Criteria for grants

This page explains the criteria and categories for the RAS small grants scheme  Only Fellows may apply for grants. It is not possible for a Fellow to apply on anyone else's behalf, except in the case of summer undergraduate bursaries.

The deadlines are February 20 and August 20 with applications being reviewed shortly after these dates.  A call out will be made announcing when the online application process will be open for each round.

Categories of grant

(to be selected when making the online application):

  • Activities related to the history of Astronomy or Geophysics
  • Conference/Meeting Travel Subsistence
  • Funding for Meeting Organising
  • Instrumentation - RAS Tomkins awards
  • Observing/Field Trips - E.A. Milne Travelling Fellowship
  • Study or Research Projects
  • Undergraduate Summer Bursaries (undergraduates wishing to complete a summer research project of six to ten weeks duration) - applications only accepted in the February round for these bursaries
  • Other - please specify

The RAS grants panel reserve the right to change the category of grant awarded in order to place awards in the most effective scheme.  The RAS has limited funds for grants and these funds come under more pressure as other funding sources diminish.

RAS Grant 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 be 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.
  • For “travelling grant” applications from the E. A. Milne Fund (supporting student research visits, field-trips or trips to observing facilities that cannot be paid by the facility’s own funding scheme) the RAS normally expects to contribute at most 50% of the costs, up to a maximum as specified by the published Fund guidelines.
  • 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.
  • Only prospective supervisors who are FRAS may apply for summer student bursaries. Each prospective supervisor may submit only one bursary application, the student must be named on the application, and a statement from the student must be included.
  • The submission of a report on the use of grant money is a requirement for payment and 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.

How to Apply

Full details and forms are available on the applying for a grant page.