A full list of funding & opportunities offered by the BIEA to support and facilitate researchers is found below. 

Please note, all funding & opportunities offered by the BIEA are available to our members. For details about becoming a member of our BIEA community please see here


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.

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, but not limited, 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 applicants.

Queries should be addressed to [email protected]

Advice for Applicants

BIEA’s research funding is competitive and we receive many more applications than we can fully fund. Your application must, therefore, make a clear and compelling case for why we should support your proposed research. Making such a case means briefly summarising the current state of knowledge and your research question, and explaining briefly how your chosen research methodology will help to advance knowledge, and contributes to the BIEA current research themes.  Your project also needs to be viable – that is, it has to be possible within the budget and time-frame you have set out – and meet all relevant ethical and health and safety regulations.  Your budget needs to be realistic and justify the amounts requested.  You must have a clear plan for dissemination so that people will hear about the results. For information about the most recent call for Thematic Research Grants see here.

Postdoctoral Writing Grants

BIEA offers support in the form of writing grants for scholars who have recently completed doctoral research within the disciplines of humanities and social sciences in eastern Africa. A writing grant provides a modest stipend for the completion and submission of a high impact publication to Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa or the Journal of Eastern African Studies, based on the results of the PhD research.

The writing grant covers a period of three months. The stipend is £1,000 per month, at the end of which the paper must be submitted to the relevant journal. Applicants must be able to confirm that they are either unemployed or only working a maximum of 15 hours per week in other employment during this time. 

Applications should take the form of the doctoral thesis abstract; a publication abstract and contents outline; a timetable for the completion of the publication; and a statement of support from the doctoral supervisor. 

For information about the most recent call for Postdoctoral Writing Grants see here.

Research Dissemination Grants: Bringing Research Home.

BIEA offers support for scholars who have recently completed doctoral research within the disciplines of humanities and social sciences in eastern Africa to return to the site of their research and present their findings to the community/ies with whom they worked, and to discuss further research potential with local stakeholders.  

Applications should take the form of the doctoral thesis abstract; a short narrative statement of proposed activities; a budget; and a statement of support from the doctoral supervisor. The maximum amount available is £2,500 per scholar. Successful applicants will be expected to supply several blog and social media posts for the BIEA and to be available for a public presentation about their trip.



BIEA offers affiliation services for non-Kenyan researchers. Affiliation to a registered research institution is a mandatory requirement to apply for an essential research permit with the National Commission for Science, Technology and innovation (NACOSTI).

We charge student researchers KES10,000 and postdoctoral researchers KES20,000. The following documents are needed to begin the affiliation process.

  • Letter of Introduction from your department
  • Letter of Ethical Clearance
  • Research Proposal
  • A Risk Assessment Form filled by you/ letter from your University
  • A  Data Protection Form filled by you/ letter from your University

Send your queries on affiliation to [email protected]

Learn Kiswahili with the BIEA

The BIEA hosts intensive online Kiswahili language courses. The courses are 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.

Applications should include:

  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) 

For information about upcoming Kiswahili language courses please see here.

PhD Forum

The BIEA’s PhD forum offers PhD students from anywhere in the world to hang out with peers in an environment designed to provide social support and help ease the isolation that can often be associated with PhD study. Hybrid participation enables people to join the PhD forum in person or face-to-face.  or BIEA members can sign up by emailing [email protected]

Reading Group

The BIEA has a reading group that meets every Thursday to discuss selected foundational texts in African studies and theory.  Texts are proposed and selected by members.  The discussions are held face to face at the BIEA premises, with an online platform where other members can participate.

To  join the BIEA’s African Studies and Theory Reading Group, please sign up by emailing  [email protected].

Graduate Attachment Scheme

BIEA graduate attachments offer recent graduates, with an interest in further studies in Africa, the opportunity to gain practical research experience and develop their networks in a three-month enrolment. 

While subject to change, BIEA graduate attachés:

  • Will develop specific research interests in the region, gain practical experience of conducting research by working as a research assistant on a number of innovative historical, archaeological, anthropological, political science and legal projects, gain trainings in research methods, and meet a variety of active researchers;
  • Assist with the administration of the BIEA including website, library, reading groups focused on key texts in African studies, workshops and seminars; and,
  • Conduct their own research usually leading into developing a plan for a Masters or PhD. Their attachment involves the presentation of a paper in the BIEA Completion Seminar Series upon some aspect of the research they have carried out during their time at BIEA;
  • Have the opportunity to take beginner’s Kiswahili classes.

As a graduate attaché, you receive a monthly stipend towards subsistence costs. There may also be opportunity to apply for a small research allowance, which will be discussed further with successful applicants.

To be eligible, you need a strong academic record, some experience of studying/researching Africa, and a clear interest in developing your own research. You should also be able to show significant initiative and be ready to offer enthusiastic assistance for various research projects and subsequent data analysis.

For information about current and upcoming calls for applications to our GAS schemes please see here.

Undergraduate Volunteer Programme

The Undergraduate Volunteering Programme is one of the training and capacity building opportunities at the BIEA. While participating in the programme at the BIEA, Nairobi-based current undergraduate, volunteers participate in our core research-centered BIEA business. Our volunteers receive guidance and support to develop their academic skills and interests, while connecting with academics and students from around the globe and assisting the BIEA in our aims and objectives..

‘I’m grateful to the BIEA for the Undergraduate Volunteer opportunity. It’s been an incredibly amazing experience having had a chance to develop vital skills that remain pivotal to my academic pursuits. With this opportunity, I managed to engage in the participation and organization of the Weekly BIEA Reading groups and PHD forums taking over email correspondences regarding the same. These platforms have and continue to profoundly build on my reading skills thus help me better understand how to engage in, interpret and shape scholarly conversations. This has indeed been and continues to be an Incredible space on academic development for me : Forever a member,’ LoiceOn’gere, UVP 2018.

’Undertaking the BIEA UV programme has been a great  honour. Coming from a legal background, it was refreshing to be exposed to a broad social sciences and humanities research environment.  I was also privileged to host a panel discussion on the Kenyan youth and corruption at the BIEA, a first for undergraduate volunteers. I enjoyed the stimulating discussions based on splendid book selections that characterized the weekly reading groups. The close interaction with both young and accomplished researchers was really the highlight of the programme that has strengthened my resolve to pursue research in the future. Gideon MawasiUVP 2018,

For the latest information about our UVP programme please see here