Skip to main content
We sponsor research to bring about change in how women and girls are dealt with in the criminal justice system

Be inspired and take up the research challenge!

Are you a practitioner working with women or girls in criminal justice?

The Griffins Society Research Fellowship Programme offers a unique opportunity to explore your own interests or concerns about the treatment of women in the criminal justice system.

You must have an inquiring mind, but previous research experience is not necessary as the programme academic supervisors provide comprehensive supervision and support.

We positively encourage applications from a broad range of candidates, from the public, voluntary or private sectors, and from across all regions of the U.K., but Fellowships are not available to 'professional' researchers, full-time academics or those studying for a degree.  

As a fellow, you will become a visiting scholar with our partners, the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge, where you will have access to their extensive library and attend twice-yearly workshops on research techniques, methodology and data analysis. Fellows also attend regular meetings with our Board of trustees in London.

Fellowships are conducted alongside your own work on a flexible part-time basis and usually last for one year.  

At the end of your time with us, you are expected to submit a 10,000 word research findings paper which the society then considers for publication.

There is a modest award towards research expenses and a small additional travel bursary. 

" Being a fellow completely transformed my career; I developed some great professional relationships and was able to apply for jobs and further research opportunities with confidence and expertise. "
Louise Clark, Fellow 2006 'Provision of support for imprisoned adult female street-based sex workers'





Previous Fellows have found participation in the Programme hugely rewarding in a variety of ways, including the intellectual challenge of conducting their own research, having ‘thinking space’ to explore issues outside the confines of their usual work, and a chance to develop their careers. Several previous research projects have stimulated changes in policy and practice.

Now more then ever when there are enormous pressures on resources, inovative ideas for changes to practice and policy are critical. Through our fellowships programme, we offer you the chance to make a difference.

Have you got any questions?  

Have a look at the FAQ list below.

Not found what you're looking for?  

Then, Contact Us

Interested in applying?  Then following this link


" Completing the fellowship was I believe significant in being offered a further opportunity to work as a Research Associate on a project at Manchester University examining the impact of Arts interventions in criminal justice. I now work as a Senior Lecturer in criminology at Manchester Metropolitan university. The fellowship, alongside other key opportunities and experiences, contributed to building my skills and confidence to progress in my research / academic career.
Becky Clarke, Fellow 2004 'What works? for women who offend: a service user's perspective'
No. If as a male practitioner you are working with, or have access to, the group of women that your proposed research project is based on, you can apply to us for a fellowship. If you are in any doubt as to whether you would be eligible, contact us.
Yes, you are. We don’t require our fellows to be experienced researchers, although some knowledge will clearly help you, but our fellows vary from those with little or no experience to those who are very experienced. We provide assistance in the form of basic workshops on such subjects as research design, ethics and data analysis that are delivered by our partners, the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, and also through the support provided by our academic supervisors that each fellow is assigned.
The short answer is, yes, but with a caveat. The research that the society supports tends to be qualitative in nature and that means engaging with the women themselves. If you are not already working as a practitioner with the group of women you want to engage with, it will be extremely difficult for you to obtain the relevant access permissions. This is not to say that you won't be able to, but if you are not working directly with the particular group of women you want to engage with, you will need to tells us how you intend to gain access. Clearly, if your research is on an aspect of how practitioners themselves engage with women offenders, such that direct access to the women is not required, then this will not apply.
Once applications are open in the Spring, you will need to complete an application form, supply two supporting references (one from your employer and one from someone else who can vouch for your suitability for this work) and also write your research proposal. To be considered for our fellowships, you must supply ALL of these documents.
Applicants that are short-listed will be invited for an interview at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, usually in June and if successful, will be invited to take up the fellowship in September of that year.
The fellowship has a bursary associated with it. Fellows receive £1,000 when they start the fellowship and then a further £2,000 is payable on successful completion of the final Findings report (a 10,000 word report, Abstract and Executive Summary that fellows are expected to produce at the end of their fellowship). See also the FAQs on 'what can I spend the fellowship bursary on' and 'Is there help with the costs of travel...'.
There is usually a period of around 6-8 weeks from when we invite applications, to the deadline for submission. BUT we suggest that if you are interested in carrying out a piece of research work around an aspect of the treatment of women and/or girls in the criminal justice system, that you don’t wait until the start of the application period. The more time you spend thinking about what you are proposing, the more likely it is that you will produce something thought provoking, but also practical.
Your research MUST be on an aspect of the treatment of women and/or girls within the criminal justice system or those who may be at risk of becoming involved.
Apart from that, we believe that practitioners working with women are particularly well placed to identify if and where things are not working and we are not prescriptive about what ideas you should consider.
But, you must think in terms of ‘outcomes’ – what issue(s) are you looking to address. When you are thinking about your research idea, ask yourself what you are hoping to achieve. Is your aim to bring about change to working practices or is this about influencing policy, or both? Has this area been covered before and if so, what are you proposing that will be different or will add to that understanding; talk to colleagues, do some reading. If this is an area that is under-researched and there are genuine gaps in knowledge, you are more likely to be successful.
The majority of the research we support is ‘qualitative’ rather then ‘quantitative’ research (see under the Glossary for a definition). This is in recognition of : the limited time span of the research projects – a year; that fellows are usually working full-time whilst carrying out their research and because we believe that qualitative research is the best way to give the subject of the research, the women themselves, a ‘voice’ through the research.
Yes, you can contact us (by e-mail) if you would like a steer around your idea, but please note, we do not tell prospective fellows what they should research.
Fellowships are usually for one person, but we do consider two people working together. However please bear in mind that the fellowship grant will be shared between you.
Yes, you can. BUT whether you are self-employed or a volunteer, you must be working with or have access to the women and/or girls that your research is focused on. The majority of research that we support is qualitative rather than quantitative research that involves direct engagement with the women who are the subject of the project. Access is a critical issue and if you do not have access through your work, even if you are working on a freelance basis, it is unlikely that you will be able to successfully complete a research project.
If you are self-employed, the letter from the employer that is a requirement could instead be a letter from an organization that uses your services. For anyone running his or her own organization (and therefore technically you do not have an employer!), please include a letter of explanation with your application. If you are a volunteer you will need a letter from the organisation you are volunteering with and through whom you will access the subjects of your research.
Fellowships usually last just over a year; starting in September and ending the following year in November and they are carried out alongside your normal work (they are not a sabbatical).
We assign an academic supervisor to all our fellows when they are appointed who will offer help and advice. The choice of tutor will depend on the subject matter you are researching; we aim to match you with an academic with similar research interests. You will also be invited to attend two full days of workshops at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge (ICUC). As a fellow, you will have visiting scholar status with ICUC and will be able to access the library and borrow books. You will also have the support of the Griffins Society Director and the Board, all of whom take a keen interest in the fellowship programme.
It is up to you what you spend the money on! But, you need to remember that for the most part, any travel costs you incur will have to come out of your bursary. There are a couple of exceptions to this - see the later FAQ point on travel costs. We always set the dates for the Board meetings a year in advance so that fellows and supervisors can take advantage of advance booking their travel to keep the costs down.
In some cases your employer may allow you to carry out your research as part of your day-to-day work, but that is not always the case and so some fellows use it to ‘buy’ time off from their place of work to help in completing the fellowship. Some fellows use the bursary to purchase equipment such as IT (a laptop and/or software for transcribing interviews) or recording devices for use with their research.
We don’t dictate how fellows spend the award, but we do ask that you let us know what it has been spent on in retrospect so we can make judgments about the future size of the award.
Fellows are expected to cover the travel costs of attending the meetings of the Griffins Board from their main bursary. During the fellowship fellows are expected to attend 6 meetings of the board which take place in London. There is a however a small bursary available that is a contribution towards travel to attend the two workshop days in Cambridge University and for meeting with your supervisor.
As well as time off to attend the Griffins board meetings and the workshops twice a year in Cambridge, you will need time off to conduct your research e.g., interviewing people, visiting other projects, observations etc. Some employers have given Fellows additional time off for these activities whilst others have expected Fellows to book annual leave days. Similarly, you will need to find time for reading, analysing and writing-up your research. Again, some Fellows have negotiated time off from work to do this, whilst others do the work in evenings and weekends etc. As to how much time will be needed... this is difficult to gauge as each research project is different, but if you want to talk to us, please contact us via the Contact Us tab on this site.
You will get a very good idea of what is expected of you and the standard required, by looking at past Fellowship reports that you will find on the society’s website. You will also see the research subjects that have been covered in previous years – you may find your idea has been covered by a fellow in the past so we would need to understand how your proposal is different and/or how your work would build on past Griffins research fellowships.