The Athenaeum Awards are open to all RCS staff members to apply for funds of up to £3,000. The awards can fund small projects or part-fund larger projects, collaborations, or research led by RCS staff. There are three types of Athenaeum Awards:

  • Research Award – for staff to develop and broaden their research, arts practice, and networks, as well as encouraging groundwork in early-stage ideas for ambitious and scalable research projects.
  • Knowledge Exchange Award – to support staff engagement with new partners, making work in new contexts, innovative projects, as well as supporting work that contributes to arts advocacy and policy development.
  • Conference Presentation Award – for staff presenting a paper, chairing/participating in a panel, or leading a discussion or a workshop at a conference. If none of the above apply, you are not normally eligible for Athenaeum Award funding to attend this conference.  If applying for a Conference, please use the Conference Application form which can be found in the guidelines.
Athenaeum Award Oliver Searle dance collaboration with the Eunju Shin Dance Company South Korea

Photograph of Eunju Shin Dance Company in South Korea during a collaboration with Athenaeum Award Winner, Dr Oliver Searle .

If submitting a Research proposal, the outputs and objectives of the project must meet high standards of research significance, originality and academic rigour.

If submitting a Knowledge Exchange proposal, your outputs and objectives must reflect the Conservatoire’s Knowledge Exchange principles in that they involve external partners and/or are socially-meaningful and/or have commercial potential. In particular, this requires that project outcomes be of direct use and interest to those beyond Higher Education in a clearly defined way.

The funds may cover the following areas:

  • Achievable projects, already under development, that need a small amount of funding for completion, e.g. performance or recording of a newly written work, publication etc.
  • Kick starting new projects with new collaborative partners, including; individuals, micro companies, SMEs, arts and community organisations.
  • Write up time; allowing part-time or part-time hourly paid staff member the equivalent of up to 70 hours teaching time to finish up an ongoing piece of research for journal submission (full time staff members may not apply for time related costs).
  • Funding for participation, travel and subsistence costs towards conferences or performances.
  • Any other endeavour or project, including residencies, that have potential for a research or knowledge exchange output and outcome.

The Research & Knowledge Exchange hopes to encourage a greater agency from the staff base with an easy access funding route. It is also intended to capture projects early on and seed them, helping them grow into larger projects in the future. The awards offer the chance for added prestige to external funding applications, and successful recipients will be able to state that they have received an Athenaeum Award on future documentation.

Example Applications 

The Research & Knowledge Exchange have provided example applications for your reference. Please note that these applications are demonstrative but following the suggestions provided does not guarantee a successful application. Awards are limited by annual budgets and every round is highly competitive.

See an Example Application for a Knowledge Exchange project.

See an Example Application for a Research project.

See an Example Budget.

See examples of successful applications from October 2022 and February 2023.


Athenaeum Award applications are reviewed and chosen by the members of the Research & Knowledge Exchange Committee (RKEC). RKEC meets three times over the course of each academic year, the deadline for each round of awards is usually two weeks before the Committee Meeting.

Deadlines for the 2023-2024 Academic Year are as follows:

  • Monday 9 October 2023 at 17:00
  • Monday 5 February 2024 at 17:00
  • Monday 6 May 2024 at 17:00

Please ensure you have read all of the Guidelines and included ALL of the information before submitting an application.  Application forms can be found on the Guidelines, and also here:

Completed applications should be be uploaded here.

If you need any advice on your Award Application, the Research Team can provide mentoring and guidance. Please contact the Research Development Officer ( if you would like to be set up with a one-to-one session with a member of the team. Alternatively, you can attend a drop-in Research Clinic which typically occur one or two weeks prior to the award deadline – details are circulated to staff in advance.