Funding support for short courses and summer schools

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is inviting bids against its budget for short courses, summer schools and online training resources to be held in 2024.

STFC’s Education, Training and Careers Committee (ETCC) conducted a review of the summer schools in 2019 and recommended supporting the following fundamental schools for the core budget:

  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Introductory Course in Astronomy for New Research Students
  • British Universities Summer School in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics (BUSSTEPP)
  • STFC Introductory Course in Solar and Solar-terrestrial Physics
  • UK Nuclear Physics Summer School (occurs every two years)
  • STFC High Energy Physics (HEP) Summer School

The courses and schools listed will be expected to submit a satisfactory bid, should they wish to have support in 2024.

In 2023, ETCC is also inviting bids from organisers of online training resources to:

  • complement the residential schools
  • widen participation for those unable to attend residential schools

It is important for the resource to be made available to all STFC-funded students.

All other proposed summer schools or online training will be considered in competition for the remaining budget. Priority will be given to schools in areas not covered by the fundamental schools.

Short courses, summer schools and online training resources must be held in a core research activity supported by the STFC studentships programme:

  • astronomy
  • solar and planetary science
  • particle astrophysics
  • cosmology
  • particle physics
  • accelerator science
  • nuclear physics

They must be aimed primarily at STFC-funded PhD students. Every student should have the opportunity to attend an STFC-supported summer school.

Recent feedback from students and members of the STFC community has supported a request for schools (in addition to the research activities listed) in the areas of planetary science and advanced astronomy. STFC would like to reiterate that bids for courses in these areas are most welcome, in addition to other innovative courses within the STFC remit.

If you wish to submit a bid for a residential or online summer school, short course, or hybrid of both, please see the following guidance and use the most appropriate bid template to justify costs.

All short course, summer school and online training resource bids must be contained within three sides of A4 and provide the following information:

  • course organiser details, date and venue of the proposed course or school
  • justification for the course, in terms of its relevance to the STFC studentships programme
  • the number of STFC PhD students who would benefit from the course or school
  • a detailed breakdown of the budget requested using the summer school and online course costs template and including justification of these costs:
    • management fee: previous schools have employed postdoctoral students and students to assist with the running of the school and found these a valuable source of support. You may either claim these costs at the appropriate hourly rate or claim a one off £500 management fee
    • the maximum for any social excursion or conference dinner should be £50 per student (£60 in London)
    • contingency costs should be 5% of the total cost or £1,500 (whichever is the least)
  • information on funding or in-kind contributions to be provided from other sources: we expect holders of summer schools to seek commercial sponsorship wherever possible, while retaining the scientific ownership of the school. For example:
    • a company logo to be included on the event website
    • branded notepads for attendees
    • a specific, identifiable contribution such as a conference dinner or transport
  • details of the proposed lectures and courses (all courses should include sessions on public engagement). Broader issues of undertaking a PhD, including mental health and introductory courses, should include a session on careers advice covering both academic and non-academic careers

There is an expectation for Ernest Rutherford Fellows to participate as lecturers or tutors. You may also approach UKRI Future Leader Fellows in the STFC remit.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

STFC is committed to ensuring that its policies and practices reflect the diverse needs and experiences of its employees and other stakeholders. Organisers of an STFC-funded summer school are required to ensure that the arrangements for the school:

  • comply with the UKRI key principles of the UKRI equality and diversity policy
  • place no barriers in the way of participation by students from any of the protected groups (gender, disability and race)
  • involve no discrimination or bias against any of the protected groups in the selection of lecturers


Recognising the important part played by role models in retaining under-represented groups in the STFC-funded community, organisers should seek to ensure that the diversity of lecturers reflects that of the wider community.

If successful, organisers are required to provide a report to the STFC ETCC upon completion of the course. The report should include student feedback and gender balance between students. The report will be shared with future hosts.

Organising a summer school, short or online course

See our guidance on organising a summer school, short or online course.

Contact us

For further information on this funding

Email Jemma Wilson:

For advice on public engagement

Email Neville Hollingworth:

Last updated: 3 July 2023

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