BFWG Academic Awards

Applications for the 2024 round of Academic Awards are now closed.

The 2025 awards process will be open in early January 2025.

BFWG Academic Awardees 2023

Many congratulations to our BFWG Academic Awardees 2023

Research Presentation Day 2023

The Research Presentations Day award for 2023 was won by Anitta Rose Chacko, studying at University College London, for her work on ‘Picking the brain apart to gain insight into primary mitochondrial disorders’.

Guidance for applicants

Applications close at 5pm on Friday 1st March 2024.

1. BFWG academic awards are awarded in competition on overall academic excellence. They are not intended to meet financial need. If you are looking primarily for financial support, please consider Funds for Women Graduates which is independent of the BFWG academic awards programme. You are entitled to apply both for BFWG academic awards and for FfWG grants but the application processes and websites are different (see for the Funds for Women Graduates eligibility and application process).

2. The British Federation of Women Graduates academic awards are for women who will be in, or going into, their third year of doctoral research, or part time equivalent, at the time when the awards are given out in the autumn of each year.

Academic awards are given on the basis of evidence of academic excellence as shown on the application form, referee reports and, for those shortlisted, brief presentations of their research to a panel of academics.

The amounts offered in award range upwards from £1,000 with the average academic award being around £3,000 and the maximum being £6,000.

The number of awards made each year depends on the funds available and the quality of theapplications,butfivetoeightawards are usually given. The final selection is made in June/July of each year and awards are given out inOctober/November, with a further payment in the following spring.

3. Eligibility for a BFWG award in 2024. Are you...

  1. Working towards a research or professional doctorate? Students studying for any form or Master's degree are not eligible.
  2. Registered at a university in England, Wales or Scotland (not Northern Ireland).
  3. Resident (at least temporarily) in England, Wales or Scotland? We appreciate that students may be off campus for extended periods of time on field trips, and the like, but are unable to accept applications from distance learners, permanently based overseas.
  4. A full time student with an expectation of submission between March 2025and February 2026 or a part time student with an expectation of submission between March 2025 and February 2027. Please do not apply if you expect to submit your thesis before the end of February 2025.
  5. Confident of registration for academic year 2024/25? The first payment of the academic awards are not given out until we receive evidence that the fees for the year commencing October 2023 have been paid, or waived by the university.
  6. Applying for a BFWG Academic Award for the first time? You can only make an application for a BFWG academic award once.

4. How do I apply?

To make an application for a BFWG academic award, download and complete the Application form.

Make a payment via PayPal (see directions in Checklist).

Email Application Form back to  giving the subject heading of your email ‘AWARD APPLICATION’.

To complete the process of application, refer to the Checklist in the Guidance document below.

5. We do acknowledge all applications received but this can take some days. Please do not write asking if we have received your application unless it is over two weeks after the closing date, and you have not had an acknowledgement. The same applies to the referee reports – we acknowledge all we receive but the process may take a few days.

6. Shortlisted candidates will be informed, by early July (ideally earlier). It is expected that candidates will give a short presentation in person, probably in London, in July 2025 (likely to be 17th and 18th July). In exceptional circumstances, alternative online arrangements can be arranged.

At the interview those candidates will be asked to speak for 8 minutes on their research, which will be followed by questions from the interviewing panel of academics. Throughout the application assessment, the criteria for making awards are a student’s overall academic excellence, quality of research and the ability to communicate this.

If you have queries, please get in touch with us on:

Guidance for Referees

Deadline for references is Friday 8th March 2024.
Please note that it would be very helpful to the process of expanding our network of assessors for applications if you are able to suggest a couple of academics in your candidate’s field whom we might approach as possible assessors in this or future years. (We would not necessarily use them to assess your candidate).

Data Protection Law requires that a student is entitled to see the reference, although this request is rarely made.

GENERAL. Thank you very much indeed for supporting your student’s application for a BFWG Academic Award. BFWG gives its awards on the basis of overall academic excellence.

If your student is looking primarily for funds to meet a financial need, it may be more appropriate for her to apply to Funds for Women Graduates . Students are welcome to apply for both a BFWG Academic Award and a FfWG Grant but the processes run independently and the addresses to which applications/references etc should be sent are NOT the same.

BFWG Academic Awards reward outstanding academic excellence as shown by past achievements, progress of doctoral research, outreach activities, referees’ comments and, if shortlisted for interview, the ability to communicate their research to an academic, but not necessarily subject specialist, panel.

We are hoping for your views on the student’s:
• academic progress,
• capacity for independent judgment and innovative research,
• the progress of the thesis, and
• your comments on overall personality and any other notable activity in the university and outreach, as you feel relevant.

Please could you indicate how long and in what capacity you have known the student.

Our awards are given to doctoral students who are or will be going into, their third year of doctoral studies (or equivalent in the case of part time students) in the autumn of 2024, with the expectation of submitting between March 2025 and February 2026 for full time students and between March 2025 and February 2027 for part time students.

Where possible, please can you assure us of the student’s likely registration with their university for the year from October 2024.

In 2023, out of over 100 applications, 16 were interviewed and 8 Awards totalling £20,000 were made. Shortlisted students present their work at interview usually in July, ideally in person. Half of the award monies will be paid in autumn 2024 following confirmation of continuing university registration, with the second half of the award in the following spring, on receipt of a progress report. Individual awards average around £3,000 but may be higher, and will not be less than £1,000.

It is now 112 years since BFWG first made an academic award - £120 to Caroline Spurgeon in 1912 to enable her to complete her work on Geoffrey Chaucer. Spurgeon went on to become one of the first female professors in the UK and we are honoured to have such a long record of supporting the higher education of women through academic awards.

Closing date for applications is 1st March 2024.
Deadline for references is 8th March 2024.

Sending the reference:
Please send your reference by email, to We do appreciate references with your department/institution’s header, the name of the candidate clearly at the top of the reference and your own affiliation on the reference.

Please put: REFERENCE and the student’s full name as the ‘subject’ of the email.


If you have any further queries, please email us at

Please make sure to pay the £25.00 application fee

(Please note this fee is non-refundable)

Downloadable Forms and Guidelines