RSTMH Early Career Grants Programme – Terms and Conditions 2024

The RSTMH Early Career Grant Programme provides more than 200 grants every year to those early in their careers to carry out their first piece of research into tropical medicine or global health.

Please read these Terms and Conditions before applying. 

Purpose of Early Career Grants

To enable early career researchers and global health professionals in the field of tropical medicine or global health to undertake clinical or scientific research and/or fieldwork, either as stand-alone projects or distinct elements within a larger project.

Thematic scope

Applications can be on any area of tropical medicine or global health including infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases, neglected tropical diseases and external factors that affect global health. 

Early Career Grant value and timeline

The maximum RSTMH Early Career Grant award is GBP £5,000 including any relevant tax on purchases. 

One or more awardees may be funded or part-funded by Denis Burkitt Fellowship Fund. If this is the case, we may ask you to participate in separate award activities. 

The project should start between September and December 2024 after the planned payment phase. Please note this may change because of the number of applications. If your project has a strict timeframe, please do let us know that when you submit your application. The project should be completed within a year of it being started. Please indicate on the application form if you expect the project to finish after this time. 

Open for applications 22 January 2024
Deadline for applications 22 April 2024
Funding payments made September 2024
Projects start December 2024
Projects finish December 2025
Reports due By March 2026

The key dates for the programme are above. If you are not able to deliver your project or report to these timings (notwithstanding unplanned changes), then please consider whether you should apply this year. If you are awarded but unable to complete your project within the timeframe RSTMH may ask for a refund of funds.

Please note that Early Career Grants cannot be used for retrospective projects. 

Eligibility for Early Career Grants

Early Career Grants are for those who have not received a research grant of £5,000 or more in their own name before. They can be based in any country and can be working in any organisation. 

RSTMH anticipate that most applicants will be at the start of their careers, though it recognises that some more experienced professionals may be new to research and will still be eligible to apply for a grant. 

Both members and non-members of RSTMH can apply for an RSTMH Early Career Grant, however if awarded, membership will be provided to awardees (until your research report delivery deadline) to ensure they can benefit from the full benefits of membership of RSTMH. 

Application criteria

Applicants for an Early Career Grant can be based anywhere in the world and can be of any nationality. 

Applicants must meet the following criteria: 

  • Not received research funding of £5,000 or more in their own name before 
  • Have a clear research plan for which they are seeking support 
  • Be employed by, or affiliated to an organisation, though we will consider applications from those not affiliated or employed. Should awardees seek to transfer to another institution during an award, written permission is required from RSTMH and this may be granted only in exceptional circumstances 
  • Have access to adequate supervision, and for their supervisor to remain for the duration of the project.
  • Have the appropriate insurance to carry out the research 
  • Hold a registered bank account which accepts GBP. Please note that a condition of an award is that grant funds are paid into the awardee’s personal bank account and not an institutional account. If this presents an issue, please let us know 
  • Have not received an RSTMH grant before 
  • Have submitted only one application for an RSTMH grant per year 
  • Not be an RSTMH global assessor in the same year 
  • Not be seeking funds for a project already started or completed
  • Not be a named supervisor or referee on an RSTMH grant application in the same year

Applicants are encouraged to include costs which would enable their projects to maximise diversity and inclusion, and community participation.

Guidance on ‘early career’ eligibility

We would like to ensure as many early career researchers and professionals can apply for an Early Career Grant as possible and encourage people from a range of disciplines and sectors to apply. 

To ensure equity and fairness of opportunity, RSTMH does not use a definition focused on specific roles, qualifications held, or age, instead it chooses to supply guidance around the profile of an applicant that may be suitable for an Early Career Grant. 

Applicants should not have received research funding of £5,000 or more in their own name before. The applicant’s supervisor must verify this as part of the reference and the application process. 

Applicants should be able to: 

  • Carry out research under supervision 
  • Have the ambition to develop knowledge of research methodologies and discipline 
  • Have demonstrated a good understanding of a field of study 
  • Demonstrate the ability to produce data under supervision 
  • Use critical analysis, evaluation and be able to synthesise new and complex ideas 
  • Competently explain the outcome of their research and value thereof to colleagues

Criteria used to assess applications for Early Career Grants

  • Early career status 
  • Validity of the research question
  • Quality of the project design and methodology 
  • Feasibility of delivering the project outcomes
  • Accuracy and reasonableness of the budget
  • Impact of your research project 
  • Value for money

Early Career Grants eligible costs

The list below provides general guidance about the costs which are eligible under the Early Career Grants Programme. We do understand there may be exceptions to this guidance and would ask applicants to evidence the need for higher costs as part of their budget description. 

Please note that the budget provided in the application form must be written in detail, using the headings outlined in the application form. Each budget line should be broken down to show unit costs and quantities for each cost. Budget items should be based on evidence of the relevant costs of time and services, and not general estimates. 

If an item costs more than the limits indicated below, applicants can use other sources of funding to top up e.g. If a piece of equipment costs £3,000 and only £2,000 is allowable under the programme, the applicant could cover the additional £1,000 from another source.

  • Consumables 
  • Fieldwork expenses, including reasonable per diems for staff standard class travel to, from and within sight(s)and accommodation 
  • International travel to carry out the research, total costs up to 50% of the overall budget 
  • Equipment, up to 50% of the overall budget 
  • Computers, tablets and phones, up to 20% of the overall budget combined
  • Training course, tuition or bench fees that are related to and directly relevant to the project, up to 20% of the overall budget 
  • Local dissemination costs, up to 20% of the overall budget 
  • Ethics approval costs, up to 10% of the overall budget 
  • Reasonable contingency costs 
  • Tax on purchases where relevant 
  • Supervisor stipends where reasonable, up to 10% of the overall budget
  • Data analysis and statistical expertise, where reasonable, up to 10% of the overall budget 
  • Translation costs, up to 10% of the overall budget 
  • Overhead costs for institutions are allowed, up to 10% of the overall budget  
  • Stipends for research assistants or community health workers, up to 10% of the overall budget
  • Stationery, up to 10% of the overall budget
  • Reimbursement for participants' time is allowed up to a maximum of £2 per person 
  • Reasonable travel reimbursement for participants is allowed 

If awarded receipts or other evidence of the purchase of all items must be kept for seven years after the final report has been submitted as they may be audited by RSTMH and its funding partners. 

If this grant application is part of a larger research programme, matched funding must be in place at the time of submission of the Early Career Grant application. In addition to the application budget, applicants must also include a brief outline of the larger research programme’s budget in the application.

Early Career Grants ineligible costs

  • Salaries for awardee 
  • Registration fees, travel and accommodation for conference or event attendance. 
  • Publishing costs/fees for academic journals*. Awardees may be eligible for an automatic  publication fee waiver or discount for the RSTMH journals. Some awardees may be eligible to apply for publishing costs 
  • Miscellaneous costs 
  • Business class travel or alcohol consumption 
  • Tuition fees for PhD or MSC

*   RSTMH journals, like many others, offer waivers or discounted rates for publications costs. RSTMH also offer highly discounted rates to developing countries, based on OUP (its publishers) policy (nb. does not include India).


The application must be supported by two referees, one of which should be a senior member of the employing or affiliated organisation. The other should be the applicant’s direct supervisor for the duration of this project. References must be on headed paper and must be complete and uploaded to Submittable by the deadline. Applications without submitted references from both referees will be deemed incomplete and not assessed. Referees should use an institutional email address and not a personal email address to submit their references. 

The supervisor should assess and clearly comment on: 

  • The feasibility of achieving the project’s aims 
  • The reasonableness of the budget, in total and for each budget area
  • The relevance of the project plan
  • The benefit of the project to the wider community 
  • The applicant meeting the guidance for being early in their career 
  • The mentorship and support available to the applicant 

The senior member from the employing or affiliated organisation should comment on:  

  • The training and career development opportunities available to the applicant 
  • The availability and use of relevant institutional resources  
  • The mentorship and career support available to the applicant

Requirements of awardees

Grants can only be used for the exact activities described in the application, as that is the basis on which the grant has been awarded. Any changes to the proposed activities post award must be approved by RSTMH. Grants would be requested to be refunded if activities are changed without approval. 

Grants awarded cannot be transferred to other individuals or institutions. Awardees must inform RSTMH if their personal or professional circumstances change throughout the application and award process. 

Awardees must hold a personal bank account. We can only pay awards to organisations in exceptional circumstances. 

If the research involved animals, awardees must ensure they abide by the local laws. Awardees should comply with all local regulations and legislation while carrying out their projects. 

Awardees should submit quarterly progress reports to RSTMH. If reports are not received, we may contact your supervisor.  

Awardees must tell us immediately if there is a change to the scope of the Grant activities, or if there are any factors that may adversely affect the Grant activities or compliance with the Terms and Conditions. This includes suspicion of or actual fraud, corruption or financial impropriety. Any changes to the project made after selection must be approved before the project starts by the Grants and Awards Committee and will only be approved in exceptional cases.

 Awardees must repay to RSTMH: 

  • Any part of the Grant that has not been spent when the Grant activities have been completed; 
  • Any part of the Grant used in breach of the Terms and Conditions.

Awardees must keep receipts or other proofs of payment for all items of spend relating to the Grant for seven years.

Awardees are responsible for any expenditure on the Grant activities which exceeds the amount of the Grant. 

* There may be separate requirements and/or conditions if you are awarded by one of RSTMH’s partners.

Reporting and dissemination

On completion of the project, a report must be submitted to RSTMH through the submittable portal within 3 months, for formal review by the Grants and Awards Committee. This may also be used for potential promotion by RSTMH. 

The project report template will ask information on the following areas: 

  • Results and outcomes of the project 
  • The impact of the project on your career, skills and networks
  • Any images that help to illustrate your research and outcomes
  • The budget expenditure against your project budget, with all receipts and proofs of payment for audit purposes 
  • Your current role and profile photo

Awardees are also required to submit quarterly progress reports via the submittable portal/
Failure to submit reports within the specified timeframes may result in RSTMH asking for a refund of all unspent funds. In such cases, future applications for funding will not be considered. 

The support of RSTMH and your funder, if relevant, must be acknowledged in all written publications and oral presentations arising from the project. The logo of RSTMH and the funder will be supplied for this purpose, and other materials can be provided on request. 

For transparency, RSTMH and your funder, if relevant, will announce its Early Career Grant recipients on its website, social media channels and through its communications. If you have any concerns about this, please let us know. 

Withdrawal of Early Career Grants

RSTMH reserves the right at any time and without notice to withdraw an Early Career Grant, either in full or in part, if the awardee fails materially to comply with these conditions. 

Modification or variation of conditions

RSTMH reserves the right to modify, add to, or vary these conditions, as it sees fit. It will give prior notice to the awardees of any changes. RSTMH will seek to ensure that the awardee is not disadvantaged by such changes. 

By applying for an RSTMH Early Career Grant, you are agreeing to share the details of your application with RSTMH, including its team and volunteers, its selected suppliers and funding partners and assessors for the purpose of assessing and managing your application, and if your application is successful, of supporting your research. 

For transparency, RSTMH will use anonymised data from applications for marketing purposes to demonstrate the number, geographical spread, gender mix, disease and sector representation. By applying for an Early Career Grant, you are agreeing to these terms and conditions.

The decision of the Grants and Awards Committee is final. 

If you have any technical problems with filling out an application form, please email support [at] submittable [dot] com

If you have a question about the scope and content of your proposal, please email sian [dot] tatbak [at] rstmh [dot] org