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Department of Social Anthropology


Elizabeth Turk - A Shaman Initiate, Ulaanbaatar


Financial support for fieldwork is available from a number of sources, both outside and within the University. All funds are competitive and require application with the support of your supervisor. A comprehensive list of the various funds to which you may apply can be found using the Cambridge Student Funding Search. The main sources of fieldwork funding are given below.

On this page:

  • School of the Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) fieldwork fund (formerly known as the University Fieldwork Fund UFF)

  • William Wyse Fieldwork Fund

  • The Richards Fund
Departmental Funding
Smuts Memorial Fund
  • Ridgeway-Venn Travel Fund
  • Non University Funding


School of the Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) fieldwork fund

All PhD students with Leave to Work Away are eligible to apply to the SHSS Fieldwork fund for assistance in meeting fieldwork costs. If you need assistance completing the form, email

Additional information about the Fund can be found on the University website in the Work Away from Cambridge section.

Students should apply for this funding by completing the University Fieldwork Funding application form and returning it to the Postgraduate Administrator.

The first deadline is 19th May for those students who have submitted their fieldwork proposals and are scheduled to have their fieldwork clearance interview in early June. Students whose clearance interview has been delayed should submit their form immediately prior to their clearance interview.

Guidelines for applicants

  • Students must be within the fee-paying period of their course (i.e. in the first three years of the PhD)

What you can apply for

Funding is only provided for fieldwork research-related costs that exceed those students would ordinarily incur if staying in Cambridge e.g. travel costs, equipment hire, accommodation, preventative medication and exceptional living costs.  Reasonable internet costs are also allowed, as maintaining contact with students in the field is essential. You may also claim for assistance with rent costs if you are obliged to pay rent to maintain accommodation in Cambridge.

Additional claims (with the support of your supervisor) can be made for language learning and ancillaries – you are permitted to apply for the costs of employing fieldworkers to assist with data collection and to act as translators, but not to cover the costs of assistance with data entry or transcription.

All travel and accommodation costs should be by the most economic means.


You should not apply for basic food and subsistence included in normal living costs, vehicle purchase (unless it is more cost effective to buy a car than hire one for the duration of the fieldwork), conference attendance, stationery costs, medical treatment and laptops, external hard drives or equipment purchase purchase (unless there is a need for specific equipment tailored to your fieldwork, such as protective clothing and the cost of this is not covered by other means).

Completing your application

  • Students are required to state their source of funding and should approach their sponsors in the first instance to apply for research costs. Students with sponsorship that includes adequate resources for fieldwork expenses should not apply for the Fund
  • Students must apply in advance providing details of the proposed fieldwork and a breakdown of the exact costs involved (not just those claimed for).

Receipts must be kept for all expenses incurred and the full amount awarded must be accounted for or the balance returned. Any unspent money should be returned along with the receipts within a month of your return to Cambridge.  


William Wyse Fieldwork Fund

Applications are invited from research students working towards a Ph.D. Degree under the supervision of the Department of Social Anthropology, Cambridge for grants towards fieldwork expenses.  Please find further information on the fund, including how to apply, at William Wyse Funding or contact the Postgraduate Administrator for Social Anthropology, ( The closing dates for applications are 10th October and 19th May annually. 


The Richards Fund

The Richards Fund provides studentships or grants for graduate students registered for a course of field research in the Department of Social Anthropology. The Department interprets this to be for PhD students (whether their first year of training was pre-field training or the MRes) embarking on field research in their second year of study. Please find more information on the application process on The Richards Fund. The next deadline is 11 March.


Departmental Funding

The Department of Social Anthropology administers three funds that support research, including field research, in particular regions:

  • The Evans Fund for South East Asia. Closing date for The Evans Fund is as advertised on The Evans Fund.
  • The Frederick Williamson Memorial Fund for the Himalayan region (information and applications to the Secretary of the Williamson Fund Managers, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3DZ). Closing date for Williamson Fund: 15 March annually.
  • The Anthony Wilkin Fund is devoted to the encouragement of research in ethnology and archaeology, preferably by fieldwork among less developed societies, and in lands other than Greece, Italy, or Egypt. Preference is given to candidates for the Studentship who have obtained honours in the Archaeological and Anthropological Tripos or have received the MPhil in Social Anthropology, in Biological Anthropology, or in Archaeology, and are not of standing to become Masters of Arts. Awards are normally made only to cover research expenses, not for student maintenance or fees. Application forms available from Anna O'Mahoney in the Department of Archaeology ( and must be returned no later than 30 May.


Smuts Memorial Fund

The Smuts Memorial Fund provides grants for PhD students at Cambridge in support of fieldwork on Commonwealth issues. These grants usually take the form of assistance towards the costs of travel, fieldwork or audio-visual fieldwork equipment. Postgraduate students can apply for one grant during their period of stay. Applications are considered by a Sub-Committee of the Managers which meets termly to recommend awards to the Managers. The Smuts Managers consider applications for research grants termly with the deadline for applications being 1st October, 1st January and 1st March. The maximum amount available for student applications is £1000.

Further information about the Smuts Fund can be had from the Administrator to the Managers of the Smuts Memorial Fund, c/o International Student Office, Student Services Centre, New Museums Site, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3PT.


The Ridgeway-Venn Travel Fund

The Ridgeway-Venn Travel Fund provides travel studentships to help current students of Anthropology or Archaeology advance knowledge in their subjects. Preference is given in alternate years to students of Anthropology and students of Archaeology. 

Archaeology March 2023
Social Anthropology March 2024
Archaeology March 2025
Social Anthropology March 2026

Applicants should write to the Fund with brief details of their proposed project, including dates of travel, a short description of the nature and purpose of the research project (usually no more than one A4 page) and an itemised estimated budget. The application should be submitted by the student's supervisor to: The Ridgeway Venn Travel Fund, c/o Department of Social Anthropology, Free School Lane, Cambridge, CB2 3RF, email: The deadline for the next round of awards is: 11 March (applications open 31 January).


Non University Funding

Emslie Horniman Anthropological Scholarship Fund (The Royal Anthropological Institute)

The Emslie Horniman Fund was established in 1944 to 'promote the study of the growth of civilisations, habits and customs, religious and physical characteristics of the non-European peoples and of prehistoric and non-industrial man in Europe'. The Fund is for UK, Irish or Commonwealth nationals for research that will contribute to the award of an MPhil/PhD degree. The major aim of the Fund is to encourage postgraduates to pursue fieldwork, awards are usually in the range of £500 to £7,000,The closing date for applications is 31 March each year. Further information can be found here.