Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


IAS Octagon Small Grants Fund

The Octagon Small Grants Fund supports UCL-based early-career researchers and graduate students from Arts & Humanities, Social & Historical Sciences, and SSEES.

Octagon Small Grants Fund

How to apply  I  After you've applied  I  Successful applications  I  After the event  I  Forms and documents

The Octagon Small Grants Fund provides financial support for a range of interdisciplinary research activities led by graduate students and/or early-career researchers from the Faculties of Arts & Humanities and Social & Historical Sciences, and the School of Slavonic & East European Studies.

Academic year 2023-2024

Unfortunately the fund will not be open to any applications in 2023-24

How to apply

1. What can I apply for?

  • Theme-based conferences: applications may either be made for small themed mini-conferences, or for larger ones linked to applications for outside funding, using this as an institutional 'top-up'.
  • Seminar series which provide an opportunity to discuss and showcase UCL research, as well as funding visiting speakers and/or 'round table' events. These events may be followed by a reception, funding permitting.
  • Workshops which cross departments and/or disciplines.

See some examples of Octagon funded events.

An Octagon grant can cover most of the operational costs for holding an event, including accommodation and travel for speakers; catering costs; stipends for activists/artists etc. The funding panel will not approve requests for expenditure on stationery, printing branded merchandise, honorariums/speaker fees for academic/salaried staff or any other expenditure outside the parameters outlined in UCL’s Expenses Policy

2. How much can I apply for?

Up to £1,500 is available per application. Applicants are expected to provide detailed costings and to demonstrate how additional sources of funding have been sought and/or secured. Applicants should check before submitting the application for funding that their Departmental Administrator can assist with administrative support.

3. Who can apply?

Graduate students and/or early-career researchers (loosely defined as anyone within 5 years of finishing their PhD) from the Faculties of Arts & Humanities and Social & Historical Sciences, and the School of Slavonic & East European Studies; however, they may work in collaboration with other UCL faculties or external institutions.

4. What criteria are used to assess my application?

Applications must include a budget and proposed activity plan. Applications are favourably considered if they:

  • Demonstrate interdisciplinarity/ cross-departmental collaboration
  • Involve graduate students in organisation and presentation
  • Showcase the research of the Faculties of Arts & Humanities and/or Social & Historical Sciences and/or SSEES beyond UCL
  • Reflect engagement with postgraduate students and academic staff at other institutions

5. What is the deadline?

Unfortunately the fund will not be open to any applications in 2023-24. 

View the detailed guidance and download an application form

After you've applied

6. How is my application assessed?

Your application will be reviewed by a panel comprised of Vice Deans and Graduate Tutors from Arts & Humanities and Social & Historical Sciences. The panel will consider your application against the criteria outlined in Section 4 above.

7. How long will I need to wait until I hear the outcome of my application?

The review panel usually meets within two weeks of each deadline and outcomes are communicated shortly after the meeting takes place.

You may be asked to clarify some details of your application if the panel has raised any queries, and the panel will consider your application again on the basis of any additional information you have supplied.

Successful applications

8. What are the conditions of a successful application?

Successful applicants will be expected to:

  • Acknowledge funding support from the Octagon Small Grants Fund in promotional material for the event
  • Provide an event summary (with visuals where possible) to be displayed online to show how your event has used Octagon Small Grants funding

9. How do we obtain the funds?

Octagon Small Grants funds are claimed after the event has taken place. In the majority of cases, the applicant's department pays any upfront costs, which are then refunded via an internal transfer of monies after the event. All monies must be spent and claimed by 31st July.

10. How should I acknowledge that my event has been supported by the Octagon Fund?

The Octagon logo is available in number of different file formats for use in publicity. Please email the Octagon Administrator once you're ready to begin promoting your event, and we will send the files to you. Any digital promotion should include a link to the Octagon Funding website.

After the Event

15. How should I claim expenses?

If your department has paid the upfront costs of the event, your departmental administrator should submit an IDT to the Octagon Administrator, along with an overview of expenditures and copies of any receipts. If you paid the upfront costs personally, you should reclaim expenses either via iExpenses on MyFinance (for UCL staff and students) or via the General Expense Form (for visitors). All monies must be spent and claimed by 31st July. Please see the Guidance for Applicants (link below) for further information and contact the Octagon Administrator with any queries.

Please keep in mind the following general points related to expenses:

  • Keep all receipts as you will need these to process payment
  • Complete the expenses form with actual costs incurred. The items which you claim for should generally be the same as those listed in your original application
  • Please allow approximately 2 weeks for payment to be processed.

16. What sort of summary do you need for the website?

We ask that you provide a paragraph or two which summarises your event. This will be published on the Octagon Funding website to inform future applicants about the range of activities that are supported via the scheme. Event summaries and any images should be submitted within one month of the event taking place. 

Forms and guidance