Research grants to improve rural life

A new opportunity is available for those with good ideas for rural communities to be awarded research travel grants.

Applicants with new ideas on how to improve rural life in the UK can now be supported by overseas research grants, available to all UK citizens.

A new category of Churchill Fellowships will be devoted to ‘Rural living: strengthening countryside communities’.

The fellowships are the result of a partnership between the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and The Prince's Countryside Fund.

It will fund fellowships exploring wide-ranging approaches to a range of rural issues, such as invigorating transport networks, rethinking housing and planning, boosting employment and enterprise, and improving access to education, culture and healthcare.

The travel grants fund individuals to research innovative ideas and best practice overseas, then bring their global insights back to the UK and make change happen in their professions and communities.

Fellowships are available in 12 fields of interest overall, including the Rural Living category.

Julia Weston, Chief Executive of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, said the truyst was interested in inspirational ideas.

“Rural communities and economies are currently going through a period of great change, and face a huge range of challenges, as well as opportunities, especially in light of Brexit.

In March, the House of Lords select committee on rural communities reported that some of the worst spots for deprivation and intergenerational poverty are in the countryside.

We’re looking for new ideas that can help to tackle that.

These Churchill Fellowships will fund people who are inspired to seek new solutions for rural life and keen to make change happen.”

Some 150 Churchill Fellowships are awarded each year, with an average grant of £6,000.

They were set up by public subscription as a living memorial to Sir Winston Churchill on his death in 1965 and have been awarded to over 5,500 people since.

Prince’s Countryside Fund director Claire Saunders said her team was delighted to be working with the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

She added:Their Fellowships offer a wonderful chance at a time of great change, for people to undertake grass roots research into ways of regenerating rural communities, and importantly it also provides a platform for people to share their vital findings

Whoever you are, these Fellowships are a chance for everyone to research and share their findings.”

Churchill Fellows are funded to research new ideas overseas for 4-8 weeks, in topics and countries of their own choice, with the intent of gaining fresh perspectives and insights that can make a difference to their community or profession back home.

Examples of past Fellows who have explored rural issues are here.

Applications can be made online at Deadline for applications is 18 September 2018.

Everyone can apply for a Churchill Fellowship, regardless of age, background or qualifications, so long as they are a UK citizen aged 18 or over. To apply, or for more details, visit

The deadline for applications is 18 September 2018 for travel in 2019.


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