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Diversity and inclusion

Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund

An innovative fund instigated by leading physicist Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell and the Institute of Physics to encourage greater diversity in physics by assisting PhD physics students from underrepresented groups.

The Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund is for full- or part-time graduates wishing to study towards a doctorate in physics and from groups that are currently underrepresented in physics.

Watch the video below to hear from Jocelyn on why the fund was set up, why people should apply and other ways to be involved.

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Meet the 2024 awardees

We’re delighted to reveal the eight awardees of the 2024 Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund. They are:

Read more and find out about our past awardees

Video: the impact of the fund

Jocelyn and some of the awardees talk about the impact the fund is making.

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Find out more about the fund’s impact in this piece by selection panel chair Professor Helen Gleeson.

About Jocelyn Bell Burnell

The fund is made possible thanks to Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell’s generous donation of her £2.3m Breakthrough Prize.

The woman behind the fund

In her journey to the highest levels of physics achievement, Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell has faced many challenges.

Read about her journey

Jocelyn’s journey of discovery

In this interview with the University of Cambridge, Jocelyn recalls the extraordinary moment she discovered pulsars, and talks about her altruistic efforts with the IOP to help more underrepresented students study physics. 

Watch the video on YouTube

Read the Physics World interview:
Jocelyn Bell Burnell reveals the motivations behind her new $3m graduate-student fund

Who can apply

The fund is for full- or part-time graduates wishing to study towards a doctorate in physics, from groups that are currently underrepresented in physics.

Hear the inspiring stories of these physics PhD students

Stephanie Merritt, 32, third year PhD at Queen’s University Belfast, astronomer specialising in the atmospheres of exoplanets, from Surrey.

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Ozioma (Ozi) Kamalu, 24, fourth year undergrad at Edinburgh, studying astrophysics, originally from Bristol.

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Selina Dhinsey, 24, second year PhD student at Liverpool studying the medical physics end of particle physics, from Wolverhampton.

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How to apply

Applications for 2023/2024 are now closed.

You can still view a sample application form (PDF, 332KB).

Email [email protected] for further information or register your interest in the fund to receive further updates as they become available.

2023/2024 grants calendar

  • 3 October 2023 – Fund is open for applications
  • 5 December 2023 – Panel Q & A session with public (virtual)
  • 19 January 2024 – Application submission deadline
  • 22 January-16 February 2024 – Grants Manager review for eligibility (Stage 1)
  • 19-29 February 2024 – Stage 1 unsuccessful applicants notified
  • 19 February-11 March 2024 – Panel’s assessment of eligible applications and shortlisting (Stage 2)
  • 12-18 March 2024 – Stage 2 unsuccessful applicants notified
  • 8 April 2024 – Panel interviews shortlisted applicants and selects awardees (Stage 3)
  • End of April 2024 – All interview candidates notified of outcome

Frequently asked questions

Visit our FAQ page for further details about the fund.

You can also find further information for students and prospective host universities/institutions below.

Downloadable guide

A guide to the fund

Download the guide for more information about eligibility criteria and information for students and prospective host universities/institutions.

Download the guide (PDF, 5.18MB)

Information on progress reports for studentships

As a part of the monitoring and evaluation of the Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund studentships, the IOP requires the student and their lead supervisor to submit a progress report at various intervals during the award.

How the fund is administered

The fund is administered and managed by the IOP and supported by a panel that reviews qualifying applicants and selects those to be funded. Find out more about how the fund is administered.

Committed to opening up physics

Professor Helen Gleeson, Cavendish Professor of Physics at the University of Leeds and chair of the selection panel for the Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund, explains why she is committed to opening up physics to people from non-traditional backgrounds.

Read more from Helen

Other sources of funding

For other sources of funding, studentships and scholarships that you may be eligible for, please see the links below:

Contact us