Trust Funds

The Department of Biology has a number of trust funds which provide support to undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, research fellows and academic staff from within and outside Oxford University. Listed below are details of the funds available
and who is eligible to apply for them. For further information contact the Trust Funds Administrator at:

Below are details of the trust funds managed by the Department.

Undergraduate and graduate funding opportunities

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Bursaries of up to £500 are available from the David Kirby Memorial Fund, and a bursary of up to £600 is available from the Marianne North Exploration Grant.                           

The David Kirby Memorial Fund is restricted to undergraduates studying Biological Sciences or Human Sciences, with a preference for projects in the field of reproduction although all areas of biology will be considered. These bursaries shall be awarded to assist undergraduates undertaking research carried out during a vacation or during their 4th year project (MBiol) in collaboration with, or supervised by, a member of the University.

The Marianne North Exploration Grant is restricted to undergraduates studying Biological Sciences. This bursary will be awarded to assist undergraduates undertaking fieldwork-based research overseas or in the UK carried out during a vacation or during their 4th year project (MBiol). All research must be undertaken in collaboration with, or supervised by, a member of the University.

For further information on how to apply: please contact Lynne Bradley at

These two funds are available to students studying biological sciences at Oxford University to enable them to: pursue their studies outside Oxford, attend conferences and broaden their professional experience. Suitable projects might include student-run expeditions or field work that will form part of an assessed research project. Priority will be given to: those whose studies relate to agriculture, forestry or some other use of rural land use; and to undergraduates (although graduate students may also be considered). In the past a low priority has been given to applications from students participating in “volunteer conservation vacations” that charge large fees to participants.

For further information about this fund, please email:

The Eurofins Fund will support research and educational projects and initiatives undertaken by undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Departments of Zoology and Plant Sciences. Such projects could include, but not be limited to, fieldwork, support for writing up costs, support for students experiencing financial hardship and other extracurricular activities deemed of academic value by the administration committee. 

Graduate students should (a) indicate if they are funded through a DTP/DTC graduate programme or an external research grant, (b) explain why current funding cannot support the application, and (c) ask their supervisor (or Principal Investigator of a grant) to send an email to to confirm support for the application.  

Undergraduate students should ask their college tutor or supervisor to email to confirm support for the application.  

To apply, please email your application (one A4 page maximum) with a full break down of costs to Lynne Bradley at ​​ All applications will be acknowledged on receipt.  

Awards are unlikely to exceed £1,000. Deadline for submitting applications is Monday, 20 June 2022.

This Fellowship is open to graduate students, postdocs and research fellows from within and outside Oxford University. Applications are judged on their practicality and potential to make a contribution to insect ecology. Up to £2500 is available.

For details on how to apply please email the Secretary to the Board of Management at:

Reports by previous Varley Gradwell Fellows.

This Fund supports research on the developmental biology of invertebrates or vertebrates. Applicants must be researchers within the Department of Biology (graduate students, postdocs, research fellows and academic staff). Grants are usually less than £2,000 although some larger applications are occasionally considered.   

The subject of developmental biology is interpreted broadly to include embryology, life history evolution, tissue regeneration and development of behaviour. Examples of recent grants awarded include: 

  • Ageing in fruit flies  
  • Deciphering the planarian stem cell regulome 
  • Regulation of spinal cord stem cell specification in lamprey 
  • Sound-producing muscles in Hemiptera 

Elizabeth Hannah Jenkinson Research Fund - list of publications

For further information please contact:

The Boise Trust Fund was established by Charles Watson Boise to support research on the antiquity and evolutionary origin modern Homo sapiens and other hominins, with particular emphasis on the continued exploration of appropriate sites in Africa, and on the early migration of Palaeolithic communities.  Applications are open to Oxford University-based researchers and graduate students. 

For details on how to apply contact: (Secretary to the Boise Trust Fund).  

End of award report 2014
End of award report 2013

One full time scholarship is available starting in the academic year beginning October 2021 for applicants wishing to undertake research that will contribute to an increase in crop yields. The Radford Scholarship has been funded through the generosity of Henry and Mandy Marriott, and the recipient will be registered for a DPhil in Plant Sciences. The scholarship covers course fees at the home student rate and living costs at the standard rate for RCUK students for up to four years.

The Radford scholarship is offered in association with Worcester College. All eligible candidates applying for entry to the DPhil in Plant Sciences programme will be considered for this scholarship, regardless of which college (if any) is stated as a preference on the graduate application form. However, the successful applicant will be required to transfer to Worcester College to take up the award.

The application deadline for consideration for the Radford Scholarship is 22 January 2021 and selection of the successful candidate is expected by the end of March 2021. 

Candidates interested in being considered for the Radford Scholarship are strongly encouraged to contact a relevant potential supervisor to discuss the details of a project and other aspects of their application. Representative projects that would be appropriate for this scholarship are listed below, but applicants are urged to look at the full range of research activities in the Department.

Potential projects include:

  • Developing CHLORAD (“chloroplast-associated protein degradation”) as a technology for delivering increased yields in crops (Supervisor: Prof Paul Jarvis)
  • Engineering enhanced photosynthesis for a secure and sustainable future (Supervisor: Prof Steven Kelly)
  • Born from the deluge: optimizing the contribution of oxygen sensing to anaerobic germination in cereals (Supervisor: Prof Francesco Licausi)
  • Building novel disease resistance genes against potato late blight through decoy engineering (Supervisor: Prof Renier van der Hoorn)

Research Fellows play a key role within the Department and make up approximately 40% of our academic staff. We have a seven point Fellowship Development Programme to support prospective applicants. If you are interested in joining our Department please contact either the PI that works in your area of interest, or the Heads of Department.

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A number of UK and International schemes provide funding for early career researchers with excellent track records to achieve independence:- 

There are also various Fellowship Schemes which bridge the gap between post-doctoral and Fellowships. For example, Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Research Fellowships, EU Marie Curie Incoming International Fellowships, EU Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowships, HFSP Fellowships, Royal Society Newton Fellowships, JSPS Fellowships, Royal Commission of 1851 Fellowships and Daphne Jackson Fellowships. There are also several Junior Research Fellowships (JRF) advertised by Oxford colleges.

We will advise and support applications for Fellowships from internal and external candidates, and many staff have moved from positions such as post-doctoral positions within our Department to independent Fellowships. In all cases, it is necessary for the research plans to synergize with the strategic directions of the Department. We hold an annual ‘Fellowship Workshop’ to demystify the process of applying for Fellowships, explaining the various ways in which we can help (see below) and the relationship between Fellowships and career paths in science. Please engage in discussion with the PI and/or the Head of the Department. 

Writing a Fellowship application can be a daunting process, but we can help. Our academic staff have considerable expertise in writing and assessing applications and can help support you at all stages of preparing an application. Examples of previous Fellowship applications can also be provided.

In many schemes, an interview is the final step in the Fellowship application process. We provide mock interview practice and have found that this has a positive impact on success rates. 

Fellows are assigned a mentor who provides support and advice. The aim of the mentoring system is to: (i) aid the progression to an independent researcher and group leader; (ii) identify ways in which the Department can best support and help you; (iii) facilitate progression to either another Fellowship or permanent position.

The Department of Biology is dedicated to upholding and developing good employment practice for women working in science, and has held an Athena Swan Award since 2010, for its initiatives in this area.

Once you have obtained a Fellowship, the Department can provide a wealth of support and advice to assist you in maximizing the success of your Fellowship research. 

  • Grants - Various Fellowship schemes allow you to apply for additional research funding. Advice and information can be provided for external funding applications.
  • Additional Funding Support - Oxford has a diverse range of internal funding schemes to support research, e.g. from pilot projects.
  • Graduate Students - Fellows holding Fellowships of at least three years duration are actively encouraged to supervise DPhil (=PhD) students from their first year. 
  • Recognition - We actively nominate researchers for national and international awards, such as Zoological Society of London Scientific Medal, Michael Faraday Prize, and L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Awards. 

Research Fellowships provide an amazing opportunity for independent research. However, they only provide funding for a certain number of years. We provide support and advise how to take your career to the next level.