Introducing the BIEA

The British Institute in Eastern Africa has been active since 1960 and has its research centre  with accommodation, lecture facilities, work space and reference library in Nairobi, Kenya. The Institute is a registered charity which exists to promote research in all the disciplines in the humanities and social sciences within the wider region of eastern Africa. It offers financial support , affiliation services and logistical assistance to research projects, and runs a graduate attachment scheme. The Institute publishes a regular newsletter as well as the journal Azania: archaeological research in Africa and the Journal of Eastern African Studies.

Membership is open to all and we would be delighted if you would join us.


Call for Applications: BIEA Thematic Research Grants

Every year the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA) invites applications for our small Thematic Research Grants. These funds are usually dispersed through two calls for applications per year. This is the first call for applications in the 2021/22 year. Please pay attention to this  webpage  in November 2021 for the second 2021/22 grant call deadline information.

The BIEA invites applications for funding for original research projects in any discipline in the humanities and social sciences in eastern Africa. Projects that fall outside of these disciplinary areas are not considered (for example, we do not fund projects in STEM subjects). However, projects in Africa beyond eastern Africa may be considered. We define eastern Africa as stretching from Sudan down to Mozambique, and Zambia across to Madagascar. We particularly welcome applications from researchers or research teams who have limited access to other sources of funds, and which engage with one or more of the following thematic areas. Priority is given to researchers based in the UK or eastern Africa.

  1. Epidemics, pandemics and epizootics
  2. Citizens and science
  3. Knowing environments
  4. Technologies of politics
  5. Urban lives
  6. Retelling the past

The BIEA seeks to support early career researchers and scholars in eastern Africa, and is keen to fund small projects that lay the ground for larger projects.  Researchers may include postgraduate students in eastern African or the UK; people who have not followed conventional research careers but whose local knowledge or contacts make them well-fitted to conduct high quality research; and/or collaborative projects which might involve more established scholars but where the resources are ring-fenced for early career or Africa-based project partners.

Grants are normally between £500 and £1,000, but up to £1,500 may be awarded. The grant should contribute towards actual research costs and not include institutional overheads, equipment, and applicant’s stipend or publication costs.

The   application form   with details of supporting documents required can be downloaded here. The form and all supporting documents (including two references) must be submitted by email to  [email protected]  by  Friday 14 May 2021. Please note that late applications will not be considered. 

Successful applicants will be notified in June 2021.  If you have not heard from us by the end of June, please consider your application unsuccessful this time. Queries should be addressed to  [email protected]

Learn Kiswahili with BIEA

The British Institute in Eastern Africa will be hosting our first intensive 2-week online Kiswahili language course during September 2021. The course is aimed at researchers who are conducting or planning to conduct research in Eastern Africa with priority to be given to postgraduate students and early-career researchers. Through group and individual lessons and using a variety of teaching materials including videos and written resources such as local newspapers, students will learn essential communication skills needed to live and work in much of Eastern Africa.

To apply for a place please send the following documents to  [email protected]  by 30 June 2021:

  1.  Cover letter including details of any experience of Kiswahili you currently have, your plans to use your new language skills should you be awarded a place on the course, and how Kiswahili language skills would contribute to your career development (2 pages) 
  2. Curriculum Vitae (2 pages) 
  3. Letter of support (from your supervisor if a postgraduate student) 

Please note that, only the successful candidates will be communicated to by the 20 July. If you do not hear from us by this date, it’s because your application was not successful this time.