FAQs for applicants

“WCMT is the best career development programme I have entered to date. It built my experience and knowledge – and most importantly it gave me confidence that my success is possible.” – Arts manager Caroline Hussey-Bain, Fellow

Our application process this year has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Latest news on applying can be read here.

The Fellowship
The travel grant
The application process
Making your application
Completing the online application form
Shortlisted applicants
Successful applicants

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The Fellowship

What are Churchill Fellowships?
Churchill Fellowships are research projects that require overseas travel. They investigate inspiring practice in other countries, in order to identify new and better ways of tackling a wide range of current challenges facing the UK. What is a Churchill Fellowship?

Why do Fellows have to travel overseas? 
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. What is a Churchill Fellowship?

What is the affect of coronavirus on the Fellowship?
We currently recommend that all Fellows should consider whether to defer their travels until the situation becomes clearer. If at any time a Fellow wishes to postpone their travels, this does not affect their Fellowship. We have a standing policy that Fellows cannot travel to destinations where the Foreign Office has advised against all travel or against all but essential travel.

How many Fellowships are awarded each year? 
Up to 150. 

How are Fellowships awarded?
They are given to individuals, rather than organisations, and are awarded once a year through an open application process.

How many applications do you receive each year?
This varies from year to year, but the average over the past two years has been approximately 1,500.

Do you award any other types of grant?
Churchill Fellowships are the main activity that we fund. We also fund an Archive By-Fellowship at the Churchill Archives Centre each year.


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. Eligibility

To apply, you must satisfy all of these criteria:

  • A UK Citizen and have a UK passport at the time when you apply. (See Citizenship queries.)
  • Resident in the UK.
  • Aged 18 or over when you submit your application form (or turn 18 by the end of that year).
  • (People in certain other circumstances can also 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. 

What kind of projects do you fund?
We fund a wide range of projects which are chosen by applicants themselves. We invite applications across ten or more award 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. Who can apply

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. Projects we do not fund

Should my project relate to my current area of work, 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.

The travel grant

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. Grant

What will my grant cover? 
The grant covers:

  • Economy class return travel to your destination countries.
  • Internal travel in your destination countries.
  • Food and accommodation for the duration of your travels.

Some costs for interpreters, carers and conference attendances may also be covered, on a case-by-case basis. See our Grant page. 

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. Please indicate on your application form if you will require an interpreter. 

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. 

How do you support Fellows to travel safely?
We cannot fund Fellows to travel to countries or parts of countries where the Foreign Office has advised against all travel or advised against all but essential travel. Applications for travel to these destinations will not be successful. 

When planning their trips, Fellows are supported to create a safe and viable itinerary. In some cases, we may ask Fellows to complete a Safety Plan, which is designed to help mitigate any potential problems they may experience. Prior to departure, we issue all Fellows with an emergency card to be carried whilst travelling. This includes our emergency contact details, those of our travel insurance agency and policy, and a space for Fellows to enter their own emergency contact details.

Whilst travelling, Fellows are covered by our comprehensive travel insurance policy, which includes immediate 24/7 assistance in the case of emergencies. Fellows also receive access to a travel assistance app that provides travel and safety information on over 200 countries and a global incident monitoring and notification service. Our team is contactable via an out of hours emergency contact email and we have detailed contingency plans in place should a serious issue arise.

We make every effort to support Fellows and ensure their safety, but Fellows do travel at their own risk. The Terms & Conditions under which Fellows travel can be read here.

The application process

How do I apply?
The process is very simple. You complete our online Application Form during the period when we are open for applications each year. If you are shortlisted, you will be asked to complete a more detailed Shortlist Form and invited for an interview. That's it.

When do you open for applications?
We open each year in May, for applications to travel in the following year. Our award categories are announced at the same time. Timeline

When do you close for applications? 
The closing date for applications is in September each year. Timeline

When are applicants informed whether or not they have been shortlisted for interview? 
By the end of November. Timeline

If my application is unsuccessful, will I receive feedback? 
Yes, you will be informed of the main reasons why your application was not successful.

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

How many applications may I submit? 
You may submit only one application per year. 

If I am already a Churchill Fellow, may I apply again? 
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. 

Making your application

Can I apply on a paper copy instead of online? 
We strongly encourage applicants to use the online Application Form. If you are unable to do this, please call 020 7799 1660 to request a paper copy of the form. 

I'm not sure which award category to apply for? 
Information on the type of projects funded in each category can be found on our award categories page.

  • If your project deals with areas covered by more than one category, please choose the category that is your project's main focus.
  • If your project deals with an area not covered by any of the listed categories, please apply in the Open category.
  • If you’re still not sure which category to apply for, don’t worry: if the panel believes that your application is better suited to a different category, your application will be transferred and you will be notified. You will not be penalised for this. (But please note that a change of category may change your interview date.)

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. 

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 visiting?
We cannot fund Fellows to travel to countries or parts of countries where the Foreign Office has 'advised against all travel' or 'advised against all but essential travel.' If you are intending to visit a country that contains areas which the FCO advises against travel, but are travelling to an area that is deemed safe, we will request you monitor the FCO advice closely as this may change. 

You can find the up-to-date Foreign Office travel advice here.

Do I need to submit a budget for my project? 
Yes, but only once you have been shortlisted, and this will be requested at that time.

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: so at the initial application stage, a rough outline of who you plan to approach will suffice.

Should I inform my employer of the application?
We encourage you to check if your employer has specific internal procedures for applying for grants or sabbaticals and discuss your application with your line manager prior to attending your interview.

Can I get help with applying if I need particular assistance?
If you have a particular need for our assistance and require any additional support to make your application, we are happy to try to help where possible. However, this is discretionary and we will need advance notice in sufficient time to cater for your needs. In all circumstances, our submission deadline cannot be extended, so it is best to request any assistance in good time.

Will I be asked for references? 
Yes, you will be asked to provide the details of two referees. But we will only contact your referees if you reach the shortlist stage, at the start of November. Your referees will have approximately two weeks to return their completed online reference form to us. Your referees should be based in the UK and should have known you well for the last two years and have knowledge of your profession, interests or work in the community. Referees cannot be members of your family or simply social acquaintances. (If your project will bring you into contact with children and/or adults at risk, your referees will be asked to comment on your relevant experience.)

Completing the online application form

How long should my answers be?
For several of the questions in the application form there are strict character limits, which can be found within the form. Please bear these in mind before planning your answers. Please also note that the character limit includes spaces and punctuation.

I’ve started an online application but not submitted it yet. How can I resume my application?
Go to the Apply page of our website and click on the Apply button. You will then be asked for your log in details. Once you have entered these, you should be directed back to the application you have started.

If you are not able to access your application after following the instructions above, please call 020 7799 1660.

Please note that you will not be able to access your application via the Login page of our website. This page allows existing Churchill Fellows to access their accounts, and is not related to the application process.

I’ve forgotten my password. What should I do?
Do not start a new application. Please call 020 7799 1660 and we will help you to access your application.

I have submitted my application but I want to make a change to it. Can I?
Once you have submitted your application, you will not be able to make changes to it. We therefore strongly advise you to take the opportunity to review your application before submitting it.

I’ve missed the deadline due to an IT problem. Can I still submit my application?
We cannot accept any applications submitted after the deadline. We therefore strongly recommend submitting well before the deadline so that we can assist you with any technical difficulties you may encounter.

I haven’t received a confirmation email. What should I do?
Check your junk mail, as some applicants have told us that their confirmation email has arrived there. If you still can’t find your confirmation email, please call 020 7799 1660.

Shortlisted applicants

When do interviews take place for shortlisted candidates? 
In January. Each category is allocated a specific day for interview and interviews last 20 minutes. Shortlisted applicants must attend. Interviews

If I am shortlisted 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 shortlist. Applicants must be interviewed by their specialist panel and therefore the allocated day of their interview cannot be changed. 

How do I calculate the budget for my project? 
When calculating the budget in your shortlist form, you may wish to refer to this document, which provides a rough estimate of the daily living costs in each country. If you are awarded, we will review your budget and may amend it in line with our criteria.

When will I hear whether or not I have been awarded a Churchill Fellowship? 
By late February. Timeline

Successful applicants

If I am successful, when can I start my Fellowship travels? 
You can start from the 1 April of the year of your award, until the following 31 March. 

Can I split the travels 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.

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 the countries visited as part of their travels, in addition to the period covered by their Fellowship. 

Can I bring people with me on my travels? 
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 above

What is expected of me when I return from my travels? 

A crucial part of the Fellowship starts on your return to the UK, when it is expected that you will actively use your findings to spread knowledge and make change happen in your sector, community or beyond. Guidelines and assistance for this are provided by our team at seminars, webinars, in the Fellows' section of our website and in person. Dissemination. Key points are:

  • Around your return date there will be media and communications activity, assisted by our Communications team.
  • Within three months of your return, it is a requirement that you send us your Fellow's Report.
  • Further plans will be developed on a personal basis.

We cannot fund Fellows to travel to countries or parts of countries where the Foreign Office has advised against all travel or advised against all but essential travel.