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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


POLIS has established a PhD Fund to be used to award grants to POLIS PhD students on a competitive basis for conferences and fieldwork, subject to the conditions below

POLIS PhD students are welcome to apply to the fund but before you do so please read the terms of the fund outlined below to make sure that you are eligible. Please then complete the relevant application form and return it to the PhD administrator in the Graduate Office either by email ( or UMS/post (Graduate Office, Department of Politics and International Studies, First Floor, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT).

Fieldwork application form
Conference form

Applications for conferences are considered on a rolling basis. Applications for fieldwork are normally considered only after May/June of the first year following successful completion of the first year registration exercise.

Terms of the fund:

  1. The Fund will be used in support of POLIS graduate students registered for the PhD.
  2. During the period of study for the PhD, each student will be able to make an application to the fund for a contribution to the cost of either fieldwork or for a contribution to the cost of attending a conference. How this split is managed is up to students to decide.
  3. Students should look for other possible sources of funding besides the department.
  4. Students can apply to the fund for a contribution to the cost of fieldwork and/or a contribution to attending a conference subject to the conditions below. 


Money will only be paid for conferences when:
  1. the student is presenting a paper (not a poster) and
  2. the student has applied for any available concessionary postgraduate places.
Awards for conference attendance will be up to a maximum of £500 (please see terms). Funding will be conditional on successful registration. The student should bring a completed form with printed quotes or receipts of airfares/hotel bookings. After the conference, students should present receipts, and return anything not spent.


  1. Funding will be conditional on successful registration. The assessor’s reports will be taken into account.
  2. Applications for fieldwork will normally be made in the first year for fieldwork to be undertaken in their second year.
  3. Students can only apply for a contribution to fieldwork costs when return transport costs exceed £500 (please see terms)
  4. The cost of accommodation whilst on fieldwork are ineligible as are per diems
  5. The Fund will not be used for bursaries or scholarships.

PhD student can apply for fieldwork/conference grant funding at anytime of the year. The student should bring a completed form with printed quotes or receipts of airfares/hotel bookings. After the fieldwork, students should present receipts, and return anything not spent.


COVID-19 pandemic

POLIS have agreed to allow PhD students to use their existing £500 departmental funding more flexibly to cover costs incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions. This means the £500 departmental funding available to each PhD in POLIS ordinarily restricted to conference and fieldwork funding can now be claimed for books, work-from-home equipment, etc. PhD students who would like to apply for these funds are required to send a request to the POLIS PhD administrator Hayley Askew at The standard forms should be downloaded in the usual way and returned to Hayley for processing together with copies of the receipts and a redacted bank statement.

Please note that this is not a new, separate source of funding. As such, students who may need this same funding for future conferences or fieldwork should take care when claiming for temporary COVID expenses. The amount available depends on how much of this existing £500 funding each student has left. For instance, a student who has already claimed £250 for fieldwork expenses would have £250 remaining for COVID expenses or future fieldwork/conference funding.

 We have confirmed that these funds are also available to fourth year students.  This funding is separate to the fieldwork fund provided by the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences

*Please note that should your application for funding be successful, you will need to provide a copy of your passport photo page and a redacted bank statement to the PhD Secretary before any funds can be issued.