Overseas Fieldwork Expenses Scheme

There are limited funds available for Overseas Fieldwork Visits.  The funds are only available to ESRC funded Doctoral Researchers who are studying full-time and undertaking the doctoral element of their award.  This scheme is to be used to apply in advance for a contribution towards funding for Overseas Fieldwork visits, and applications must be supported by a full case from the student’s supervisor.

There is a notional award of £450 per student for Overseas Fieldwork, however not all Doctoral Researchers will undertake overseas fieldwork. Therefore, these funds will be used flexibly by the White Rose DTP (WRDTP) for those who make an application and are successful.  The actual allocation of funds for fieldwork is at the WRDTP’s discretion and the Academic Quality Committee (AQC) will oversee the process. The DTP is unlikely to be able to fully fund an OFE claim due to the limited funding. Normally the DTP WILL NOT fund OFE applications in excess of £5,000.

Eligibility & Funding Criteria

  • Students making an application to any of the WRDTP’s additional funding schemes will be asked to evidence their adherence to any relevant policies from their institution, by uploading the relevant documentation to the application form. This includes any relevant policies relating to the booking of travel and accommodation.  It is your responsibility to ensure that you adhere to the policies of your institution.  If you are unsure how to evidence this, please email enquiries@wrdtp.ac.uk prior to submitting your application
  • For any requests involving overseas travel, students should ensure that at the point of submitting their application, any mandatory periods of self-isolation/quarantine are taken into account when confirming the length/dates of a trip. 
  • Only full-time PhD students undertaking the +3 element of their award are eligible for this funding. It cannot be applied for by Masters students in the 1 of a 1+3 award.  Part-time students can become eligible for an overseas fieldwork grant if they transfer for a fixed period to a full-time status for the duration of the fieldwork.
  • Full-time ESRC studentship award holders undertaking the +3 element of their award may be able to make one claim for OFE in the life of the award (funding cannot be provided for students in their writing-up year). Normally, multiple fieldwork trips are not permitted.
  • The Overseas Fieldwork visit must have been outlined in the original ESRC award proposal.
  • The purpose of the visit should be to carry out fieldwork that is essential to the successful completion of a student’s thesis and be an integral part of the PhD. Applications will only be considered where the supervisor’s case for support provides sufficient evidence that the Overseas Fieldwork visit is essential to a student’s research.
  • This application is for a contribution towards the cost of an Overseas Fieldwork visit. As there are only limited funds available, not all costs will necessarily be met.  However students may use their Research Training Support Grant to supplement the costs associated with Overseas Fieldwork, but this is entirely at the student’s discretion. However, please note that applicants should not include a subsistence allowance as part of their costings document, we would expect this to be covered by the maintenance stipend.
  • If a student’s application for a contribution towards an Overseas Fieldwork visit is successful, a student may not change the dates or details of the visit without first informing the nominated contact at the relevant institution where the student is registered.
  • Students are expected to visit only one country. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that an appropriate visa is obtained.  If the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against visiting the country concerned, the relevant institution must not authorise payment of any contribution towards the visit costs.
  • The duration of an Overseas Fieldwork visit should not exceed twelve months.
  • It is mandatory that students take out insurance to cover their period of fieldwork. If for any reason the Overseas Fieldwork visit is cut short or cancelled, the nominated contact at the relevant institution where the student is registered must be informed immediately.  The University may demand a refund less any reasonable expenditure already incurred.
  • Students must comply with School/Faculty auditing processes.  Receipts must be provided on return from the Overseas Fieldwork visit – if the costs are found to be less than the contribution provided, a repayment will be required.  Where costs are incurred in advance, receipts must be provided before all funding can be released.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to seek alternative sources of funding and give these details on their application.

How to apply

You must read the scheme guidance above before completing the application form.

Students can preview a list of the application form questions by downloading the following file: WRDTP OFE Application Form Preview. An example (demonstrating best practice) of the costings document required as part of the application form (see item 1 below) can be viewed here.

All applications for OFE funding must be made in advance by the award-holder using the WRDTP OFE Application Form.

Within this form award-holders are required to detail the amount of funds required and to explain why such funds are requested.  Award-holders must secure the support and authorisation of their main supervisor for their application, confirming their need for the funding and that the student is making good progress.

The form requires the following file uploads. Please use following nomenclature when uploading to the Google Form.

  3. Your institution’s necessary documentation for overseas travel – e.g. approved risk assessment, travel insurance certificate etc (Section 1) – (STUDENT SURNAME_STUDENT FIRST NAME_HEI_OFE_COVID DOCUMENTATION)


If you are seeking funding for travel, we expect the relevant documents (risk assessments, evidence of travel insurance) to be complete and provided at the point of submitting your funding application. Applications without the necessary paperwork will not be reviewed. If you have any questions about this, please email enquiries@wrdtp.ac.uk before submitting your application.*

The student’s local university Postgraduate Scholarships Office is responsible for liaising with the student on matters relating to the award and any subsequent WRDTP funding scheme applications. The local nominated contacts at each university can be found on the Contacts Page in the VIRE.

Received applications are checked by the relevant Scholarships Officer to ensure they are eligible for OFE funding, logged and then passed to the Academic Quality Committee (AQC).

All applications received will be reviewed in conjunction with the award-holder’s original studentship application, their latest doctoral project plan, their Training Needs Analysis (TNA) and recent progress reports from their supervisory team. The WRDTP Office will notify the Scholarships Officer when a decision has been made as to their application.

Where Overseas Fieldwork visit funds are approved by the AQC, the funds will be internally transferred to the award-holder’s host department/school via the Scholarships Office. In cases where an application has been declined the reason for such a decision will be outlined in the notification.

WRDTP ESRC Funding Scheme Timescales

A call for applications will be made 4 times per annum, via the VIRE on the WRDTP website

Call Deadline AQC Panel
1 Friday 22 September 2023 Friday 3 November 2023 Thursday 9 November 2023
2 Friday 1 December 2023 Friday 26 January 2024 Friday 9 February 2024
3 Friday 8 March 2024 Friday 26 April 2024 Thursday 2 May 2024
4 Friday 10 May 2024 Friday 21 June 2024 Thursday 6 July 2024

*Panel decisions will be available no earlier than 10 working days after the panel sits.

If you are awarded funding from any of the ESRC schemes you agree to report back to the WRDTP on your OFE experience either on the VIRE Forum, a DTP Matters Newsletter article or by speaking at training sessions/conferences.  As a recipient of funding, any correspondence or event materials should be appropriately branded. Please see our Branding Information page in the VIRE for details.

If you have any questions please email enquiries@wrdtp.ac.uk.