SIS Grants



The Scientific Instrument Society awards small grants, of up to £500 each, for research on the history of scientific instruments. This page outlines the criteria for the scheme and we recommend that you click here to see examples of previously supported projects. Once you’re ready to apply, please complete the online application form. We do not accept speculative CVs (Resumes).

Since September 2015, our grants fund has been supplemented by the Paul Bunge Prize, awarded to the Society for its role in publishing Brian Gee’s book, Francis Watkins and Dollond telescope patent controversy, edited by Anita McConnell and Alison Morrison-Low, details of which can be found here. The Society is delighted to have received this award and the enhanced funds will greatly assist future researchers through the grants programme.



SIS Research Grants are intended to support new research into the history of scientific instruments based on archival materials and/or museum collections. They are not intended to fund activities to which an applicant is already committed or to fund research into the development of new scientific instruments and medical technologies.

Grants may be used to cover any reasonable costs of research, including travel and photography. We cannot support applications for outreach projects and exhibitions.



Grants are open to applicants from any country, and both members and non-members of the Scientific Instrument Society may apply. Previous applicants are also welcome to apply, provided that an article based on their first research grant has already been submitted to the SIS Bulletin.

What we cannot support:

  • Conference fees, accommodation or travel costs
  • Any meals incurred during your research trip
  • The purchase of equipment such as camera, scanners, memory cards etc.



Please complete an application, as set out on the Grant Application page, and please send an email to stating that you have submitted your online application. The Grants Officer will respond to confirm receipt.

To ensure the best chance of success, please explain the following points in your project statement:

  • Why is this topic important in the history of scientific instruments?
  • How does this work relate to previous research on this topic, either by yourself or other researchers?
  • How will you conduct this research and what is your approximate project timetable?
  • If visiting a museum collection, have you already contacted the relevant curator to request access to the objects? Please provide details of specific historic instruments that you wish to inspect as part of your research trip.

Two rounds of applications will be considered each year. The deadlines for receipt of applications are 1 March and 1 September.

Applications will be reviewed by the Society's Committee shortly after each deadline. Applicants will normally be informed of the Committee’s decision a few weeks later. Due to the high number of applications we receive it will not normally be possible for us to fund all deserving projects. The amount of money offered may be less than the original amount sought. The Committee’s decision is final.



The grant awarded will paid against actual expenditure. Any and all claims on the grant should be accompanied by original tickets or receipts.

The grant is returnable if the project is abandoned, if the grant is misapplied, or if the agreed outcomes are not met within 3 years of the award date. If there is no progress on the research by the third anniversary of the award date (1 March or 1 September) then the grant will automatically be rescinded and the funds will be reallocated to new applicants in the next award session.

On completion of the project, grant-holders will be expected to report on the results of their research to the Society through publication in the Society’s Bulletin. We’re happy to accept a shortened summary article (approximately 2,000 words with a few images) if you’d like to publish a full-length article in a peer-reviewed journal at a later date. Grant applications are also expected to contribute a short (300 word) blog post about their research for the Society's website.

If a funded project is expected to take place over a substantial period, grant-holders will be required to provide an update every six months.

For further information, please contact