How to Apply for Research Funding at Oxford

Blue banner with "apply for research funding" written in the middle

The Faculty of Law welcomes enquiries from all legal researchers interested in applying for funding through the University of Oxford. The faculty’s team of research facilitators can support high-quality applications, whether you’re an internal or external candidate, an early career researcher or established professor.

The majority of funding for research in the faculty is provided by external sources, though  small activities can be funded internally. Applications for longer term (1 year+) research activities will generally need to be funded by external grants, though there are also smaller internal funding schemes that may be useful.

Main types of research grant

Fellowships – fixed-term grants for individuals to conduct independent research as an employee at Oxford.

Projects – funding for a small team of researchers led by a Principal Investigator (PI). Usually for multi-year projects with phased activities.

Events – grants for organising academic workshops and conferences, or public engagement events.

Research grant aims

Some research grants have specific aims, such as:

Early Career – the definition of an early-career scholar differs between funders, but typically such schemes focus on funding researchers moving on from their doctorate and seeking to establish themselves in academia.

Collaboration – grants specifically designed to build research collaboration across different institutions, either nationally or internationally.

Impact / Knowledge Exchange / Public Engagement – schemes to make difference beyond academia, promote mutual exchange between academia and industry, or the dissemination of academic research.

Capacity Building – This could be defined as building the skills and experience of individual researchers or building research capacity institutionally or nationally.

Career Development – some fellowships can be aimed at career development specifically, while project grants can include the aim of career development for junior researchers employed on the project.

Seed Funding – small grants to kick-start research projects or collaborations, in the hope they lead to bigger things.

Small Grants – there are numerous small grants available for a variety of research activities. Internal opportunities are available from the Faculty website and external grants via Research Professional.

Each funding scheme has its own rules, eligibility criteria, duration, and award amount, depending on the funder and the purpose behind the grant. Many early career grants require applicants to have an institutional mentor, who will support the application and provide mentoring should it be funded. It is important to read the guidance notes which accompany all funding schemes to check these details before starting an application.

Types of funders

There are many different bodies who provide research funding. Below are a few of the common funders that you could apply to through the Faculty of Law.

UK Research and Innovation

- Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

- Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Government Departments


- Independent Social Research Foundation

- Leverhulme Trust

- Nuffield Foundation

- Wellcome Trust

British Academy

European Union

- European Research Council

- Horizon Europe

- Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship


University of Oxford

Application process

Funding Application Process Flowchart

Idea - Think about what sort of research you want to conduct and the research questions you want to answer. Research potential funding schemes which might be suitable, either on our listing pages, or through funder websites. Some regular calls require expressions of interest and may have an internal selections process. If you’re an early career researcher, you’ll need to find a mentor in Oxford, who is willing to support your application and your research.

Enquiry - Contact research support and submit a formal or informal expression of interest, on applying for funding. They will then advise on funding opportunities and explain the process of applying through Oxford.

First draft - Write out a first draft of your application. Be sure to ask peers and senior academics to review it, and ask the advice of your research facilitator.

Internal selection (if required) - Some funding schemes limit the number of applicants from one institution, so you may have to pass internal selection. 

Redraft - Continue to hone your application with the help of your research facilitator.

Budget - You will need your research facilitator's help to draw up a budget, based on the research you want to conduct. These can be simple or complex depending on the project. But keep in mind a rough budget from the start, as this will shape your research plan.

Submit - The final version of the application and budget are then submitted to the faculty for internal validation and adding any support statements required. This is forwarded to Research Services for review. Depending on the funder, the applicant or Research Services (on behalf of applicant) submit the final application.

Award - The funder will then make a decision. If you receive an award, this will usually go to the University directly, who will then get everything in place so you can carry out the proposed research.

Research - Carry out the proposed research at the Faculty of Law.

More details about the application process can be found on the Research Services webpages.