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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Research Student-led Special Project Grants

Please note - this page will soon be updated for the 2020/21 academic year. The information below is for reference only from 2019/20.

Want to set up a conference? Learn to design an app for your research? Hold a writing retreat? Have a collaborative exchange with another School?

The Graduate School has grants of up to £1000 each, available for students wanting to set up and organise special projects for the first time. You can suggest anything you like. Please note that these projects should be open to MSc and PhD students in the School, and we won't normally fund straightforward research, which is covered by other grants.

It is important to note that your special project must be student-initiated, must not already be an established project, and involves a broader community of Edinburgh's School of Social and Political Science students, rather than having an individual focus.

All you need to do to apply is pitch the project in two or three paragraphs. Say what it is, how it will run and what the benefits will be.

We have suggested the following themes to make a start but the floor is open to you for any ideas you have:

  • Conference grants - to set up and run conferences and so on
  • Writing and research retreats - to fund residential events focused around writing and research themes
  • Collaboration and networking - we would especially like to see events with disciplines we do not normally work directly with such as Business Studies and Art and Design. Pecha Kucha and TEDx provide good models for these kinds of idea sharing events.
  • Research and technology training - this could cover any research method or approach, and training for technology skills such as app development, structuring metadata etc.
  • Workshops – to organise and/or run workshops, pay for workshop leaders etc.

If you are interested in applying for this grant please complete this form and send it to and Please ensure you provide a detailed breakdown of costs and attach any evidence of this with your submission. Please note that events awarded funding must take place within the same financial year (August to July) and expenses must be claimed within the same financial year.

How to claim expenses

After the research activity, please follow the guidance in the award confirmation email, complete an Expense Claim Form as instructed in the above email, and hand this in to the Graduate School Office (Room 1.20 CMB) or email to Receipts or other proof that you have incurred the expenditure must be provided, regardless of the price of items. Please see further details on the claim form. Invoices, aeroplane tickets and other tickets that do not include the amount and your name are not acceptable. Email confirmations, print-outs of bank statements (with confidential information blanked out if you wish), and receipts are all acceptable.

The post-activity report form must be submitted to the SPS Graduate School Office with your expenses claim,.

If the Expense Claim Form is completed with bank details, a BACS payment will be made. Please note that payments are not made by the GSO but by the University's Accounts Payable department. You should expect to receive your expenses 2-3 weeks after submitting your Expenses Claim Form.

The Institute of Academic Development (IAD) has a  fund which operates in a similar manner to the SPS student-led project fund, details are available here.

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