British Academy Conferences Scheme 2025-26: guidance notes

British Academy Conferences Scheme 2025-26: Guidance Notes

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Scheme Aims

The British Academy Conferences scheme, with generous support from the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and the Wellcome Trust, presents an opportunity for UK-based scholars to run a pivotal event of lasting significance in their field. Successful conferences will bring together scholars from around the world to present and discuss new research in the humanities and social science, to examine the latest developments in their subject areas and to expand their academic networks. The scheme links directly to an opportunity to publish a volume arising from the conference

Suitable subjects for the scheme include any field of study within the humanities or social sciences. Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary proposals are particularly welcome. British Academy/Wellcome Trust Conferences offer grants for conferences on health and wellbeing related research: encompassing human, animal, or environment themes.

The administration of the scheme and all aspects of the application process, assessment process, and award management are undertaken solely by the Academy. All successful applicants will be clearly informed of the source of the funding when an award has been offered and will be expected to include due acknowledgement when promoting, delivering, and disseminating the results of the conference supported by this scheme.

Awards Scope

The Academy expects to fund up to 18 conferences each year. The Academy will host a maximum of three conferences at its own premises in London, alongside offering awards for conferences to be held at other UK venues or online. In some instances where the proposer has indicated that the British Academy would be their preferred venue, the Academy may instead offer funds to enable a conference to be held elsewhere.

For conferences that are hosted by the Academy, the Academy will: handle the administration and delivery of the event (including venue hire, catering, ticketing and registration), technical facilitation (including set-up and delivery), financial transactions (including speaker travel and accommodation).

Level of Award

Up to £20,000 per conference is available for British Academy/DSIT conferences. For conferences under the British Academy/Wellcome Trust scheme, the upper limit of awards is £30,000. Many awards will be made at a lower level, with sums in the region of £8,000-£15,000 likely. The awarding committee will aim to offer sums to make viable each conference that it selects for support, but in some instances, it may offer less than was sought.


Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Applicants who submit a proposal as the ‘principal proposer/convenor’ must be postdoctoral scholars, or individuals at an equivalent level without a doctorate, in the fields of the humanities and social sciences. (Additional convenors can be listed on the proposal form). Postgraduate students are not eligible to apply.
  • Applicants must be residents in the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands (that is, classed as ‘ordinarily resident’ for tax purposes).
  • Applications require the approval of the applicant's employing institution.
  • Applications may be made by independent scholars and retired scholars.
  • Conferences must take place between 1 April 2025 and 31 March 2026.
  • Proposals should be for conferences that will take place over one to two days at a venue in the UK, or up to three days if online-only. Convenors should indicate their preferred choice of venue in their proposal.
  • Proposals should be for conferences which disseminate new research in the humanities and social sciences. Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary proposals are particularly welcome, as are proposals that show the connection between our disciplines and the natural sciences.
  • Proposals must be open events. Requests for closed or invitation-only conferences will not be considered.

Current and former British Academy award holders are welcome to apply to this scheme. The Academy will accept applications from those who have applied before (regardless of whether they were successful or unsuccessful). A fresh proposal must be prepared each time. Please note that the strand of British Academy/Wellcome Trust conferences is not open to those who:

  • Hold a research grant from the tobacco industry either currently or in the past.
  • Are applying for funding from the tobacco industry.
  • Are employed on a research grant from the tobacco industry.

Scheme Timetable

  • Scheme opens: 22 November 2023
  • Final deadline for submissions: 24 January 2024, 17:00 GMT
  • Assessment of proposals: February – April 2024
  • Selection of conferences: May 2024
  • Principal proposers notified: June – July 2024

Eligible Costs

Funds may be sought to cover the following conference costs:

  • Venue hire to host the conference.
  • Accommodation for up to 16 speakers, including conference convenors and chairs for a two-day conference (or 8 speakers, including conference convenors and chairs for a one-day conference).
  • Economy travel costs for up to 16 speakers, including conference convenors and chairs for a two-day conference (or 8 speakers, including conference convenors and chairs for a one-day conference). The Academy does not cover business or first-class travel, or the use of taxis, other than in exceptional cases (such as certified medical need) and with prior agreement.
  • AV services and technical assistance on the days of the conference, including filming and streaming of the event.
  • Catering on the days of the conference: coffee breaks and a lunch break per day for all delegates (including speakers). The Academy will also consider requests for either a conference reception for attendees OR a reception/conference dinner for convenors, speakers and chairs, provided this is included in the overall conference budget.
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) adjustments: requests to reduce barriers and improve accessibility, such as:
    • Provision of live subtitling.
    • British Sign Language interpretation.
    • Large-print programmes.
    • Translation (conferences should be presented in English).
    • Childcare or other family care costs for convenors and speakers on the days of the conference.

Please refer to Table 1 in the Appendix of the Conference Guidance for ineligible costs (applicants registered with special needs may consult the Academy about possible exceptions).

Convenor Role

If your proposal is successful, you will be the lead academic convenor of the conference. You will:

  • Provide the academic theme of the conference. Subjects that address topical issues or contribute to public policy debates are particularly welcome.
  • We are particularly interested to hear if your conference links to any of the British Academy policy themes. For more information on these, visit policy themes overview.
  • Select and approach speakers and chairs. The British Academy is committed to staging events which involve a diverse community of scholars across the humanities and social sciences. We view diversity in the broadest sense – including age, career stage, institutional affiliation, ethnicity and gender. Convenors should bear this in mind when putting together their proposal.
  • Handle the administration of the conference: including booking the venue, AV services and catering, arranging travel and accommodation, liaising with speakers, ticketing and registration, responding to enquiries from delegates, completing risk assessments, handling the logistics on the days of the conference, etc.
  • Ensuring the conference is open and accessible to the widest possible audience, taking into account of any access requirements.
  • Write the marketing text for the conference.
  • Devise the programme, using an Academy template as a format.
  • Work with British Academy staff to identify the best channels to market the conference. After the conference, follow the Academy’s instructions to secure feedback and evaluate the success of the event.
  • Aim to put together a proposal for a themed collection of papers arising from the conference to be published in the Proceedings of the British Academy series and, where approved, act as editor to steer the collection towards publication.

Publication by the British Academy

While recognising that the criteria for a successful conference and for a good publication are not identical, the British Academy attaches considerable importance to formal dissemination to wider scholarly and other expert readerships.

There is a presumption that the convenors of those events that are adopted into the programme of British Academy Conferences will aspire to publish an edited collection of papers arising from the conference, and it is expected that a proposal will be submitted for such a collection to be published as a volume in the Proceedings of the British Academy series.

Nominated Referee

Applicants are required to nominate one referee and to ensure that the supporting statement from their chosen referee is submitted on the British Academy Flexi-Grant® Grant Management System (GMS) by the application submission deadline. We strongly advise that you complete your application as early as possible to allow your referee enough time to provide their reference in the system. The reference must be received before you to submit the application for approval by your employing organisation ahead of the final deadline of 24 January 2024, 17:00 GMT.

Your referee must be from outside your own employing institution and from outside the employing institution of your co-proposer(s), if any. They must also not be directly involved with any aspect of the conference, for example as a speaker or a chair. References from scholars based outside the UK are acceptable. Please note that references must be provided through the Flexi-Grant® system. They cannot be provided as an email attachment or sent by post in hard copy. Any references received after the deadline, or outside of the system, or by another academic at the same institution as you or a co-applicant(s) will not be accepted, and your application will be withdrawn.

Code of Practice

The Academy has a Code of Practice for assessing funding applications, setting out the principles of equity, integrity and confidentiality governing the treatment of all applications for support. The Code of Practice also covers Data Protection, the Academy’s ethics policy and the appeals procedure. The Code of Practice may be viewed on the Academy’s website.

Feedback is not a feature of the British Academy Conferences scheme, and the Academy is regrettably unable to enter into correspondence regarding the decisions of the awarding Committee, which are governed by the Code of Practice. Please note that by applying, applicants undertake to accept the terms under which applications are assessed.

Application Information

Applications can only be submitted online using the British Academy Flexi-Grant® Grant Management System (GMS). Applications cannot be submitted on paper or in any other medium. Approving organisations will be available in the search bar. If your organisation is not listed and is not affiliated with any organisations already in the system, then please contact us at [email protected] to request the addition of the organisation.

Applicants should be aware that this application form will be considered by appropriate assessors who will be subject specialists. Applications considered for funding will be submitted to the Publications and Conferences Committee who will make a final decision on the awards. The application will be treated as confidential at all times.

When completing your application, please take note of the following:

  • Personal details: When registered in the British Academy Flexi-Grant® GMS, a user has the option to add or update personal information such as contact details, log-in details (including email address and password), interests, research and employment details, at any time. This does not form part of the specific application form for any individual scheme but represents a personal record of your account in the system. Please keep this information up to date.
  • Automatic log-out: You are strongly advised to save your work regularly to prevent accidental loss of text. The Flexi-Grant website will automatically log people out if no activity is detected. It is recommended that you should work offline in a separate Word document and paste the text online once complete.
  • Multiple sessions: Do not have multiple browser windows/tabs of your application open at the same time as this may cause information to be lost.
  • Word limits: If you exceed the word limit, you will not be able to save the page on which you are working. Word limits apply to plain text only. Page limits apply to PDFs only.
  • Plain text: If entering plain text, please avoid using symbols as some may not be accepted by Flexi-Grant: This includes the following symbols: < >
  • PDF documents: When uploading PDF documents, please add your name and a heading at the top of every page to show what the document is. Please avoid uploading documents containing illustrations with fine details or colour as this can cause problems when creating a PDF of the application. Each PDF cannot exceed 3 Mb in size.
  • Email addresses: It is essential that you ensure all email addresses given are up to date and actively monitored.
  • Submission: You will not be able to submit your application until you have completed each section in full. You should submit your application for approval by your host organisation at least five working days before the closing date. You should check whether your institution has its own internal deadlines. We strongly advise that you contact your referee as early as possible to avoid any last-minute issues.
  • Application deletion: You can delete your application at any time. We will be able to recover a deleted application for a period of seven days after deletion. After this, it will be permanently removed from the system.
  • Application returned for editing: The organisation approver can return your application to you for further editing, but the original deadline remains in place.
  • PDF version of your application: It is essential that you create a PDF of your completed application (by clicking ‘Print Application’) and check it thoroughly before submitting it for approval by your host organisation. It may not be possible to rectify any mistakes after this in time for the deadline.

Application Submission

Once you have submitted your application for approval by your host organisation, automatic emails will be sent to your host organisation approver asking them to log on to the system. The host organisation approver will either:

  1. approve and submit your application, or
  2. ‘send back’ your application and contact you to request modifications or
  3. decline your application and contact you.

If your host organisation approver requests modifications through the British Academy Flexi-Grant® GMS email facility, they can unlock your application, allowing you to edit it. They can do this by selecting ‘Return to Applicant’. An automatic email will be sent to you alerting you of this fact. Once you have completed and saved the requested changes, please re-submit your application for approval by your host organisation. Once your host organisation has approved and submitted your application it will not be possible to make any changes.

Outcome of Application

Once your application has been submitted, complete with the reference, and it has been approved by your institution, you will not be contacted again by the British Academy until the decisions have been made, likely in June–July 2024. You can track the progress of your application by logging in again to the Flexi-Grant system at any time. Results are issued by email.

Contact Details

Applicants in any doubt about their eligibility or any other aspect of their application are advised to contact the events team at the Academy, where staff will be pleased to assist.

The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH

020 7969 5264 / [email protected]

Table 1: Items eligible for funding from British Academy Conferences

Item Eligibility
Venue hire to host the conference Yes
AV services and technical assistance on the days of the conference, including filming and streaming and editing of the conference during and after the event. Yes
Catering on the days of the conference: coffee breaks and a lunch break per day for all delegates (including speakers). Yes
A drinks reception for speakers and attendees or a reception/conference dinner for speakers only) Yes
Staffing costs for stewarding from an external company to ensure safe delivery of the event. (Convenors are encouraged to deliver the events safely themselves using their co-convenors and students at their host institution. For expected large numbers of attendees, external stewarding support should be considered) Yes
Accommodation for up to 16 speakers, conference convenors and chairs for a two-day conference (or 8 speakers for a one-day conference) (For a two-day conference the Academy suggests 1 night for UK-based speakers, 2 nights for Europe-based speakers and 3 nights for speakers based outside of Europe) Yes
Economy travel costs for up to 16 speakers, conference convenors and chairs for a two-day conference (or 8 speakers, for a one-day conference). Yes
Business or first-class travel, or the use of taxis (only considered in cases of certified medical need) Yes
Speaker visa costs and travel insurance Yes
Convenor/speaker fees and/or maintenance away from home. This includes keynote speaker fees. No
Medical testing for travel relating to COVID-19 (e.g. lateral flow or PCR tests) Yes
Marketing / Promotion
Advertising costs to promote the conference (the British Academy will help promote conferences and will therefore not issue funds for marketing to proposers) (The Academy encourages all convenors and speakers to share information about the conference to their networks.) No
Conference Planning
Consultancy or salary costs of staff or students to assist with the conference planning and delivery No
Research assistance No
Payment to the principal / co-researcher(s) in lieu of salary, or for personal maintenance at home No
Replacement teaching costs No
Costs associated with the organisation of workshops to advance the research No
Consumables (i.e., purchase of datasets, photocopies, microfilms, etc., and any other minor items that will be used up during the course of the project) Yes
The costs of preparing illustrations, including photography, acquisition of images, draughtsmanship and cartography or other bespoke illustrative material for presentations No
Costs of reproduction rights for text or images during the conference (e.g. copyright permission for image to be live streamed) (Please estimate the cost in your application) Yes
Computer hardware, including laptops, electronic notebooks, digital cameras etc. No
Specialist software (not covered by AV requirements) No
Permanent resources and equipment or any elements that should properly be ascribed to departmental or university overheads No
Institutional overheads No
Creation / commissioning of artwork / illustration linked to the conference theme to help disseminate research to a wider, more public audience. (We are open to considering opportunities to share the findings/research with wider public audiences outside of live streaming or publication. We will need to approve any requests on a case-by-case basis but please indicate in your application if you would hope to have this included, along with approximate costs. Potentially
Childcare or other family care costs, where these are necessary. Please provide details Yes
Other EDI adjustments as required (BSL interpretation, translation etc.) Yes
Bursaries for conference attendees (including students and ECRs) (Bursaries will not be paid for attendees but convenors should consider offering free or discounted tickets to those who may struggle to afford to attend – for example undergraduates or Early Career Researchers) No

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