The Nahrein Network


Research Grants

The Research Grants Awards fund Iraqi-led research into the sustainable development of Iraqi history, heritage and the humanities. The scheme is currently closed and will re-open in early 2022.

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The awards

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

There are two deadlines every year: 15 May and 15 November. Applicants may submit only ONE application in each round. 

This scheme offers 3 types of grants:

  • Starter grant: up to £10,000 over 12 months
  • Small grant: up to £30,000 over 18 months
  • Large grant: up to £100,000 over 24 months, no more than £30,000 spent outside Iraq 
Read about the large projects previously funded by the Nahrein NetworkRead about the small projects previously funded by the Nahrein Network

Eligibility - who can apply?

  • Iraqi researchers, with or without international collaborators
  • Researchers do not need to have a PhD but they need to demonstrate their capacity to conduct research
    • Small and starter grants must be led by:
      • an Iraqi researcher employed by, or with another formal affiliation with, an Iraqi university, registered cultural heritage organisation, NGO or community group. All Iraqi organisations that the Nahrein Network funds must be formally registered with relevant authorities in Iraq
    •  Large grants may be led by:
      • Either an Iraqi researcher employed by, or having another formal affiliation with, an Iraqi university, registered cultural heritage organisation, NGO or community group, who has previously successfully led a Nahrein Network-funded project to completion
      • 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 eligible for small grants, above) is in the project’s leadership team and at least 70% of the budget is to be spent in Iraq

Who CANNOT apply:

  • current students
  • applicants wanting funding for a project to do with:
    • archaeological fieldwork 
    • conservation of heritage sites, buildings or collections
    • work directly with children
    • work that does not involve research

If your work involves heritage conservation, please consult the funding offered by the ALIPH Foundation or the Prince Claus Fund.

If your work involves manuscripts and archives, there is funding available with the Bibliotheque National De France and the 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. Projects may also charge up to 20% of staff costs as institutional overheads. All costs must be fully justified in the application form. Please also note:

  • In order to transfer funds to Iraq, a transfer charge of up to 3% of Iraq costs should be included.
  • 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

Full details are included in the guidance on the application form itself. Please send queries about eligibility to nahrein@ucl.ac.uk at least two weeks ahead of the submission deadline.

How to apply 

  1. Download the application form.
  2. Fill in all the relevant sections. The application form cannot be modified, except for the tick boxes (☐), dates (marked with: Click or tap to enter a date), text fields (marked with: Click or tap here to enter text or grey empty space)
  3. Run through the Submission checklist on page 17, section H, to confirm that you have completed and/or signed all relevant sections and have assembled all the necessary letters of support
  4. Make sure you have all the statements of support and any registration certificates in PDF or JPG/PNG formats. These are not very large files and they are scanned/photographed and can be read clearly  (no cut-out text or unreadable sections)
  5. Please create just one PDF containing the application form and any supporting statements/certificates. Name your file in format applicantname_homeinstitutionname.pdf  (e.g., oanaborlea_ucl.pdf; zainabmahdi_ucl.pdf)
  6. Go to the submission page and follow the instructions there. 

Tips on entering data in the Word form fields

Please be aware the form fields might not work properly on older versions of MS Word. Please read the below suggestions for getting around some known questions:

  • Entering a new line in a form field: this can be done by clicking into the field and then pushing the Shift and Enter keys together.
  • Fields don't allow data entry: feel free to attach an extra page to the final PDF and add the missing information there. 
  • Fields don't allow for a new line/paragraph: feel free to attach an extra page to the final PDF and add the missing information there. 
    • if you are adding an extra page, please make sure to indicate which section and question they belong to, so the reviewers know where it belongs. 



The selection process

The Nahrein Network team assesses all applications 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 feasibility of the proposed management plan, timetable and budget;
  • the viability and suitability of the project's planned outputs, dissemination and publication strategies;
  • 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;  
  • the degree to which the project addresses relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Support for funded projects

Each funded project is assigned a liaison officer from the core Network team, who offers mentoring and support. Each project leader is required to provide a short progress report 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.

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.