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The Bible Society Academic Grants Programme

For years now British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS) has quietly and wonderfully supported research students working on areas related to the Bible and contemporary life. KLC has entered into an agreement with BFBS to manage their programme in this respect. You can find important information related to the BFBS Academic Grant Programme, as well as the link to the application form below.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the number of students now being supported by the BFBS research grants we are closed for new applications for 2024-2025.

The Application Process

  1. Applicants research must take place in England or Wales and applicants must be based in England or Wales when applying. 
  2. Applications for funding are made via an online form and come in to KLC through our online application system. 
  3. KLC assesses applications and makes recommendations to BFBS. KLC then informs applicants of decisions. 
  4. Applications are assessed once a year in August. Thus applications must be submitted by 31 July at the latest for consideration at the next meeting.
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Essential Grant Application Information

(Please read before applying)

We invite applications for full or part funding of fees for M.Phil/PhD research projects which fit either criteria A or criteria B below.

A: The Bible in the Church

This stream of research should address questions of how the Bible is encountered in church communities and amongst individual Christians within England and Wales. It may focus on particular tribes, denominations or streams of Christians, or particular demographic groups. In addition to examining explicit engagement with the Bible or Lectionary texts, research may also focus on how the Bible is experienced through practices, people or the fabric around gathered church communities.

We are particularly interested in research proposals that examine how Christians grow in confidence with the Bible, or the barriers that can disrupt growth in Bible confidence. Alongside this, we welcome applications with a specific focus on:

  • the Bible amongst children and young people
  • the Bible in communities with lower literacy levels
  • the Bible in Charismatic and Pentecostal expressions
  • the Bible in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic church communities


B: The Bible in Society

This stream of research should address questions of how the Bible is encountered in the public space by people in England and Wales. It may focus on individual, group or broader societal and structural engagement with the Bible. It may focus on how the Bible shapes Christian interaction and presence in wider society, or how the Bible is experienced or understood at a distance from the practising Christian community.

We are particularly interested in research proposals that address the question of how Christians can best relate the Bible to their public lives. Alongside this, we welcome applications with a specific focus on:

  • the Bible in Early Years, Primary or Secondary Education
  • the Bible in the digital space
  • the Bible and ‘non-religious spirituality’
  • the Bible in the workplace
  • the relevance of the research to Bible Society’s overall strategic objectives, and specifically to the funding criteria of the Bible in the Church or the Bible in Society
  • the knowledge, expertise, commitment, and judgement, of the applicant, the coherence of the proposal, and the ability of the applicant to express their thoughts clearly and concisely
  • the impact the research will have on Bible Society’s mission and the wider field of knowledge in this area
  • the ability and scope for sharing and disseminating the research and its insights, both within Bible Society and with our partners


Before applying applicants will need to have been offered a place at an institution to conduct this research, and have a supervisor in place.

Applicants will be required to submit:

  • the online application form linked to below and, as part of the online form, also upload the following (preferably in PDF format):
  • a proposal of no more than 2000 words, focusing on the aims, research questions and methodology of the research, suggestions for impact and wider dissemination of the potential insights gained, and a literature review. 
  • an indicative bibliography to demonstrate an understanding of the existing knowledge in this field
  • a CV evidencing degree award, and any relevant work experience or awards


The Online Academic Grants Application Form itself will include information such as:

  • details of the institution and supervisor supporting the PhD
  • whether the study is full time or part time
  • how much funding is required, over what period of time
  • whether funding is being provided from alternative sources
  • a short outline of the proposal to show the nature of the research and distinct contribution it will make to knowledge in this subject area, as well as evidence how the research fits into the criteria and specific focus areas above


These areas of interest are not exclusive, and we welcome applications that may not easily fit into these criteria.

As a condition of receiving funding from Bible Society, applicants will be expected to:

  • provide Bible Society with a report every 6 months, detailing the progress of their research and any insights made
  • provide a final report on completion of the study of no more than two sides of A4
  • supply Bible Society with a copy of the completed thesis, either digitally or as a hard copy
  • be available for at least one Bible Society/KLC event per year to enable knowledge sharing and mutual support
  • participate in other opportunities to disseminate and share the research and its insights
  • Each year KLC will host an Annual Conference which will include space for PhD students to present on their research. Grant holders are required to participate in this event and to present. We are planning a conference for 2022 and an alert will go out on this page and through our KLC mailing list – you can sign up for our mailing list here.


If you are already a recipient of a BFBS academic grant, then please note that a report on your progress is required every six months on or before 31 January and 31 July. The report form is available here and it can be submitted online.

Once you have submitted the online application form (including uploading the required supporting documents), your application will be reviewed by the Academic Grants Review Panel.

Once your application has been reviewed against our funding criteria, we will write to you to confirm if you have been successful in receiving funding.

If you have been successful, we will confirm payment terms, usually directly to the institution in which you are studying, and any other arrangements that we need to make.

If you are unsuccessful, we may ask you to clarify or further elaborate on areas, and then to resubmit. You can also request further information as to why you were not successful, in order to aid resubmission for future funding.

Bible Society reserves the right to withdraw funding with at least 6 months’ notice, should the charity enter financial difficulties or undertake a significant change in strategic direction.

Holders of BFBS research awards are required to report every six months on their progress, namely, by 15 February and 15 August each academic year. You can submit your report online here. It should include:
  • your name and dissertation title 
  • an alert to any changes in your research topic 
  • progress with writing since your last report
  • confirmation that you are on track to complete by the requisite date 
  • any other information you want us to know 

Research is not better than other parts of the missio Dei, but it is an important part. In his classic, The Intellectual Life, A. G. Sertillanges refers to intellectuals as “athletes of the mind” and he says of them that they “must be prepared for privations, long training, a sometimes superhuman tenacity. We must give ourselves from the heart, if truth is to give itself to us. Truth serves only its slaves.” Research is wonderful, but it is not easy. Those called to it deserve and need our support and encouragement. 

Sadly, in much contemporary life a divide remains between church and academy. It ought not to be so. The church needs her athletes of the mind, and the athletes of the mind need the church. Indeed, research ought to enhance the church’s participation in the great missio Dei and to contribute to the flourishing of the world. This is the vision of both BFBS and KLC, and so we are delighted with this partnership. 

In its previous incarnations, first as the Whitfield Institute in Oxford, and then as KLICE, KLC did a great deal to support research students. The list is long and impressive. The first Director of KLICE, Dr Jonathan Chaplin, significantly enhanced this work with the conferences he organized for PhD students. Part of KLC’s arrangement with BFBS is to host a conference for research students each year. Holders of awards from BFBS will be required to present at such events, but our hope is that many other research students will find this event an invaluable place in which to build intellectual and spiritual community, share insights, and spur one another on in their work. The conference will be blended, with face to face and virtual participation, so that all those who wish to participate can.

To apply for a Bible Society Academic Grant, please select the button below to fill out and submit the online form:

For any queries regarding the Bible Society Academic Grant Programme, please send an email to admin@kirbylaingcentre.co.uk.