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BERA Brian Simon Fund

BERA issued a call for applications for a new grants scheme supported by use of the Brian Simon fellowship fund.

These grants are made possible due to a gift from the family of Brian Simon, a leading post-war educationalist and former BERA President. The fund is held in trust by BERA and we have chosen to release funds for these four projects to be published in our 50th anniversary year. 

In the spirit of Brian Simon, we wish to see the funds support projects which are independent, imaginative, scholarly and dedicated to educational advance. The projects are expected to support research which should be useful, radical and interdisciplinary and should inform society about core educational issues. For this round we have selected two topics that are timely as well as fitting Brian Simon’s own research interests –

  • Education and Democracy and/or
  • History of Education

Please be specific under which heading you are applying. 

The value of each individual award is up to £5,000 and there is funding for up to four projects. Ideally we will award two grants to each theme but that will depend upon the quality of applications.

The key output of each project will be a final report of between 2,000-3,000 words to be published by BERA. Recipients of the funding would also be expected to write at least one BERA Blog on the subject of their research and are strongly encouraged to submit their work to present at the BERA Conference in 2024.

Criteria for assessment

Proposals should be submitted on a proforma (see below) and each proposal will be judged as to how well the aims and objectives of the proposed research address the priority theme and are rigorous in their approach. Applications will be scored in the first instance by BERA’s College of Reviewers and assessed as to:

  • Originality, potential contribution to knowledge and the extent that the proposed project demonstrates innovation potential
  • Quality of research design and methods including the soundness of the concept, and credibility of the proposed methodology
  • Relevance to the theme chosen by BERA
  • Significance of outputs, dissemination and impact – the extent to which the outputs of the project would contribute to each of the expected impacts mentioned
  • Value for money – both the direct costs and the potential to bring in other resources through collaboration

BERA reserves the right not to award a grant if insufficient quality proposals are submitted. All applicants must be a current individual member of BERA and where possible, teams of researchers should include an early career researcher. This award will be judged in the first instance by the BERA College of Reviewers, with members of BERA Council making the final decision. In line with our wider discussions on equality and diversity, the ethnicity, gender and institutional affiliation of all applications will be collected and monitored.

One project will be ringfenced specifically for a proposal with an Early Career Researcher as the project lead.


  • Monday 17th April 2023 – deadline for submissions
  • May 2023 – final awards made and research to commence
  • March 2024 – final report submitted to BERA


The specific approach and methodology will be for each project to agree for itself at the point of application. We expect there to be tangible outcome of each proposal.


BERA would like these projects to help the discipline, potentially working alongside practitioners and policymakers, to contribute to and lead current debates. It should be noted that we wish to encourage the development of research capacity through involving postgraduate students and early career researchers.

 Research Ethics

The host organisation is responsible for ensuring that ethical issues relating to the research project are identified and brought to the attention of the relevant approval or regulatory body. Approval to undertake the research must be granted before any work requiring approval begins. Ethical issues should be interpreted broadly and may encompass, among other things, relevant codes of practice, the involvement of human participants, tissue or data in research, the use of animals, research that may result in damage to the environment and the use of sensitive economic, social or personal data. The BERA Ethical Guidelines can be found at:

 How to apply

Please download the application form below, complete, and submit through the BERA website by 12pm on Monday 17th April 2023. Applications should be submitted via the link on the top left hand side of this page.

The primary applicant must be a BERA member.