. Applicants must be based within a UK higher education institution (HEI), must be a current member of the British International Studies Association and remain a member for the duration of the grant and reporting period.

The Learning and Teaching Small Grants are provided to support a discrete piece of international studies related teaching activity and/or pedagogic research. The value of the award is up to £3,000. The award has a maximum timespan of one year and reporting conditions apply. Only one award will be made to any successful applicant. Grants can be used for travel, maintenance, data collection and temporary research assistance. The scheme is designed to support individuals or groups to enhance pedagogy and teaching practice within the field of international studies.

The objectives of the grant are to provide funding:

  • for new and innovative International Studies activity or research into teaching and pedagogy
  • for pump priming projects
  • to spread best practice in terms of learning and teaching across the International Studies community. 

There will normally be two grants available in a funding round, although we reserve the right not to award grants in any given year.

The full terms and conditions governing awards will be provided to successful applicants as part of the formal grant offer and will be based on the general terms and conditions set out below.

Academic presenting

Submission process and assessment criteria

Applications opened on Monday 23 October.  The deadline is Friday 24 November 2023 at 11.59pm (UK time). Applications must be made using the application form found at the bottom of this page. The application form, along with any additional documentation, such as CVs and letters from the HEI, should be submitted by email to: office@bisa.ac.uk

Incomplete applications or applications arriving after the closing date will not be considered.

All applications should demonstrate that the funding is sought for a clearly defined, discrete piece of teaching-based activity and/or pedagogy in the field of International Studies, which will have an identifiable outcome on completion, and a clear set of activities for which the funding will be used.

Applications will be assessed on the basis of: (i) quality; (ii) the deliverability of the proposed project; (iii) the capacity of the project to make a sustained contribution to the teaching of International Studies; and (iv) the active commitment of the project to disseminate best practice to BISA members. Consideration will be given to all potential applicants irrespective of previous teaching experience, and candidates who do not have previous institutional recognition for their learning and teaching activity are strongly encouraged to apply.

The decision will be taken by the BISA Executive committee based on the recommendation of the trustee(s) responsible for Learning and Teaching. The Committee will reach its decision based on refereeing by panel members; additional referees will be sought where the subject area demands this. We will not be able to provide feedback on individual applications, and the decisions will be final.

The grant application and any subsequent agreement will need to be signed by both the grant applicant and their institution.

Eligibility requirements

  1. Grants can be awarded to individual scholars, groups of scholars or teams, but one person must be the Principal Grant Holder.
  2. We will allow applications from those on temporary contracts with a recognised HEI provided that evidence is supplied showing that the contract covers, as a minimum, the period of research and reporting period as defined in the application. 
  3. The grant will be administered through the HEI of the Principal Grant Holder, which will normally be an institution with degree awarding powers or a national research institute. 
  4. Recipients of this grant must be a member of BISA at the time of application and remain a member until the end of the reporting period and acceptance of the end of award report, whichever is the latest. 
  5. Only one Learning and Teaching Small Research Grant award is possible per person. 
  6. The Principal Grant Holder should undertake at least part of the teaching activity/research themselves.
  7. Funding is not available for work that will form part of a postgraduate degree thesis. Postgraduate research and replacement wages will not be funded. 
  8. No co-funding is possible. Applicants cannot use a Learning and Teaching Small Grant to fund a component of a larger, already funded study. It is hoped that these grants will pump prime larger future projects.
  9. Only one reapplication is allowed for the same research project.
  10. If a similar research application has been submitted or is about to be submitted to any other organisation(s), full details should be provided in the application form. If both are successful, the applicant will have to decide if she/he wishes to accept the BISA Learning and Teaching Small Grant and turn down the other offer or vice versa.


Should the grant-holder move to a different university, we will permit the transfer of any remaining balance to the new institution, on receipt of a request in writing. This request must include confirmation from the new university that it accepts this transfer and the associated commitments.

A grant made to one individual for a specific purpose cannot be transferred to another individual or be used for a different purpose.


  1. Regard should made to the award outline, submission process, assessment criteria, eligibility requirements and payment schedule on this page.
  2. Following notification of an award, a start and end date will be agreed between the Association and the Principal Grant Holder. Any changes to these dates must be approved by the Association. The grant will be withdrawn, should a project fail to commence within six months of the initially agreed start date.
  3. The maximum lifespan of a Learning and Teaching Small Grant is 12 months. All costs must be incurred during the lifetime of the award.
  4. The start date will normally be the date of the first activities supported by the Grant. If applicable, the purchase of travel tickets in advance will not generally be considered as the start date of the award.
  5. All grants will be paid to the university in which the grant-holder is employed.
  6. We do not currently impose any data-sharing or data-storage requirements on recipients of these awards, but we may reconsider this policy.
  7. Any items purchased with funds provided by these grants will become and remain the property of the university through which the award has been made, unless that university agrees that they should become the property of another university to which the grant-holder has moved.
  8. The support of BISA must be acknowledged in any publications or presentations arising from the grant and BISA should be given the opportunity to be associated with any publicity relating to the funding.
  9. Detailed invoices/receipts must be provided at the end of the research project with the End of Grant Report Form.
"The chances of success are higher than RCUK applications. The application process is less onerous. This process is excellent practice for when you write larger grant applications."
Ilan Baron, Learning and Teaching Small Grant recipient 2019
Ilan Baron


  1. Within two months of concluding the project, the grant-holder must complete and submit an electronic copy of the End of Grant Report Form, providing details of the work undertaken with the funds awarded and a summary of the results obtained.
  2. Within two months of completion of the project, the grant-holder’s university must complete and return an electronic copy of the statement of expenditure, providing a detailed breakdown of the costs incurred and attaching all receipts and invoices. A template is provided. Only at this point will the remaining one third of the grant be paid.
  3. No new application will be entertained from a candidate who has yet to submit a report on a previous award.
  4. In addition to the submission of a report, grant recipients are also asked to write an article for the BISA website.

Payment schedule

Two thirds of the award will be paid at the commencement of the grant, with the remainder paid on acceptance of the detailed end-of-term report (narrative and financial including receipts/invoices) by the Learning and Teaching Committee. In case the Learning and Teaching Committee finds the report unsatisfactory, resubmission will be requested and funds withheld until the report is acceptable. Should there be any underspend of the grant, the residual must be returned to BISA within two months of the grant end date.


2. Can members hold more than one BISA grant/award at a time?

No. Only one Learning and Teaching Small Research Grant will ever be awarded to an individual.

3. Can the researcher take a period of time out of work during the grant period? 

This is at the discretion of the Chair of the Learning and Teaching Committee and BISA Director and would not normally exceed six months but may in exceptional circumstances extend to one year. 

4. What is the latest that a grant holder can delay the start of their project? 

Six months maximum – not negotiable. After this period the money is reclaimed by the Association. 

5. Can part-time researchers apply for the BISA Learning and Teaching Small Research Grant? 

Part-time researchers can apply but the research project must still be completed within one year. 

6. Can researchers apply for funding for a project which has already started? 

No, retrospective funding is not allowed. 

7. What about insurance, health and safety, and liabilities while the researcher is working? 

Please consult the section on ethics, misconduct and liabilities. 

8. Is the BISA Learning and Teaching Small Research Grant portable? 

Yes, provided that there is a common agreement between the grant holder, the original and the new host institution and only with advance written permission from the Association. 

9. Is a change of scientific theme, methodology, scientific strategy and/or objectives allowed during the grant? 

Any significant changes in the direction of the project will require written permission from the Association.

Recognition/intellectual property/knowledge transfer


Copies of any publications should be given to the Association. Receipt of the grant should be acknowledged in all publications.

Where possible and appropriate we will expect that datasets arising from the research will be deposited in a public repository and that the whereabouts of the dataset will be made known.

In addition to the formal end of award report, we will require short contributions that may be published in any one or more of our membership publications - on our website, Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook or through other channels as appropriate and agreed with the grant holder.

We want to support all our members and their commitments to learning and teaching and therefore, if any events or promotions are to be organised as a part of the Learning and Teaching Small Grant, we should be alerted so that we can assist with marketing.

BISA support should be acknowledged in the normal way when the results are presented and/or the activity is undertaken.

Intellectual property

We require the right to access all unpublished papers, records, data or collections resulting from the work carried out under the Learning and Teaching Small Grant scheme, some of which may be required for annual reports and board meetings.

We may, at any time, require detailed information on the results of work funded through the scheme for use in reports and financial audits.

Knowledge transfer

We recognise and encourage knowledge transfer and actively support partnership and other schemes that enable this. Recipients of our Learning and Teaching Small Grant are encouraged to ensure that the outcomes of the grants are used to the benefit of international studies in the international community and should inform us where teaching-based materials are deposited.

Ethics, misconduct and liabilities

It is the responsibility of the HEI to ensure that the activity undertaken through the grant is organised and undertaken within a framework of best practice that recognises the various factors, including rigour, respect and responsibility, that may influence or impact on a project. Grant holders will be required to comply with their HEI’s ethics code and this will be referenced in the document signed off by the HEI.

It is the responsibility of the HEI to ensure that all necessary permissions are obtained before the application is sent to the Association and that the roles and responsibilities of those involved in the grant activity are clear.

The grant holder and the HEI are responsible for any matters arising out of the process of an applicant’s teaching activity, the institution holding the grant or from the results of grant.

The grant holder and the HEI are responsible for any human resources related issue or health and safety issue (the HEI health and safety regulations will apply). BISA accepts no responsibility for issues directly or indirectly resulting from the funded activity, the applicant or other organisations and individuals involved.


Share this page