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Applying for funding

Most medical schools will have a list of funding opportunities available. These are competitive, and many are specific to a particular school or a specific area of study (for example, child health in South East Asia). Other organisations (for example, the BMA) and national specialty bodies (such as the British Societies of the various major specialties) have advertisements on their websites.
It’s also worth being proactive – speak to your peers, ask foundation doctors, talk to your supervisor and search the internet – you might be surprised what funding is on offer.
Top tips for applying for funding
  • Make a list of the requirements of the funding grant, and make sure you address them. You can put these in a covering letter to the organisation to make it absolutely clear that you have addressed each point. You may not get the award, but at least you will have satisfied all of the criteria.
  • Don’t leave any bits out! Bursary forms can often be complicated. Take your time.
  • Make sure you have a structured costing for the approach: this means having an estimate of exactly what things will cost, for example, you could try getting a cheap accommodation quote. This way the funding body knows what to expect.

It turned out that there was a bursary scheme organised by the university. No one really knew about it, and it was only at the last second that I actually got something down on paper. In the end, after a short interview, me and a partner got funded to the tune of £500 each, from a bursary we’d never heard of. We were most grateful, and pleased to provide the funder with information relating to our elective report. It was good for the CV too! Remember, most elective placements won’t charge for a student to be trained there, but it’s worth checking.
4th year student, Birmingham University