The Nahrein Network


Research Grants

The Research Grants scheme funds Iraqi-led research into the sustainable development of Iraqi history, heritage and the humanities. The scheme is now closed.

The Awards

These awards support interdisciplinary research on themes relating to one or more of the Nahrein Network's six aims, to encourage the sustainable development of history, humanities and heritage in Iraq, including KRI.  

Each year we aim to fund 5–6 projects of up to 2 years duration, led by Iraqi researchers. We particularly encourage projects led by women, and warmly welcome applications to build on research previously funded by the Nahrein Network. 

  • Read about the projects previously funded by the Nahrein Network (2017–22)


Who can apply? 

You can apply if you are: 

  • Either: an Iraqi researcher employed by, or having another formal affiliation with, a university, registered cultural heritage organisation, NGO or community group in Iraq (including KRI) 
  • Or: a researcher employed by, or having another formal affiliation with, an Iraqi or non-Iraqi university, registered cultural heritage organisation, NGO or community group, provided at least one Iraqi researcher (as defined above) is in the project’s leadership team and at least 70% of the budget is to be spent in Iraq 

Who CANNOT apply? 

You are not eligible to apply if you:

  • are a student
  • are a current member of Nahrein Network’s Management Committee 
  • want funding for a project to do with archaeological fieldwork  or conservation of heritage sites, buildings or collections 
  • want funding for a project to work directly with children 
  • want funding for a project to do work that does not involve research (creating new knowledge)
  • want funding for a project to do research that does not have social, economic or cultural benefit for Iraq/KRI

If your work involves heritage conservation, please consult the funding offered by the ALIPH Foundation or Cultural Emergency Response 

If your work mostly involves conserving manuscripts and archives, there is funding available with the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme 

Eligible Costs

The Research Grants scheme pays for direct costs on the project, including staff salaries, travel and subsistence, equipment, and so on. We also offer up to 20% of staff costs as institutional overheads.

We do not ask for a budget at the Expression of Interest stage. If you are shortlisted, the Nahrein Network’s core team will work with you to develop a detailed budget to fit the project, typically between £10,000 and £100,00 for a two-year project.

  • UK university applicants should note that, as the Network is no longer funded by AHRC, UKRI budgeting rules no longer apply. Please discuss with your research finance team, at least a month ahead of submission, whether your university will be able to classify this scheme as meeting the Frascati definition of sponsored research.  

  • The Nahrein Network partners with StarsOrbit (Jordan) to ensure swift and reliable transfer of funds to Iraq. 

Please send queries about eligibility to nahrein@ucl.ac.uk at least two weeks ahead of the submission deadline. 

Application and Selection Process 

Phase 1: Expressions of Interest 

  • In phase 1 we ask you only to tell us about yourself, your proposed project, and why the Nahrein Network should fund your research 
  • At this stage we will not ask you for a budget, management plan, or risk assessment 
  • The annual deadline for submitting an Expression of Interest is  31 October 
  • You may submit only  ONE  Expression of Interest each year. 

Phase 2: Assessment, interview and shortlisting 

  • All eligible Expressions of Interest are assessed by international peer review college, composed of expert members outside Iraq 
  • Applicants may also be invited to a short online interview 
  • Up to 10 projects will be shortlisted. You will be notified in late December or early January 

Phase 3: Development 

In the first few months of the year the Nahrein Network’s core team helps shortlisted applicants to develop: 

  • Project timeline (up to 2 years) and management structure 
  • Budget  
  • Ethics approval and risk review 
  • Support letters, if needed, from your employer/university/ministry 
  • Due diligence and contracts 
  • Brand use and social media strategy 

Projects begin once all elements are in place. Project plans that have not made sufficient progress by the end of May each year will not be awarded funding.

You can also watch our recorded Research Grant Awards Scheme Q&A Webinar on our YouTube channel, where we go over eligibility, application process and answer participants questions in detail. The webinar is in English, Arabic and Kurdish.

Selection Criteria 

The Nahrein Network’s peer review college assesses all Expressions of Interest according to the following criteria:  

  • the quality, value and urgency of the proposed research;  
  • the qualifications and experience of the applicant(s) to manage and conduct this research; 
  • the likely long-term sustainability and/or impact of the project; 
  • the degree to which the project meets the aims and addresses the themes of the Nahrein Network. 

Support for Funded Projects 

Each funded project is assigned a liaison officer from the core Network team or Management Committee, who offers mentoring and support. Each project leader is required to provide a short progress report and financial statement to the Network's Management Committee every 6 months, to ensure that peer support is in place, budgeting is on track, and that project outcomes, network development, and future sustainability are being achieved. 

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://youtu.be/KtlafPpxuow?si=UMKX3gpX0pwkVowx


How to Apply

A form will be avaiable when the scheme re-opens. 

We recommend that you: 

  • Copy the questions into a Word document and use that to draft and prepare your replies.
  • Write at least a paragraph in answer to questions 6–13. Long answers help the assessors understand your ideas more clearly. If you write one-sentence answers your project will not be shortlisted. 
  • Once done, copy-paste your replies into the required fields and submit the form. This way, you can edit offline and not fear losing your data due to internet issues. 

Please send queries to nahrein@ucl.ac.uk  at least two weeks ahead of the submission deadline. 

Equal Opportunities  

The Nahrein Network is committed to eliminating unlawful discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity and good relations across and between the defined equalities groups in all of their relevant functions.  

Accordingly, no eligible funding applicant or external stakeholder should receive less favourable treatment on the grounds of gender, marital status, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins, religion or similar philosophical belief, spent criminal conviction, age or disability.  

Equally, all proposals will be assessed on equal terms, regardless of the sex, age and/or ethnicity of the applicant. Proposals will, therefore, be assessed and graded on their merits, in accordance with the criteria and the aims and objectives set for each call for funding.