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Research Council Students

Routine financial matters concerning Research Training Support Grants, Travel/Conference and Fieldwork funds should be referred to the Accounts Office; queries concerning stipends or other matters should be referred to the Graduate Administrator in the first instance. Many queries about funding can be answered by reference to the terms and conditions issued with your studentship by way of the relevant Handbook (available on MRC, BBSRC and NERC webpages).

Fieldwork and Travel/Conference Allowances

Some studentships come with fieldwork and/or travel/conference support. It is important that you discuss with your supervisor at an early stage how you intend to use this money over the period of your research. The money can either be accumulated over the period of your studentship, or taken on a yearly basis. To submit claims, you should complete an Expenses Claim Form and return it, with receipts, to the Accounts Office.


School of Biological Sciences Fieldwork Fund

PhD students going on UK or overseas fieldwork for at least 8 weeks may apply for a contribution towards their research costs, over and above what would normally be incurred whilst in Cambridge. Please return your completed application form to the departmental graduate administration team (), in advance of your trip.  The decision on your application will be made by the Chair of the Departmental Graduate Education Committee.  Please be aware that funds are capped.  A record of expenditure and receipts (where possible) must be provided on your return.


Departmental Support

The Department is not able to provide substantial support for graduate studies and it is a condition of your acceptance as a graduate student that you and your supervisor are able to fully fund the work necessary for your PhD or MPhil.

We do however have some funds which can provide small amounts of support in particular circumstances. These are:


1. Graduate Student Conference Fund

This fund provides small grants (up to £250) towards attendance at conferences, primarily for those who do not have a research training support grant as part of their award. Applicants are expected to secure partial funding from other sources, and are likely only to make one successful application in the duration of their course (but exceptions do occur). To apply, complete and return the form below to the Graduate Administrator.


2. Hitchcock Fund

Thanks to a bequest from Manfred Witgar Sweetlove Hitchcock, a former Part II student in the Department, the Hitchcock Fund was set up to assist new graduate students who arrive in the Department to start their PhD without research training support. Students who are eligible (i.e. those who are NOT provided with a Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) from a UK Research Council or other funding body) can apply once during their period of study in the Department for a grant of £500. Such a grant could be put towards the purchase of research equipment (including a laptop computer), consumable items or travel, whichever is judged to be most necessary for research. As with other items purchased with Department money, ownership of any equipment would remain with the Department, unless a special request is made to the Head of Department.


3. Trust Funds

The Department has various Trust Funds, which you may be eligible to apply for. Check the Trust Funds pages for more information. 



Many colleges are able to assist graduate students with particular needs, so it is worth checking with them.


Hardship Funding

A University Hardship Fund exists to help students who have shown a high aptitude for research but who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of unexpected changes in their financial circumstances, and who would otherwise be unable to complete their research.

If you feel you would be eligible for this support, and your supervisor/the Department is unable to help, you should consult your college graduate tutor, who may advise you to apply for the Student Registry scheme. More details are available on their website:

Student Registry: Hardship Funding