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Applicant guidance notes for BSI Career Enhancing Grant

The BSI Career Enhancing Grant is a pilot grant scheme designed to assist the career prospects of BSI members by providing funding for a wide range of activities and initiatives that will build their skill set and boost future employability. Through this scheme, we aim to provide more intensive support, across sectors, for networking, skills acquisition, ‘pump-prime’ activity and activities that aid transition between sectors. These grants aim to provide flexible financial support to members for activities that will enhance their careers. Examples of projects this grant scheme aims to fund includes: 

  • Fund pilot projects/proof of concept data to aid future research grant applications
  • Purchase equipment to help you further your research
  • Lab placements or visits to allow you to learn a new technique
  • Training courses to build your skill set e.g. leadership courses or higher education teaching courses
  • Internship/secondment to a role in another sector, e.g. science communications 

The BSI intends for this grant scheme to support members in all sectors of immunology. We are committed to the principles of diversity, equality and inclusion, and thereby welcome applications from individuals of all backgrounds. If you have an idea for funding but are not sure whether it’s eligible for this grant scheme or not, please email to discuss.  


The grant can be from £100 up to £5,000 with a strong justification required for the level of funding being requested.  


There are two application deadlines per year in September and March. 

Applications for the next grant round will close on Monday 25 March 2024 at 23:59 GMT. We are currently accepting applications. 

Who can apply?

  • You must have been a member of the BSI for at least 9 months prior to the application deadline of the grant round applied to.
  • You must be in good standing with your BSI membership subscription when applying and receiving the grant.
  • This scheme is only open to UK-based (home address and place of employment) BSI members from paying categories of membership. Undergraduate members are not eligible to apply. 
  • Applications are open to academic members who do not have a faculty position or personal fellowship (or comparable appointment) and to non-academic applicants who are equal to or less than 15 years post-BSc (or equivalent qualification).
  • You may only apply for one BSI Career Enhancing Grant within a 12-month period. If you have applied unsuccessfully in a previous round, you cannot apply again for the following round. 

Information about completing the application form

  • Applications should be sent to You will need to send through a completed application form and your CV (max. 2 sides). Applications for £1,000 or more should also include a letter of support from a relevant referee to confirm your suitability for the proposed activity/project. If you are requesting funding to visit a lab or institute in the UK or abroad for training, please provide of letter of support from that lab or institute and your current place of work even if the funding request is under £1,000.
  • For applications up to £999, no referee letter of support is needed unless specifically requested by the review panel or if you are planning to undertake a lab visit (see point above).
  • As part of the application, the applicant will be required to describe the project/activity in detail, how it will progress their career and how it will be evaluated.  
  • Applicants need to provide a full budget breakdown of specific costs involved with the project/activity. Applicants should provide exact costings and should not apply for more than they need, e.g., don’t put down the maximum amount of £5,000 if you don’t need all of it. Provide a budget breakdown that shows that all of the grant applied for will be used.
  • Applicants need to give an approximate timeline of the project or activity. This should include start and end dates and also key dates in between to help frame the overall project or activity. 
  • When completing sections 6 and 7 of the application form concerning rationale, impact & evaluation, the information you supply should be proportionate to the grant amount requested in terms of length and detail. 
  • Throughout the application, you should focus as much as possible on your own career progression and how the funding will help you. While you can contextualise it to the activities of your lab or PI, you should emphasise how your career will be supported by the grant. 
  • The section 7 on the application form ‘impact and evaluation’ should be used to highlight i) the short-term learning you think you will gain from the project/activity and the effectiveness of it and ii) the longer-term impact of the project/activity on your career plans.

Grant criteria

Grants are made by competition and assessed by our dedicated grant panel, chaired by BSI Education & Careers Secretary, Dr Donald Palmer.  Applications are reviewed against the following criteria:

  • There is clear benefit to the applicant in how this grant will further their career, both in the short and longer term
  • Full and reasonable costings are provided
  • A clear, concise and relevant rationale for undertaking the project/activity
  • A clear timeline of activities is provided
  • A letter of support from a manager/ principal investigator/relevant individual for grants of £1,000 or more
  • If you are requesting funding in order to visit a lab or institute abroad for training please provide of letter of support from that lab or institute and your current place of work even if the funding request is under £1,000.

Key information for grant holder

  • Grant holders will be required to use the grant within 12 months of receiving the grant letter (unless with prior agreement with the BSI office). 
  • Grant holders will be required to report on impact formally within three months after the end of the grant. As well as a short report (600 words max), this will also include completing a feedback survey to assist us in assessing this pilot scheme. More information will be provided to successful applicants.
  • When applying for a grant, applicants should be aware of the application timeline and, for the next grant round, should not apply for any project/activity that takes place before the grants are awarded. 

Other terms and conditions

  • This grant should not be used to apply for funding to go to a scientific conference – applications of this nature should be directed to the BSI’s Conference Travel Grant scheme.  Similarly, this grant should not be used to apply for funding to attend BSI events such as BSI Congress or BSI Regional and Affinity Group events as these have their own grant schemes to support attendance. 
  • This grant is not for core funding of PhD studies or postdoc employment. Any applications looking to fund costs that should be covered by the applicant's PhD funding or postdoc fellowship will be rejected. 
  • If the grant is used for research purposes, it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all relevant approvals (e.g. ethics, animal licenses) etc are in place as required. 
  • The grant recipient will comply with the law and generally accepted and appropriate health and safety standards.
  • The grant recipient shall not knowingly do anything which will or is intended to adversely affect the name or reputation of the BSI.
  • All activities/projects funded must adhere to the relevant current UK and/or devolved nations coronavirus guidance as appropriate. 
  • Some activities funded by this grant scheme may involve national and/or international travel. We expect recipients to adhere all relevant coronavirus guidance both from the UK and/or devolved nations and from the government of the country you are visiting. This includes the UK and/or devolved nation travel guidance, covering the period of the trip for the country you wish to visit. It also includes adhering to guidance imposed by your host country for the duration of your visit.  We reserve the right not to fund activities that involve travel to countries that are currently on the UK travel red list.
  • If your grant involves travel, the BSI will not accept any liability to the grant recipient or to any third party for any costs, claims, damages or losses that are incurred due to the need to quarantine either when arriving in your destination country, during your visit or when arriving back into the UK or any other costs relating to the travel placement.
  • Grants cannot be awarded retrospectively.  You should not apply for a grant in this scheme for any activity that takes place earlier than late May or late November each year, depending on the round you apply for.
  • The BSI’s decision shall be final.  Incomplete applications will be rejected.


The BSI will not accept any liability to the grant recipient or to any third party for any costs, claims damages or losses, however they are incurred.

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