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The Physics Benevolent Fund

Find out more about the independent charity that offers financial support to IOP members facing hardship.

The Institute of Physics Benevolent Fund is an independent charity that is administered by a Board of Trustees which meets regularly to consider applications for support.

Also known as the Physics Benevolent Fund, it has provided and continues to provide help to members and those eligible for membership of the Institute of Physics (IOP) including their dependants, and members of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) and their dependants, when facing a critical need that they cannot otherwise meet.

The Physics Benevolent Fund has provided help for members affected by issues such as unemployment, sickness, financial hardship in old age or unforeseen career breaks. Most recently, during the pandemic, the Fund has actively supported those who have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

Financial help when you need it most…

Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts has been challenging for all of us and has shown us that circumstances beyond our control can have unexpected and significant consequences.

The Physics Benevolent Fund exists to offer financial help during tough times – including COVID-19 – and can assist individuals and their dependants hit by financial worries and difficulties brought on by a range of factors including the loss of a job, illness or disability, or meet the need for support because of issues arising during PhD study. Support through the Physics Benevolent Fund can also help ease the stress of financial hardship with issues arising after retirement or following an unexpected life event.

Professor Julian Jones OBE, Chair of the Physics Benevolent Fund, comments: “The Physics Benevolent Fund is designed to provide vital support when you need it most, without judgement and with discretion.

“Over the years the Fund has helped many people in the physics community get back on their feet, and to relieve some of the stresses that financial hardship can bring. We want to make sure that the Fund is as inclusive as possible and that everyone in the physics community knows that its help is available to them.

“We are particularly keen to ensure that people who are under-represented in the physics community, including people from diverse or disadvantaged backgrounds, know that the Physics Benevolent Fund is here to help them.”

Making an application to the Fund has no impact on your membership and is treated in the strictest of privacy.

How the Physics Benevolent Fund has helped

Case studies of who the Fund has supported, from Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war to members with long-term health problems.

Read more

Who can apply for funds?

Applicants must be a member of the IOP, and/or a member of IPEM, or the dependant of a member of either organisation.

In certain cases, the Trustees can consider funding for those who are eligible for membership of either IOP or IPEM but unable to afford to take out membership at this time.

What are the eligibility criteria for funding?

The following covers some key eligibility criteria; however, if you are suffering financial hardship but do not think you fall under the criteria listed below, we encourage you to contact us anyway, as we can consider applications on a case-by-case basis and may still be able to help.

You may be eligible to apply for Physics Benevolent Fund support if:

  • you are studying for a PhD and unexpected financial challenges arise, or you need help to attend conferences or meetings when no other support is available.
  • you have lost your job.
  • your circumstances have become unexpectedly reduced, for example through physical or mental illness.
  • you have incurred unforeseeable costs, such as for caring responsibilities or to pay for carer support.

The Fund can provide support for PhD students, who would normally be affiliated to either the IOP or the IPEM, in two situations:

  • where an unexpected situation has arisen causing financial hardship and where a grant will enable a return to a sustainable situation.
  • to provide additional experience, beyond which their university should reasonably be expected to fund, that would support a student’s research programme.

In both cases, we require a statement from the student’s university supporting the application including an outline of the support the university is already providing.


The Physics Benevolent Fund can provide support to assist professional physicists affected by the war in Ukraine. Applicants are not required to be IOP or IPEM members to receive this help and can apply via the same process, and will be asked to provide the name and contact details for a referee able to support and verify the application.

Read our full FAQs on the Physics Benevolent Fund

How to apply

To apply for support from the Physics Benevolent Fund, please complete the application form (DOC, 29KB) and send it to [email protected]. If you need the form in a different language, please advise by email.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch by completing the form: the Physics Benevolent Fund is here to help you or your loved ones, and any conversation or application will be treated with strict confidence.

The Physics Benevolent Fund is registered charity no. 209746.