BSLS Small Grants Scheme

Applications are invited for BSLS small grants of up to £400 to facilitate and promote the study of literature and science. The scheme is open to applicants at any career stage, including postgraduates. Funds are available to support events, activities and individual research.

Examples of activities for which the awards might be used are expenses for arranging a visiting speaker, a seminar series, or a symposium. Requests for support towards the associated costs for online events are also welcome. Applications for support to stage special BSLS panels at appropriate conferences (other than the BSLS 2022 conference) will be considered. Applications should take into account potential disruption as a result of COVID-19 and provide a brief outline of contingency plans and costing implications should an event need to be postponed or moved online.

NEW FOR 2021: The BSLS is now also accepting small grant applications to support individual research. Expenses may include but are not limited to: the cost of travel and accommodation related to archival or research-focused trips; associated childcare costs; and funds to support remote research such as scanning or photocopying, or digitising projects intended to increase accessibility.

Applicants may apply for any amount up to £400. In some instances, only a proportion of the amount applied for may be awarded. Applicants should be current members of BSLS and should apply by making a case for how the award will contribute to the development of literature and science or to individual research goals in the field. Where funding is sought for BSLS panels a clear indication of the scope of the panel – and of its contribution to the understanding of literature and science – should be included.

A detailed budget should be included as part of the application and applicants should state whether they have applied to any other funding sources (and the outcomes of those applications) as well as information about any institutional funding support. The small grant scheme is open to applicants at any career stage, but preference will be given to those with limited or no access to other funds. International members of BSLS are welcome to apply for the awards, but they should note that they will be distributed via PayPal or in the form of bank cheques made out in pounds sterling. Serving members of the BSLS Executive Committee are not eligible to apply for the awards.

Please submit your application by one of the four deadlines: 1 March, 1 June, 1 September, or 1 December. Application for the awards is competitive and must be made before the proposed event or activity is due to take place. Applications will then be considered by the BSLS Executive Committee and grant outcomes will be communicated within one month of the respective deadlines. Recipients of small grants are asked to acknowledge BSLS sponsorship appropriately in publicity for events and to provide a brief report on events for the BSLS newsletter and website.

The complete application should be no longer than 500 words. It should be emailed, as a Word attachment, to Ros Powell ( Please put 'BSLS small grant' in the subject heading of your email. Queries about the scheme and/or the eligibility of your proposal should be directed to Ros Powell.


BSLS Postgraduate and Early Career Conference Fund

Applications are invited for bursaries of up to £300 for BSLS postgraduate student members and early career researchers who are not in permanent posts and do not have access to institutional funding. Bursaries may be used towards the cost of presenting research papers at conferences (this excludes the BSLS annual conference, which has its own postgraduate bursary scheme); for archival and research trips; for the attendance of summer school, workshop, or training events in the field of literature and science (in person or online); and for childcare costs associated with these activities. 

In addition to funding attendance at literature and science conferences, workshops and events, we would like to fund members who intend to give papers on literature and science at conferences, workshops, and events which are not specifically focused on this topic, in order to promote the study of our field more widely.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be a member of the BSLS
  • Be a current research student or an early career researcher (independent or attached to an HE institution) who is not in a permanent post
  • Be presenting a paper at a conference held after the funding deadline (applicants awaiting decisions on their conference abstracts are eligible to apply, but any award would be conditional upon their paper being accepted for presentation)

Eligible expenses include conference fees, travel and accommodation costs, archival fees (e.g. the reproduction of material, scans and photocopies), childcare costs, and virtual registration fees. Applicants must provide an outline of their proposed activities, justify why the funds are required (i.e. give a break-down of the budget) and state whether they have applied to any other funding sources (and the outcomes of those applications). You should also state why you think the particular activity would be valuable, both for your own career and with regard to the wider objectives of the BSLS. 

Finally, applications should take into account potential future disruption as a result of COVID-19 and weigh up the likelihood of events being able to go ahead (either face-to-face or remotely). Applications should be no longer than 500 words. Successful applicants will be expected to provide a brief report on their paper and experience of the conference, for the BSLS newsletter and website.

Both funded and non-funded PGRs are eligible to apply, but it will add weight to your application if you are able to demonstrate a particular need for the funding. The BSLS particularly wishes to use the PGR and ECR fund, where possible, to assist applicants to attend and participate in events that might otherwise be beyond their reach financially.

International members of BSLS are welcome to apply for the awards, but should note that they will be distributed in the form of bank cheques made out in pounds sterling or via PayPal. Serving members of the BSLS Executive Committee are not eligible to apply for the awards. We cannot enter into correspondence about the decisions of the Committee.

The application should be e-mailed, as a Word attachment, to the BSLS Early Career Executive Committee Member, Rachel Murray ( by one of the four annual deadlines: 1st March, 1st June, 1st September, 1st December. Please put 'BSLS PG and ECR fund' in the subject heading of your email. Applications will then be considered by the BSLS Executive Committee, with bursaries awarded shortly after each deadline. Queries about the fund should be directed to Rachel Murray.


Past Awards

Small Grants


Catherine Charlwood (Swansea University / University of Liverpool) and Laura Ludtke (Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford), for LitSciPod: The Literature and Science Podcast series 2 (awarded £300).

Jerome de Groot (University of Manchester), for Genetics and Creativity: Writing, Identity and Heritage (awarded £300).

Jordan Kistler (Keele University), for 'Labelling the Museum' outreach event (awarded £400).

Arthur Rose and Daniel Finch-Race (University of Bristol), for the 'Enviro-Medical Approaches to Modern Francophone Culture', 10-11 May 2019 (awarded £400).

Sarah Spence (University of Glasgow), for Public Health, Private Illness: ECR Medical Humanities, 8-9 April 2020 [postponed due to COVID-19] (awarded £200).


Greta Perletti, University of Trento, Italy, for a seminar series on literature and science to be held in June/July 2019 (awarded £400).

Saskia McCracken, University of Glasgow, towards the 'Beastly Modernisms' Conference, to be held on 29-30 August 2019 (awarded £200).

Jana Funke, University of Exeter, for a special BSLS panel at the ‘90 Years Since The Well of Loneliness: A Radclyffe Hall Symposium’, Birkbeck, July 2018 (awarded £150).

Rhys Kaminski-Jones (Wales) and Erin Lafford (Oxford), for student/ unwaged bursaries for the ‘Change of Air: Atmosphere, Health, and Locality in the Romantic Era’ conference, Oxford, September 2018 (awarded £200).

Emily Alder, Edinburgh Napier, for costs towards ‘The Age of Frankenstein’ event at Surgeons’ Hall Museums, Edinburgh, November 2018 (awarded £250).


Sharon Ruston, Lancaster University, towards the Collected Letters of Sir Humphry Davy project (awarded £378.61).

Caitlin Stobie, University of Leeds, to fund student travel bursaries for the 'Animals and Borders' project (awarded £150).

Lina Minou, Loughborough University, 'Malice and Malignancy in Early Modern Culture' project (awarded £201).

Chisomo Kalinga, University of Edinburgh, 'Medical Humanities in an African context' symposium, 24-25 August 2017 (awarded £300).

Anna Burton, University of Liverpool, ‘The Memory of Trees’ conference, 20 April 2017 (awarded £300).


Manon Mathias, University of Aberdeen,Gut Feeling: Digestive Health in Nineteenth Century Culture, 26-27 May 2017 (awarded £400)


Pat Beesley, Newcastle University, The Body and Pseudoscience18 June 2016. (awarded £325).

Nina Engelhardt and Julia Hoydis, University of Cologne, Doing Science: Texts, Patterns, Practices, 20-21 November 2015 (awarded £220).


Ryan Sweet and Betsy Lewis-Holmes, University of Exeter, Exwhirr ‘The Human-Technology Relationship through the Ages’ (awarded £400).

Joanne Parsons, Bath Spa University, Biomedical Sciences and the Maternal Body. (awarded £300).

Roisin McCloskey, University of Durham, Abnormality and the Abnormal in the 19th Century. (awarded £200).


Laura Dietz, Cambridge Festival of Science, ‘Science as the Spark’, March 2014 (awarded £280).

Farah Mendelsohn, Anglia Ruskin University, 'What Scientists Read’ at the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, 2014 (awarded £300).

Postgraduate Conference Fund


Annie Webster, SOAS, for attendance at the ‘Frankenstein @200 Health Humanities Conference’ at Stanford University 20-22 April 2018, for her paper entitled ‘What’s-it’s-name?: Frankenstein’s Creature and the Politics of Naming in Post-2003 Iraq’.

Saskia McCracken, University of Glasgow, for her paper at Transitions: Bridging the Victorian-Modernist Divide at Birmingham University on 9-10 April 2018, entitled ‘Revolution, Evolution, and the Darwinian Politics of Virginia Woolf’s “creature Dictator”’.

No awards were made in  the second round of funding in 2018.


Alice Gibson, 'Reflecting on Nature's Destructive Power, through Giacomo Leopardi's Broom, or Flower of the Wilderness, at the 31st SLSA meeting in Tempe, Arizona November 2017

Kanta Dihal, University of Oxford, paper on ‘Quantum Physics as a Defamiliarizing Technique in Science Fiction’, to be delivered at the 75th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), Helsinki, August 2017.

Moritz Ingwersen, Trent University, Ontario & University of Cologne, ‘“Geological Insurrections”: The Weird Return of Rust and Dust in Two Short Stories by China Mieville’, ASLE, Detroit, June 2017.


Ryan Sweet, University of Exeter, Decolonizing Critical Animal Studies Conference at the University of Alberta, Canada.

Maria Avxentevskayato, Freie Universitat Berlin, Scientiae Conference in Oxford.