Top

Further study menu

Funding your research

There is help available from various sources to fund your life as a research student.

Funded postgraduate research positions

Most institutions advertise funded postgraduate research positions on the postgraduate study/research section of their website. These are normally funded as part of a larger project. In Northern Ireland details are available on the Northern Ireland Student Finance website

As with all postgraduate programmes you will need to think about maintenance costs. While there are always hidden costs that are difficult to budget for, there are a number that are more obvious. For those undergoing research in either science or social sciences, attendance at conferences, both at home and abroad, are an important part of developing your profile academically.

How to fund yourself

While most postgraduates support themselves, there are a number of other ways of funding postgraduate study. The following are specific to research students.

Funded postgraduate research positions

Most institutions, in both the Republic and Northern Ireland, advertise funded postgraduate research positions on the Postgraduate Study/Research section of their website. These studentships are funded as part of a larger project awarded to principal investigators within each institution. In Northern Ireland there are two types of full-time research studentship available: Research Studentships and Cast Studentships. You can view full details of these on the postgraduate section of the Department of Employment and Learning website. To be eligible for these awards you must have been a resident in the UK (or, for fees-only awards, elsewhere in the EU) for three years before applying.

Most institutions advertise funded postgraduate research positions on the postgraduate study/research section of their website. These are normally funded as part of a larger project. In Northern Ireland there are two types of awards available.

Studentships and Co-Operative Awards in Science and Technology (CAST) (for research projects at Northern Ireland universities with an industry partner). These awards generally last for three years and cover a maintenance allowance of around £14,553 for research studentships and £7, 277 for taught studentships, as well as fees. Details are available on the postgraduate section of www.delni.gov.uk/index/ further-andhigher-education/ higher-education/studentfinance/ postgrad-finance.htm.

Research councils

The Irish Research Council was established in 2012 to support a healthy research ecosystem in Ireland. The research Council has a clear focus on early stage research careers across science and humanities, as well as promotion of increased opportunities in interdisciplinary research.The Council was established and mandated to:

  • Fund excellent research within, and between, all disciplines, and in doing so to enhance Ireland’s international reputation as a centre for research and learning.
  • Support the education and skills development of excellent individual early stage researchers and cultivate agile independent researchers and thinkers, whilst offering a range of opportunities which support diverse career paths.
  • Enrich the pool of knowledge and expertise available for addressing Ireland’s current and future challenges, whether societal, cultural or economic.

You should visit research.ie if you are considering a research postgrad in the Republic of Ireland. The Research Council also runs two successful employment and enterprise research programmes, read more about them here.

UK Research Councils

Research and Innovation UK is the rebranded umbrella body for the seven research Councils in the UK. Some of the individual research Councils are:

You should approach your prospective academic department to discuss applying to one of the research Councils.

Working within your institution

Many university departments offer postgraduates paid roles as teaching assistants or tutors. However, there is normally a limit on the number of hours you are allocated, so that this work does not adversely affect your own studies.

UCC have a comprehensive PhD funding programme, more details can be found here

Funding from your institution

Many institutions provide bursaries or travel funds to help cover the cost of attending conferences. You will be able to get details from your institution’s Graduate Studies office

Other research schemes

Research schemes are run also by other funding bodies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.ie), Teagasc (Walsh Fellowships) (www.teagasc.ie) and Science Foundation Ireland (www.sfi.ie). Applications are through funded projects, so check with your department or your academic supervisor for more information.