What are Churchill Fellowships?
Churchill Fellowships are research projects which involve overseas travel. They investigate inspiring practice in order to identify new and better ways of tackling a wide range of current challenges facing the UK. They are given to individuals, rather than organisations, and are awarded through an open application process.
Do you award any other types of funding?
Churchill Fellowships are the main activity that we fund. We also fund a small number of undergraduate bursaries at Churchill College Cambridge, as well as an Archive By-Fellowship at the Churchill Archives Centre, each year.
How many applications do you receive each year?
This varies from year to year, but the average over the past five years has been approximately 1,000.
How many Fellowships are awarded each year?
Up to 150.
What kind of projects do you fund?
We fund a wide range of projects, the subjects of which are chosen by applicants themselves. We invite applications across ten or more categories, which are updated each year according to the challenges currently facing the UK. We also have an open category for projects that do not fit into any other category. If you’re passionate about what you do and are keen to share your passion to inspire others, then we’d like to hear from you.
Two important criteria for Churchill Fellowships are that they could not be carried out in the UK and therefore require overseas travel, and that they will provide public benefit, whether to a community, a sector, or the UK as a whole. We do not fund projects which only benefit the individual and show no potential for wider benefit.
Am I eligible to apply?
Our Fellows come from all over the UK and from many different backgrounds. We do not require qualifications, but you should be passionate about what you do and keen to share your passion to inspire others.
To apply, you must be:
- A UK Citizen and have a British passport when you apply.
- Resident in the UK.
- 18 years old or over when you apply - or turn 18 by the end of the year.
You may also apply if you were born in Northern Ireland, hold an Irish passport and are resident in the UK.
For further details, see our Eligibility page.
Can people resident in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man apply?
Is there an upper age limit?
There is no upper age limit. We want to ensure that anyone with a worthwhile project has the chance to become a Churchill Fellow, and so encourage applications from people of all ages.
How long can I stay overseas?
Grants normally cover a stay overseas of four to eight weeks. We want Fellowships to allow adequate time for observation and reflection, so we ask that they are a minimum of four weeks.
What will my grant cover?
The grant covers:
- Economy return flights to the UK.
- Internal travel in your destination countries.
- Food and accommodation for the duration of your travels.
For further details, see our Grant page.
I have a disability and require a carer or personal assistant. Would the grant cover their expenses?
We assess each application on a case-by-case basis, but normally we do cover the carer's or personal assistant’s expenses. We are committed to ensuring that a disability is not a barrier to completing a Churchill Fellowship, so that anyone with a worthwhile project has the chance to become a Churchill Fellow.
If I am awarded a Fellowship, how much will my grant be?
Each individual grant is calculated based on the project, destination(s) to be visited and the duration of the Fellowship. Our aim is that all travel related costs will be covered by the grant.
May I re-apply another year if my application is unsuccessful?
Yes, you may re-apply as many times as you like. Many Churchill Fellows were unsuccessful with their first application. However, when re applying you should give careful consideration to our guidance.
Why do I have to travel overseas to do my Fellowship?
We believe that overseas travel can provide a valuable opportunity for a person to be exposed to fresh ideas and new perspectives. While we do not fund Fellowships that only entail travel to other parts of the UK, applications that include both overseas and UK destinations will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
How many applications may I submit?
You may submit one application only.
If I am already a Churchill Fellow, may I re-apply another year?
No. A Churchill Fellowship is truly the opportunity of a lifetime, and therefore we want to ensure that as many people as possible have the chance to experience it.
May I make a joint application?
No, Fellowships are awarded to individuals.
When are the annual categories announced?
They are normally announced in May each year.
When is the closing date for applications?
The closing date for applications is in late September.
How do I get a hard copy of the application form?
We strongly encourage applicants to use the online form but if you are unable to do this, please call 020 7799 1660 to request a hard copy.
I'm not sure under which category to apply. What should I do?
Information on the type of projects funded under each category can be found on our Categories page.
If your project deals with areas covered by more than one category, please choose the category that, in your view, is your project's main focus.
If your project deals with an area not covered by any of the listed categories, please apply under the Open category.
If you’re still not sure which category to apply under, please don’t worry; if the panel believes that your application is better suited to a different category to the one you applied under, your application will be transferred and you will be notified. You will not be penalised for this. Note, however, that should you be short-listed, this could affect your interview date.
How many countries can I visit?
There is no limit to the number of countries you can visit. Most Fellows visit more than one country, which we encourage, but we prefer continents to be limited to a maximum of two.
If you do wish to visit more than two continents, we will ask you to clearly explain how this will benefit your project, and why the additional costs involved are justified. We reserve the right to limit the duration and scope of your proposed travel.
Can I travel to a country that the foreign office advises against travel to?
We would not normally fund travel to a country that the foreign office advises against travel to. You can find foreign travel advice here.
I want to travel to a country where I do not speak the native language. Will you pay for an interpreter?
We want Churchill Fellows to be able to explore new ideas and fresh perspectives wherever they can be found, and so funding for interpreters is available across all of our categories. Please indicate on your application form if you will require an interpreter as part of your project.
Should I contact people and organisations I intend to visit before I submit my application?
We encourage applicants to start planning their projects as soon as possible. However, we recognise that approaching people and organisations may not always be appropriate before you have been awarded funding, and so, at the initial application stage, a rough outline of who you plan to approach will suffice.
Is it essential that my project relates to my current area of employment, or can it be something I am interested in outside of my professional life?
It is not essential that projects relate to an applicant’s current area of employment. Many Churchill Fellows have successfully completed projects related to areas of interest outside of their professional life. However, applicants do need to demonstrate that they are well placed to share and implement the findings from their Fellowship, and so they should be active in the area their project relates to in some capacity, for example through volunteering.
When are applicants informed whether or not they have been short-listed for interview?
If my application is unsuccessful, will I receive feedback?
Unfortunately, due to the number of applications we receive, we are not able to give feedback on individual applications.
Will I be asked for references if I am short-listed?
Yes, we will send you appropriate forms for two referees to complete and return to us.
Do I need to submit a budget for my project?
Yes, but only once you have been short-listed.
When do the interviews take place?
Throughout the whole of January and the first week of February. Each category is allocated a specific day for interview and interviews last 20 minutes. Short-listed applicants must attend. For full details, see our Interviews page.
If I am short-listed and can't make the date of my interview, may I come on a different day?
Each category has its own panel, which is also responsible for creating the short-list. Applicants must be interviewed by their specialist panel and therefore the day of their interview cannot be changed.
When will I hear whether I have been awarded a Churchill Fellowship?
By late February.
If I am unsuccessful at the interview stage, will I receive feedback?
There are normally over 100 applicants who are unsuccessful at the interview stage. Due to this high number, we are not able to give feedback on individual applications.
If I am successful, when can I start my Churchill Fellowship?
You should begin travelling within a year of being awarded a Fellowship, but not before 1st April.
Can I split the Churchill Fellowship into two phases?
We encourage single phase Fellowships as they allow Fellows to maintain momentum and interest. However, we recognise that Fellows’ personal and work circumstances sometimes mean this is not possible, and we are therefore happy to fund Fellowships consisting of two phases, provided that this does not include a return to the same country.
Do I have to arrange my own travel insurance?
No, we will insure you, but in some cases Fellows may feel it more appropriate to arrange their own insurance.
Some Fellows choose to use some of their time overseas as holiday in addition to their Fellowship. We will insure Fellows for a maximum of two weeks in addition to the period covered by their Fellowship.
Can I bring people with me on my Fellowship?
We are happy for Fellows to travel with other people, but our grants only cover the travel and living expenses of Fellows themselves.
The only exception is for carers and personal assistants of Fellows with a disability. We assess each application on a case-by-case basis, but normally we do cover the carer's or personal assistant’s expenses. See I have a disability and require a carer or personal assistant. Would the grant cover their expenses?
What is expected of me when I return from my Fellowship?
We ask Fellows to write a press release about their Fellowship and their plans now they have returned to the UK. Some Fellows prefer to wait until their report has been published before writing a press release, and this is also acceptable. We will send your press release to regional and specialist press.
Within three months of their return, it is a requirement that Fellows send us a report about their Fellowship findings. The Fellowship report is one of the primary ways in which Fellows can spread awareness and build consensus around the changes they want to see.
Fellows’ reports should include conclusions and recommendations that could be applied to the UK. We encourage Fellows to consider how they can implement their findings and how they will measure the success of this.
For further details, see our Dissemination page.