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

How to apply

Our last ever applications round - for the Griffins Fellowship Programme for 2022 - has now CLOSED.  

But if you would like to find out more information about our fellows and their research findings, do check out the other pages on this website. 

If you are an academic based in the UK and are interested in the working with the society, please check the relevant box and complete the form below.

And, have a look at the research that has been carried our by our past fellows in Our research listings


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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.
We only put application forms on the website when we are open for applications. When we are - which is usually in the Spring of each year - you will find all you need on the 'How to Apply' part of our site.