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Funding Postgraduate Fieldwork

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 Funding Search. The main sources of fieldwork funding are given below.

On this page:

University fieldwork funding

William Wyse Fund

The Richards Fund


Departmental Funding


Smuts Memorial Fund

Ridgeway-Venn Travel Fund


University fieldwork funding

All PhD students with Leave to Work Away are eligible to apply the University’s fieldwork fund for assistance in meeting fieldwork costs. More information 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 Graduate Administrator.

There are two deadlines per year for University Fieldwork Funding applications. The first deadline is 30 October and the second deadline is 26 May

Guidelines for applicants

  • Students must be given permission to leave Cambridge for fieldwork but not necessarily for a term of ‘Leave to work away’ and this can include the long vacation
  • Students must be within the fee paying period of their course
  • Students may claim for UK or international fieldwork costs, language learning, or visits to other institutions
    Allowable items are research-related costs that exceed those that the student would ordinarily meet if staying in Cambridge e.g. tuition fees payable at another institution; travel costs; research related costs; exceptional living costs
  • Students will be 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 are excluded
  • Students must apply in advance providing details of the proposed fieldwork and a breakdown of the exact costs involved.
  • Students will need to provide proof of expenditure with any unused funds to be returned at the end of the student’s fieldwork.



William Wyse Fund

Grants from the Wyse Fieldwork Fund are allocated on the basis of demonstrated need. It is expected that you will have applied to all other plausible sources (e.g. all students should apply to the University’s fieldwork fund, eligible students must apply to the Smuts Memorial Fund) and, in applying, you need to show that your expected expenses are justified by your research objectives – a well-argued research proposal is essential. You will also need a specific and detailed budget, including details of existing financial support and other grants you have applied for. Further information, including the application deadline is available on the online application system.



The Richards Fund

The Richards Fund provides studentships or grants for graduate students registered for a course of field research in the Division of Social Anthropology. The Division 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 and deadline on The Richards Fund.



Departmental Funding

The Department of Archaeology and 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 Ben Davenport in the Division of Archaeology (bkd20@cam.ac.uk) and must be returned no later than 30 April.



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. Graduate 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 Managers do not provide funding for postgraduate fees or maintenance, whether at Cambridge or elsewhere. Further information about the Smuts Fund can be had from the Administrator to the Managers of the Smuts Memorial Fund, 4 Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RZ.

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. In 2018 preference will be given to students of Anthropology. 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 Division of Social Anthropology, Free School Lane, Cambridge, CB2 3RF, email: graduate-secretary@socanth.cam.ac.uk. The deadline for the next round of awards is: Friday, 16 March, 2018 (applications open 31 January 2018).