Learning and Teaching Small Grant

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 are now open!  The deadline is Friday 25 November 2022 at 5pm (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 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 will only be allocated to single principal researchers. Research collaboration though is encouraged. 
  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 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. Grants are assigned to principal or individual scholars, and to teams. 
  7. The investigator should undertake at least part of the teaching activity/research him/herself.
  8. Funding is not available for work that will form part of a postgraduate degree thesis. Postgraduate research and replacement wages will not be funded. 
  9. 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.
  10. Only one reapplication is allowed for the same research project.
  11. 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.


Three reports are required to comply with the grant scheme. One short mid-term activity narrative report within six months of beginning the grant, the end of award report (narrative and financial) within six weeks of completing the grant period and a further narrative report to capture impacts within 12 months of completing the grant funding period. Any other relevant updates, in the form of brief reports, news items, pictures, BISA website, Facebook or Twitter, and BISA News are strongly encouraged.

The end of award report will include both a narrative and financial section.

Information provided in any submitted report may be used in part (extract) or entirety to promote learning and teaching within Association publications and to the members and wider community but in all cases, this will be in consultation with the grant holder.

Reports should be submitted using the appropriate form, which will be provided by the BISA office.

"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

Financial guidelines

Eligible Costs

Funds may be spent to cover the direct expenses incurred in planning, conducting, and developing the pedagogic activity, including but not limited to:

  • Project planning and development costs (cost of travel nationally and overseas) Travel and subsistence for the researcher;
  • Up to a non-negotiable maximum of £1,000 for research assistance;
  • Up to £500 of the Grant may be used towards attending a BISA Conference (travel, subsistence and conference fees at the applicable country band fee) to present a paper and/or run a workshop that will include acknowledgment of the grant;
  • Consumables – purchase of datasets, photocopies, microfilms etc. and any minor items that will be used during the course of the project;
  • Costs of interpreters in the field and transcription costs of interviews;
  • Costs of preparing camera ready copy, copy-editing, proof reading, indexing where this is not borne by the publisher;
  • Costs of deposit of digital material in a suitably accessible repository may be considered;
  • Cost of reproduction rights will be considered provided that there is a contract for publication in place.

Ineligible Costs

  • Applicants registered with special needs may consult the Association about possible exceptions;
  • Institutional overheads;
  • Payment to the principal researcher in lieu of salary or for personal maintenance at home;
  • Equipment including computing, printing, cameras, telephones of any type, recording equipment etc;
  • Software – of any description including establishment of websites or blogs;
  • Subventions for direct production costs (printing, binding, distribution, marketing etc.);
  • Requests to cover publication costs will NOT be considered – “Green” open access is favoured;
  • Books;
  • Childcare;
  • Insurance;
  • Claims.

The funding for the Learning and Teaching Small Grant has been generated by us. Grant holders and their institutions are expected not only to comply with the terms of the scheme but also with the spirit of the scheme. We’re a registered charity and learned society, and as such must maintain high standards of conduct. If you and/or your HEI are not certain if expenses are eligible or not, please consult us prior to financial commitment. Expenses deemed as ineligible will not be covered.

Claims may only be submitted for items listed in the application unless prior permission from the Association is granted for virement of monies to new headings or for new purposes.

Once the award has been made you have 12 months from the date of being advised of the award outcome to claim the initial funding, after that time the award funding will no longer be available.

Payment Schedule

A first payment of £2,000, will be paid at the commencement of the grant with any remainder of the grant up to a maximum of £3,000 to be invoiced by the HEI. The final payment will be made only on acceptance of the end of award report by the Learning and Teaching Committee. In case the Learning and Teaching Committee finds the report unsatisfactory, resubmission will be requested, and funds will be withheld until the report is acceptable.

Should any underspend of the awarded funding occur the residual should be returned to us within six months of the grant end date. Detailed invoices/receipts should be provided at the end of the research project.


1. Are virements between headings allowed?
20% virement is allowed between headings without prior permission from the Association. 
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.


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