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BERA Doctoral Fellowship

In 2023 BERA invites applications for one doctoral fellowship for a student commencing their studies at a UK institution within the 2024/2025 academic year.  The Fellowship will be for up to 3 years whole time equivalent (WTE) and may also be taken up on a part time basis.   


Applicants can choose between applying for funding in either of the following ways: 

  1. Maintenance stipend of £5,000 per year (for part-time students, the annual stipend rate is paid at 50% of the full-time rate up to a total of £15,000 over the course of the programme of study);
  2. University tuition fees: Covered by BERA up to £5,000 per year

You will also receive a yearly concessionary place to the annual BERA Conference with some additional support for travel and/or accommodation and membership of BERA for the duration of the award.  

Eligibility Criteria

  • You must have qualifications/experience equal to the standard of a good honours degree at a first or second class level from a UK academic research organisation, and normally a masters degree. 
  • Degree qualifications gained from outside the UK, or a qualifications and/or experience that is equivalent to a relevant UK degree, may be accepted.
  • You must have been accepted by a UK higher education institution to carry out an EdD or PhD pathway and your application must be supported by your prospective supervisor(s).
  • You must be a fully paid up member of BERA.

In addition to the eligibility criteria above the following residential conditions must also be satisfied: 

  • You must have settled status in the UK, meaning there are no restrictions on how long you can stay;
  • You must have been an ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for three years prior to the start of the fellowship grant. This means you must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences) during this period. 

Assessment criteria

Fellowship applications will need to include a research proposal (1500 -2000 words excluding references) suitable for a Doctoral Research Degree as well evidence of support and commitment from the supervisory team at the hosting Higher Education institution and an outline budget. Applicants should also submit a separate 500-word personal statement outlining their prior knowledge/experience and their interest in the topic area.  Applicants must also complete the form attached below. In assessing the appropriateness of the proposal the following criteria will also be considered:

  • Research quality appropriate to the nature and context of the proposed work;
  • Potential to open up new areas of knowledge;
  • Robust research design based upon rigorous methodology, including research ethics;
  • Potential contribution that the proposed research could make to its field/s;  
  • Clarity of application;
  • Activities, timelines and milestones of the project are realistic and achievable. 
  • Financial viability of the proposed project – evidence that applicants have considered costs.
  • Within the context of education, differences in and comparisons between the jurisdictions of the UK

Dissemination and conditions

As well as the work required by your institution, as a condition of receiving this award you are required to make:

  • A final report submitted to BERA at the conclusion of your studies.
  • At least one BERA Blog summarising your research
  • At least one Research Intelligence Article
  • Attendance at BERA conferences during your study
  • Agreement to be an ‘ambassador’ for the fellowship and promote it beyond your qualification.
  • Successful candidates will be required to make an annual return confirming they are continuing their study and have this endorsed by their supervisor. (This can be a copy of your annual monitoring review). Otherwise funding may be withdrawn.
  • Acknowledgment of BERA’s support in any completed PhD/ EdD thesis and other publications.


Winner 2022 PhD Award

Profile picture of Sarah Clayton
Sarah Clayton, Mrs

PhD Student at University of York

Sarah Clayton trained as a secondary science teacher in 2013, having taught in Coventry, Salford and Telford. She has held a range of middle leadership positions, most recently as curriculum lead for science. She completed her master’s in...

Winner 2019 PhD Award

Profile picture of Sharon Smith
Sharon Smith, Mrs

PhD student at University of Birmingham

Sharon Smith is a final-year PhD student in the School of Education at the University of Birmingham. Her research interests relate to inclusion, education, the role of parents of children/young people with SEND, co-production, critical disability...