Promoting, supporting and encouraging the study of the United States since 1955

British Association for American Studies


BAAS Founders’ Research Assistance Awards


BAAS Founders’ Research Assistance Awards


Named after the founders of BAAS, these awards offer funding for short-term research visits to specific research sites (such as archives) or for hiring research assistance to consult archives remotely, in order to conduct American-based research. 

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Applications for the 2021 awards will open on 1 October 2020.

The awards have historically been offered to scholars in the UK who need to travel to conduct research, or who have been invited to read papers at conferences on American Studies topics. Since 2021, considering BAAS’s commitment to leading the field towards lowering its carbon emissions, as well as recent difficulties linked to overseas travels due to the pandemic, the awards are also offered to help fund research assistance to consult archives remotely. This is also in line with BAAS’s commitment to fostering greater inclusivity: for example scholars may not find archives sufficiently accessible, and scholars who have caring responsibilities may benefit from engaging with archives remotely.

Up to four awards of £1000 are available: scholars are expected to apply for an amount that reflects the amount of assistance/travel that will be undertaken. Although there is no specific time limit for the duration of the awards, and it is recognised that awards under the scheme may need to be supplemented, it is not intended that they should be used to supplement or extend much longer-term awards.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”5502″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”fadeInRight”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row bg_type=”no_bg”][vc_column][dt_gap height=”20″][vc_column_text]The duration of the award would typically expect to be twelve weeks. Applications are invited from persons normally resident in the UK, and from scholars currently working at UK universities and institutions of higher education.

BAAS is committed to promoting best practice in matters of equality and diversity, and will be attentive to issues of equality and diversity when judging applications.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][dt_gap height=”20″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row bg_type=”no_bg”][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Closing date

The extended deadline for applications is 10 January 2021. If travel is undertaken, it must take place between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022. In the case of research assistance, the contract for the hired assistant needs to be signed and sent to BAAS before 31 March 2022. Awards for travel will not be made retrospectively.

Successful candidates are required to provide a brief report of their research trip or of the research material acquired thanks to the award. These reports will be published in American Studies in Britain. Successful candidates are also requested to acknowledge the assistance of BAAS in any other publication that results from research carried out during the tenure of the award.

Membership of BAAS is mandatory in order to be eligible to receive one of these awards. Applicants will need to supply their membership number, which can be found by logging into the BAAS website and navigating to Member-BAAS Community-Profile.



The application form can be downloaded here.

Funds for these awards come entirely from private contributions and donations in any amounts are always welcome. Please consider adding a donation to your annual BAAS subscription, or send a donation separately to the Treasurer using this form.

BAAS is a registered charity (No. 1002816)

You can view the Submission Guidelines here[/vc_column_text][dt_gap height=”20″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]




Can BAAS help me in finding a suitable research assistant?

No, BAAS does not provide help in identifying an archivist/research assistant to source and digitise material for you. Specialist librarians and archivists tend to have lists of potential research assistants. Do inquire about these possibilities with the organisations that you are interested in. Another good way to find a local person is to get in touch with the relevant university department or research centre located close to the targeted archival institution and ask whether a graduate student or an advanced undergraduate would be interested in doing some research assistance work for a fee.

See the list of independent researchers (per area of expertise) provided at

Or this list of possible options to find an assistant on the Yale Library website


How much should I pay my research assistant?

The terms of employment are between you and your research assistant, and BAAS will have no involvement in such negotiations. However, the award panel will look favorably on applications that include a quote from a research assistant or professional. Local research assistants can usually be hired for hourly rates ranging from $25 to $45 an hour, depending on experience and expertise, as well as local cost of life.


Should I provide a quote from the research assistant I intend on employing?

If possible, yes. In any case, do your best effort to show that you have a concrete plan on how to source and obtain the archival material.


Can I use the research assistance award to fund the digitisation of images and documents with the view of reproducing them in a book or article?

No, the research assistance awards are intended to help scholars develop new research projects. They are not meant to facilitate the reproduction of material for publication purposes.


Can the BAAS research assistance award cover the individual subscription for an online resource database?

In some cases, yes. If you can prove that your institution will not fund the subscription for an essential resource database for your project (for instance because it is too narrow in its remit to interest the university community at large), then the award panel will consider the application eligible.


Previous Winners

BAAS Founders’ Research Travel Awards 2020

Sarah Barnsley, Goldsmiths, University of London. Research on Mary Barnard’s Poems

Sam Edwards, Manchester Metropolitan University. Research on the American Expeditionary Force in Britain

Jeffrey Geiger, University of Essex. Research on Colour Film

Thomas Tunstall Allcock, University of Manchester. Research on Cold War Diplomacy


BAAS Founders’ Research Travel Awards 2019

Leila Kamali, University of Liverpool for John Edgar Wideman as Black Flâneur

Katie McGettigan​, Royal Holloway, University of London for Representations of Slavery and Abolition in Juvenile Literature, 1830-1900

Emily West, University of Reading for Food, Power, and Resistance in US Slavery

Keira Williams, Queen’s University Belfast for Steel Magnolias, Velvet Hammers, and Southern Feminisms

For results 2006-2018 winners, click here