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

British Association for American Studies


BAAS Postgraduate and Early Career Short-Term Research Assistance Awards


BAAS Postgraduate and Early Career Short-Term Research Assistance Awards



These awards offer assistance for scholars conducting research on America for short-term visits to specific research sites (such as archives) or for hiring research assistance to consult archives remotely. They contribute considerably to fostering talent among the American Studies community in the UK.


The awards have historically been offered to PG students and ECR based in the UK who need to travel to conduct America-based research. Starting in 2021, and in line with BAAS’s commitment to leading the field towards lowering its carbon emissions, the awards are now 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.

The programme depends for its funds entirely on public contributions, and can only have a long-term impact if BAAS members and other interested persons continue to be generous with donations. The Treasurer of BAAS welcomes contributions small and large, and invites anyone wishing to support BAAS in maintaining its work in this area to make contact using the link below.[/vc_column_text][dt_gap height=”20″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

The resources available are normally modest. It is envisaged that grants will be supplemented by funds from other sources.

The maximum of each grant will be £1000: 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. The duration of the award would typically be up to c. twelve weeks.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”5492″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”fadeInRight”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The 2021 awards will open for applications on 1 October 2020.

Applications are invited from persons normally resident in the UK, and from scholars currently working at, or registered as postgraduates at, UK universities and institutions of higher education.

For ECRs, BAAS follows the AHRC’s definition for ECR status: “ECR is defined as an individual who is within eight years of the award of their PhD or equivalent professional training, or an individual who is within six years of their first academic appointment. These durations exclude any period of career break, e.g. for family care or health reasons. The ‘first academic appointment’ is defined as the first paid contract of employment, either full-time or part-time, which lists research and/or teaching as the primary functions.”

For postgraduate students, preference will be given to those who are planning to do America-based research and who have had no previous opportunities for research-related visits. BAAS particularly welcomes applications from postgraduates needing financial assistance to conduct research on America remotely or to fund travel to specific research sites (such as archives).

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 type=”1″ bg_type=”no_bg”][vc_column][dt_gap height=”20″][vc_column_text]

Some of the travel grants relate to named awards:

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  • POSTGRADUATE TRAVEL AWARD will be given to the best proposal in any area of American Studies.
  • THE MALCOLM BRADBURY AWARD will be given to the best proposal in the field of American literary studies.
  • THE MARCUS CUNLIFFE AWARD will be given to the best proposal in the field of American Studies.
  • THE JOHN D. LEES AWARD will be given to the best proposal in the field of American political studies.
  • THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN AWARD will be given to the best proposal in the field of nineteenth-century century US history and culture
  • THE PETER PARISH AWARD will be given to the best proposal in the field of American history
  • ECR TRAVEL AWARD will be given to the best proposal in any area of American Studies.

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Closing date

The closing date for applications for the PG/ECR Research Assistance Awards has now been extended to 10 January 2021.

Guidelines for submission (


If travel is undertaken, it must take place between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022. Awards for travel will not be made retrospectively. 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 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.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][dt_gap height=”20″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]


You can view the Submission Guidelines here.

For enquiries about the awards, contact

Applications for these awards should be submitted electronically to ECR and PGR applicants should use this form.

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)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][dt_gap height=”20″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”3″ bg_type=”no_bg”][vc_column][dt_gap height=”20″][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 USD $25 to USD $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.


Past Winners:


Early Career Short-Term Travel Awards

Rachael Alexander, University of Strathclyde. Research on Anne Harriet Fish and Gordon Conway

Alex Ferguson, University of Southampton. Research on U.S. Policy in Vietnam


Postgraduate Short-Term Travel Awards

Peter Parish Award: Ellie Armon Azoulay, University of Kent. Collectors of African American Folk Music in the U.S. South

John D Lees Award: Steven K. Driver, University College London. U.S. Foreign Policy and Religion during the Occupation Era, 1912-1934

Abraham Lincoln Award: Katherine Burns, The University of Edinburgh. “Keep this Unwritten History”: African American Families’ Search for Identity in “Information Wanted” Advertisements, 1880-1902

Marcus Cunliffe Award: Ya’ara Notea, King’s College London. American Girls’ Fiction in the Twentieth Century

Malcolm Bradbury Award: Deborah Snow Molloy, University of Glasgow. The Literary Geography of Female Mental Illness in New York Women’s Literature, 1920-1945

BAAS Postgraduate Travel Awards

Rebecca Slatcher, The University of Hull. North American Indigenous Languages in the British Library’s (BL) post-1850 Collections



Postgraduate Short-Term Travel Awards 

Peter Parish Award: Melanie Khuddro, University of Reading: Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science

John D Lees Award: Stephen Colbrook, University of Cambridge: Policy-making responses to the AIDS crisis in California in the 1980s

Abraham Lincoln Award: Sylvia Broeckx, University of Sheffield: The prevalence, prosecution, and consequences of rape perpetrated by the Union Army during the Civil War

Marcus Cunliffe Award: Eleanor Whitcroft, University of Sussex: Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland: Childhood, dreams, and race in American newspaper comic strips

Malcolm Bradbury Award: Shihoko Inoue, University of Exeter: Sylvia Plath, Maternity, and Medicine

Winners of the BAAS Postgraduate Short-Term Travel Awards 2019

Heather Hatton, University of Hull: Bridging the Divide: The Language of Diplomacy in Early America, 1701-1774

Nathaniel Sikand-Youngs, University of Nottingham: Place and space in literary representations of Californian landscapes, 1880-1917



Early Career Short-Term Travel Awards

Kate Ballantyne, University of Cambridge

Owen Clayton, University of Lincoln

John Tiplady, New York University/University of Nottingham


Postgraduate Short-Term Travel Awards 2018

Peter Parish Award: Jodie Collins, University of Sussex and the British Library

John D Lees Award: Mark Eastwood, University of Nottingham

Abraham Lincoln Award: Elizabeth Barnes, University of Reading

Marcus Cunliffe Award: Kimberley Weir, University of Nottingham

Malcolm Bradbury Award: Jake Barrett-Mills, University of East Anglia

BAAS Postgraduate Travel Awards

Sage Goodwin, University of Oxford

Owen Walsh, University of Leeds


Winners of the BAAS Postgraduate Short-Term Travel Awards 2017

Peter Parish Award: Ruth Lawlor, University of Cambridge

John D Lees Award: Darius Wainwright, University of Reading

Abraham Lincoln Award: Juliane Schlag, University of Hull

Marcus Cunliffe Award: Janet Aspley, University of Brighton

Malcolm Bradbury Award: Francesca White, University of Leicester

BAAS Postgraduate Travel Awards

Michael Docherty, University of Kent

Quintijn Kat, Institute of the Americas, University College, London

Toby Lanyon Jones, University of Leeds