GLAM guide to research and PER funding

Researchers based in Oxford University's Gardens, Libraries and Museums are eligible to apply for all of the funding opportunities that are open to researchers in academic departments as well as for opportunities aimed specifically at museums, galleries and other cultural institutions.

Research and PER grants from external funders provide a valuable source of income. At an organisational level, they help to ensure that the Gardens, Libraries and Museums continue to produce world-leading, high-quality research and PER outputs. At an individual level, they can assist researchers with career progression in their respective fields. Grant awards that are processed and recorded through Research Services also help to raise the profile of GLAM within the wider University.

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Research and PER funding is any form of additional income that will help you to achieve more than you would normally have the resources or capacity for, it must however be for a focused piece of work and cannot simply be added to your normal budget. Research and PER funding is most commonly thought of in terms of major projects but it is also possible to seek small amounts of funding for preliminary studies, pieces of equipment, or events and workshops.

There are many benefits that additional funding can bring. It can provide opportunities to:

  • investigate subject areas or collections that have never been studied before
  • develop new methodologies
  • collaborate and create new links with other institutions
  • bring in additional support and expertise from early career researchers
  • present the work of the museum outside the museum by engaging with policy makers, business and industry, schools and colleges and the general public

To start work on an application you must have a reasonably well developed idea of the proposed use for the funding. Your project must make a valuable contribution to knowledge; projects often involve the investigation of a subject that has not been studied before however they may also investigate subjects from new perspective or using new technologies.

Good ideas are likely to:

have a life beyond the idea itself: for example, enabling further research and PER by sharing information through publications, providing openly accessible data, testing new concepts or new techniques, or making cross-disciplinary connections.

have a life beyond the academic community: for example, reaching new audiences by providing educational resources and experiences, inspiring the public through exhibitions and events, or changing museum or industry practices.

General Research Any research into a collection that involves existing materials or data, whether at the institution in which you work, or at other institutions within or external to the University of Oxford. This could include the examination of objects, specimens, textual or visual sources, or the analysis of existing sets of information or data.
Field Research Any research to collect new materials or data. This is most likely to take the form of surveying or excavating and involves time away from the institution at which you work.
Equipment This could be the purchase or hire of new equipment however it could also include the arrangement of access to equipment or specialist training to facilitate the use of equipment.
Travel Any national or international travel allowing GLAM researchers to work at other institutions or site locations, or external scholars to work at GLAM institutions.
Event This could include seminars, workshops, conferences, fairs, demonstrations, talks or any other forms of activity that help either to further or to present your research. It could apply to both events with invited guests or those open to the public.
Exhibition Any form of display or exhibition, either at your institution or at an external venue. An exhibition may form a major part of a research project however it is unlikely that a large exhibition could be produced solely from a research grant. Additional funding or sponsorship would need to be secured and proposals would require internal collaboration and support.
Bespoke Public Engagement Any form of public engagement that involves complex coordinated activities. This could include consultation with specialist panels relevant to your research area or focused collaborations over a period of time with specific educational institutions or community groups.
Pilot Project Any small areas of research that will test a concept, methodology, equipment or format for public engagement that will provide valuable information to inform a future major project. A pilot project can be a useful way to test your ideas in order to develop a stronger proposal for a major project and to gather valuable evidence that will contribute towards the success of a future funding application.
Publication It is unlikely that a publication could be produced solely from a research grant, additional funding or sponsorship would need to be secured. Research funding as part of a larger project however, may contribute towards activities linked to publishing including the cover of fees for image rights or charges for open access publishing.
Resource Any resources other than conventional papers and publications that will make project research accessible beyond your institution. Examples include open access databases, information packs for business or industry, and content packages for schools and colleges.
Overheads Indirect costs that are incurred by institutions during the facilitation of a project. These could include costs for IT and building services, for laboratories or equipment, or for technical and administrative support from other staff at the institution.


It is difficult to secure funding for outputs that exist in isolation, for example for conferences, events or exhibitions that are not linked to a wider project. It is also difficult to secure funding for cataloguing and documentation work; however, this may often form part of wider research and PER activities within a more complex project.

Whilst developing your ideas you may find it useful to:

  • find out about past projects that have been conducted by researchers at GLAM institutions:

Ashmolean Museum    

Bodleian Libraries (Centre for the Study of the Book)    

Oxford University Museum of Natural History         

Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum    

Pitt Rivers Museum         

Public Engagement

  • familiarise yourself with potential funders using the information in this guide and by visiting funders’ websites to review the latest funding calls 
  • find out about past projects that have been supported by funders from their own websites and from the Research Councils UK (RCUK) at Gateway to Research          
  • discuss research and PER ideas with your colleagues

Before you contact us you may also want to:

  • discuss and agree the principles of your idea with your line manager or head of department

It is important to choose the right funder to maximise the chances of success for your application. Grants are most likely to be awarded to projects whose aims and objectives are closely aligned with those of the awarding body they are applying to.

When choosing a funder, take care to explore all of the available options and be aware of current (often temporary) areas of focus and think broadly about the applications of your project. Funders can often grant awards for projects based around subject areas that you may not typically associate with them if the projects include cross-disciplinary working or if there is potential for the outputs to have a social or political impact that is aligned to the funder’s particular strategic objectives.

Some funders will pay towards overheads and existing costs (e.g. research and impact support) and researchers may wish to prioritise applications to these funders in order that GLAM can continue to re-invest in research. Examples of funders include European Research Council (ERC) and UKRI Research Councils.

If your application is not successful in the first instance, it is often possible to redevelop the proposal for different funders. Those researchers within GLAM who are most successful in applying for funding tend to apply to multiple funders to increase their chances of success.

Research Professional is an online research funding database and news service. It is free for everyone at Oxford.

The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement website contains a useful list of funding opportunities available to support public engagement activities.

See below for more information about different funder types and their various programmes.

Please contact the GLAM Research and Impact team for help with your application as soon as you can. The GLAM R&I team can create X5 costings for the Ashmolean, HSM, OBGA, MNH and PRM. The Bodleian's Projects Accounts team can create X5 costings for Bodleian projects.

Funding application chart

If you are thinking about applying for research and PER funding you will need to discuss your proposal with the GLAM Research and Impact team:

Research and Impact Manager Dr Harriet Warburton   
01865 27 80 68

Research and Impact Support Officer Dr Emma Webster 
01865 28 29 29

We will be able to support you through the development and submission of your application, this will include assistance with:

  • identifying the most appropriate funding programmes;
  • understanding application timescales and identifying appropriate deadlines that must be met in order to submit;
  • providing examples of previous successful applications as references;
  • tailoring your concept to meet funder requirements;
  • creating a formal budget for your project. NB the GLAM R&I team can create X5 costings for the Ashmolean, HSM, OBGA, MNH and PRM. The Bodleian's Projects Accounts team can create X5 costings for Bodleian projects;
  • proof-reading your application drafts;
  • liaising with funders and submitting your final proposal.


If you are an early career researcher and you are interested in applying for funding to work in one of the GLAM institutions, we may be able to provide advice and support for applications for independent research fellowships. For more information, please visit the following early career opportunities pages:

Ashmolean Museum

Oxford University Museum of Natural History 

Pitt Rivers Museum

While the information in these webpages has been presented with all due care, the GLAM Research and Impact team do not warrant or represent that the information is free from errors or omission. Please therefore check carefully the full guidance from the funder to ensure your own eligibility, project eligibility, programme information, and current deadlines and timings.