Conference and Events Fund

Conference and Events Fund

The RAI is able to fund a small number of academic events outside its regular programming. We aim to support strong proposals relating to the history, politics, and culture of the United States, including comparative or transnational projects with a strong US element. Applications are considered on a rolling basis throughout the year.

Projects may include one-off workshops and conferences, research seminars, training sessions, or regular reading groups complementing the RAI’s academic profile. Interdisciplinary proposals are welcomed. We particularly encourage applications which will lead to publication or which include some element of student engagement. Events will normally be held in the RAI building and under RAI branding. They must offer an equitable and welcoming environment that promotes the full participation of people from historically marginalized groups.

We will consider applications for a maximum of £2500 but typically award less.



Funding criteria

Applications should state clearly the objective of the proposed event and how it relates to the work of the RAI and its community.

Budgetary items which the Committee will consider supporting are as follows:

  • Speaker travel
  • Speaker accommodation
  • Catering (e.g. breakfast pastries, lunch, hot drinks, or wine and light snacks for a reception)
  • Printed materials (such as publicity, conference brochures, keepsake booklets) and postage
  • Hire of casual employees (particularly students) to assist with the event

We are unable to fund speaker fees or honoraria.

Successful proposals receive complimentary use of the RAI’s event space or Zoom account (or both), promotion through the RAI mailing list and social media channels, and administrative support from RAI staff.

The RAI is committed to environmental sustainability and value for money when organising events. Requests to cover air fares will require particularly strong justification. For speakers travelling from anywhere in the mainland UK, Paris, or Brussels, we can only fund train or bus travel. For speakers based on the island of Ireland, the rest of Europe, or further afield, we will consider funding flights. Where international speakers are involved, we ask that you give serious consideration in the first instance to hosting them, or the whole event, online using the RAI’s high-quality audio-visual system. If you believe that flying an international speaker to the UK is essential to running the event effectively, please provide a clear rationale. We expect prospective event organisers to explore whether speakers have alternative sources of funding (e.g. departmental allowances for university postholders) which might cover their travel in full or in part.

If a successful application includes payment for student helpers, the RAI will need to review the application to decide the appropriate pay-scale and how many hours the students can work.

Please bear in mind that any events approved from the Conference and Events Fund sit alongside the RAI’s core programme. This is finalised several months in advance and is very busy during term. Prospective applicants are therefore encouraged to submit their proposal as soon as they are in a position to compile a detailed proposal. Trinity term is particularly busy and proposals for this term face a high bar to acceptance. The RAI’s Trinity programme is often finalised nine months in advance.

Room availability is typically greater during vacations, although staff capacity and university audiences may be more limited. During the summer (but not winter or Easter) vacations, building opening hours are reduced and any events must conclude by 5pm.

We require a 500-word report after the conclusion of the event or events, which may be used in RAI publicity material in print or online.


We welcome applications from Oxford students, Oxford post-holders, and RAI fellows who study the United States in any discipline. Co-organisers may be non-Oxford affiliates, but at least one organiser must be based at Oxford. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate a commitment to participation in the intellectual life of the RAI.

Application process

Applications should be submitted using the application form. Questions and completed applications should be addressed to

The Committee will usually endeavour to respond to an application within two weeks of receipt.