Conference/Meeting Travel Subsistence

(Conference/Meeting travel subsistence to be selected as category of grant when making the online application). 

Travel funding for undergraduate or postgraduate students may be available, especially where this can be seen to help to give a new or developing career some impetus and when full funding is not otherwise available (in exceptional circumstances support for newly qualified postdoctoral researchers may be available). Conference travel is usually only supported if the traveller intends to give an oral paper at the conference (especially if this represents the results of a forthcoming or recent thesis); the committee will also consider applications from a potential traveller to present a poster paper, but only if there are additional reasons to travel that will advance his/her career.

When are the deadlines?

Applications are assessed twice a year; the deadlines for these grants rounds are 20 February and 20 August each year. A call out will be made to announce when the online application process is open for each round.

How much can be applied for?

Applications should normally be for sums between £250 and £1,000. Evidence of application for matching funding from other sources must be provided, and the majority of grants are awarded on the basis of such funding being available.

RAS Conference/Meeting travel subsistence Rules:
  • With the exception of certain Education and Outreach grant applicants[1], only Fellows may apply for grants.  (Education & Outreach grants are applied for here.)
  • A Fellow will not be allowed to apply on anyone else’s behalf, except in the case of summer student bursaries (where the beneficiary is a named undergraduate).
  • All applications must be to one of the two published deadlines. The only exceptions that may be considered are events which could not have been anticipated, or were not announced, in time for an application at either of the two deadlines (evidence will be required).[2]
  • For conferences, meetings and workshops the RAS normally expects to support at most 50% of a student’s travel, registration and subsistence costs, up to a maximum amount which will specified in published guidelines.
  • Applicants for conference, meeting or workshop attendance must include an abstract of the talk or poster that they have submitted or will submit.
  • Applicants should explicitly indicate how they will consider sustainability in their travel. Virtual attendance at meetings is allowed. Where practical and economically reasonable, applicants are expected to use sustainable forms of transport to attend scientific meetings.
  • Applicants will be expected to append travel agent quotes/printouts of web pages showing flight, accommodation and other relevant costs (e.g. car rental for field trips).
  • Within reason, applicants will be expected to seek out economical options for travel, accommodation and subsistence.
  • Postgraduate student travel will only be funded for events taking place before the date of the viva exam or thesis defence.
  • Normally a student may make one application in support of travel (whether conference or “travelling grant”) during the course of their PhD. In exceptional circumstances a second application may be considered.
  • Applications from academics and postdoctoral researchers/fellows for travel will only be considered in very exceptional circumstances; examples of such circumstances will be given as guidance..
  • The submission of a report on the use of grant money will be mandatory for future eligibility. E&O grants will have specific requirements on evaluating the effectiveness of the activity, e.g. numbers reached and impact.

[1] Where the applicant is not an academic or research staff member or PhD student at a University, and also not FRAS, an application for an E&O grant will be permitted. 
[2] This means that students may find themselves applying before their talk or poster has been accepted at a meeting. Students and supervisors will have to plan accordingly.

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. Applications for partial funding only will be considered.
  • Travel on research projects funded by, or eligible for funding from, research councils.
To apply

Please complete the online application form here.

Conditions of the Awards

Successful applicants should promptly acknowledge receipt of their award and must agree to adhere to the conditions of the awards:

(i) Payment will be made on submission of receipts, or invoices from audited bodies. Invoices from the applicant's institute are the preferred method of payment.

(ii) Payment will not be paid until a short summary (not exceeding 1 A4 page) of the outcome of the grant has been received.  This should be submitted to the Office, Events and Building Manager ( ) on completion of expenditure.

(iii) Any publications arising from the award, whether wholly or in part, should acknowledge RAS support (this includes online publications, such as conference websites). If required, digital versions of the RAS logo are available at


For awards in support of organization of professional meetings/conferences:

(iv) At least half of the sum awarded should be designated for the support of participation by scientists at an early career stage (e.g., postgraduate students).

(v) RAS sponsorship should be clearly indicated where appropriate.

(vi) A copy of any published proceedings should be made available to the RAS library.

If no invoice (or explanation for the delay) is received within a year of the award being made, the award is deemed to have lapsed.

Objectives of the Society

Competitively within each Grants round and the resources available, the Society will consider any applications that advance its charitable objects, namely to ‘advance astronomy and geophysics’: within this broad area nothing is explicitly excluded. However, given the modest scale of the its grants programme, which cannot compete with government funding, the Society wants to make contributions to its sciences that are additional to their normal functioning. It especially seeks applications for grants for purposes that are not usually supported by other organisations or for the benefit of people who are ineligible for grants from well-established sources.