Diversity and inclusion

Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund

A scholarship fund to support full- or part-time graduates who wish to study towards a doctorate in physics and are from groups that are currently under-represented in physics.

About the fund

The IOP and leading physicist Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell launched the Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund to encourage greater diversity in physics. The fund is made possible thanks to Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell's generous donation of her £2.3m Breakthrough Prize.

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

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.

If you have any queries about the fund, please email [email protected].

If you have any feedback about the fund, please complete the feedback form.

If you are interested in contributing to the fund, please email [email protected].

Download the guide to the Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund (PDF,  5MB) with the eligibility criteria and information for students and prospective host universities/institutions.

Visit our FAQ page for further details about the Fund. 

Jocelyn Bell Burnell - video

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

    How to apply

    Applications are now open.

    1. Read the guidance notes (PDF, 328KB)
    2. Read the terms and conditions of award (PDF, 265KB)
    3. View the outlines for the three sections of the application, so you know what to expect: Student section (PDF, 224KB), Lead Supervisor section (PDF, 155KB), Head of School section (PDF, 239KB)
    4. Complete your application online by 22 January 2021


    1 October 2020 Fund open for applications
    11 December 2020 Q&A session with panel
    22 January 2021 Applications close
    25 January - 26 February 2021 Grants Manager reviews applications for eligibility
    1-12 March 2021 Panel assessment of eligible applications and shortlisting
    12 April 2021 Interview of shortlisted applicants
    End of April Awardees notified

    Register for updates

    You can also register your interest in the fund to receive updates as they become available.

    Register your interest in the Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund

    Other sources of funding

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

    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.

    Meet the 2020 awardees

    We're delighted to reveal the four awardees of the 2020 Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund. They are:

    Hear how Dame Jocelyn aims to help 'physics thrive'

    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.

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

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