Research Grants

RAI Research Grants

Thanks to the generosity of benefactors, the Rothermere American Institute awards at least five research grants each year for primary research on the history, politics, literature or culture of the United States.


Archives II, College Park, Maryland (Library of Congress)
Library of Congress Main Reading Room (Carol M. Highsmith, Library of Congress)


Eligibility and Process

In view of the climate crisis, the RAI is committed to promoting low-carbon research practices, and has therefore reframed travel grants as research grants. We are now willing to consider requests for financial support in relation to research costs other than travel. Such applications might, for instance, seek assistance in paying for the digitisation of documents, a research assistant, or transcription services in order to remove the need for international travel. We recommend reviewing the University’s guidelines on sustainability practices in relation to international travel: International travel | Sustainability (

The following categories of person are eligible to apply for a research grant:

Applications are reviewed by the RAI Academic Committee every term.

Applications may only be made for travel or other research activity to be undertaken after the Committee meeting at which they will be considered. Retrospective applications are not accepted.

Applicants may only be awarded one research grant per academic year. Unsuccessful applicants may reapply each term. Successful applicants are awarded £500.

Research activity and reporting must be completed within one calendar year of the date the grant was awarded.

The research project to be supported must relate to the history, politics, literature or culture of the United States. Preference will be given to applicants who can demonstrate that their proposed travel or research activity will have a direct impact on the progress of their thesis or project. The Committee is willing to consider applications in support of conference attendance, insofar as it would benefit or disseminate primary research by the applicant.

Applications consist of a completed research grant application form. Completed forms should be sent to by midday on Monday of Week 3 of each term.

RAI-Gilder Lehrman Fellows' Awards

In partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History (GLI), the leading non-profit organisation for history education for schools and the general public, the RAI is able to offer special awards each year for research in archives in the New York area.

The RAI-Gilder Lehrman Fellows' awards are open to undergraduate and graduate students. Awardees will receive the RAI's travel award as described above; in addition, the GLI will aim to provide free access to the New-York Historical Society, the digital archive of the Gilder Lehrman Collection, and use of a desk if/as available at the Institute's offices on W. 45th St., New York. GLI will also advise awardees on visiting speakers and programmes on American history across New York City and offer them information about archives in NYC as well as introductions, as appropriate, to curators and historians in their field of research.

Should the awardees' research visits to New York coincide with one of the five major annual award presentations sponsored by the GLI (Frederick Douglass Book Prize; George Washington Prize; Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize; Gilder Lehrman Prize for Military History; National History Teachers of the Year Awards), they would be welcome to attend as a guest.

There is no special application process for the RAI-Gilder Lehrman awards. Applicants should apply for a postgraduate or undergraduate award as above, and recipients of the RAI-Gilder Lehrman awards will be selected from among the successful candidates.


The RAI Travel Award funded an extended visit to New York where I was able to visit many archives otherwise inaccessible to me. In particular, the resources at the New York Academy of Medicine and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture were completely invaluable to my project. Going through my notes and files from the archives I visited I am always surprised at the richness and diversity of the source material the RAI Travel Award funded archive trip allowed me to access. My project has been greatly enriched as a result.

Ella St George Carey, RAI travel grant recipient