How to get research council grant funding for postgraduate study

Finding funding is often the biggest headache when you're applying for a masters, graduate diploma or PhD. If you haven't got the cash to fund your studies yourself, investigating grants and awards offered by the research councils is a good place to start.

The UK's seven research councils are government-funded agencies supporting research in different disciplines. These bodies also represent the most important sources of funding for postgraduate students in the UK. This makes research council funding very competitive.

Tips on getting research council funding for your postgraduate course

Most research council funding is channelled through universities rather than individual students, so you'll need to contact the university you want to study at to get advice on which funding sources might be relevant. Course leaders and tutors are likely to keep up to date with niche funding opportunities and partnership opportunities (for example between companies and universities) so keep in touch with anyone who could open doors to funding.

It is easier to get funding in science and engineering disciplines than in the arts and social sciences. It's always worth applying early to maximise your chances: research council websites will include application deadlines, so plan ahead carefully.

Find research council funding for postgraduate and postdoctoral study