Our Grants

We offer grants which we have access to predominantly gained from the RGS grant scheme. If available they will be advertised on this page.

Grants available for 2023

PGR/ECR small travel grant for The XXIXth European Society for Rural Sociology Congress Crises and the futures of rural areas, July 3-7 2023 (See also Theme | ESRS2023 – XXIXth European Society for Rural Sociology Congress – Crises and the futures of rural areas (institut-agro-rennes-angers.fr)

A small travel and accommodation grant of £200 is available which we see as eligible for one ECR.  We welcome applications from those presenting and in-person attendance for the ESRS in 2023.  Please see the scope and application process below.

In 2022 the RGRG celebrated its 50th anniversary as a RGS research group with a two day conference on Looking back: Looking forwards: rural geography for the 21st Century. Within the backdrop of this topic researchers of all stages in their careers reflected upon their positionality and that of rural geography in a complex and ever-changing world. The question being asked was ‘Are we reflexive and adapted enough in tackling the big societal issues facing rural spaces in the 21st century.’ e.g., climate change and associated societal issues such as the rising impact of pandemics, global insecurity, food scarcity, energy insecurity, migration and displacement, and so on. These wicked societal issues require us to rethink the relevance and context of research (theoretical and applied) and collaborations beyond the bounds of academia. There is a need for ECRs to both understand and navigate this complex area and understand their positionality within the changing role of rural research.

The best way to learn these skills (formal and tacit) is to be exposed to a wide set of actors at events where these topics are being debated in ‘real time’. In 2023 both the RGS Conference and the XXIXth European Society for Rural Sociology have a focus on adaptive and changing roles of researchers within these 21st Century needs for researchers. The RGRG wish to bring ECRs (including PHDs) in to contact with this discussion by funding attendance at the ESRS (Rennes). By doing so we anticipate we can go some way in building new capacities in our ECR cohort in how to tackle the big societal issues rural geography faces in the next couple of decades. We thus see this offers upskilling of our ECRs beyond simple skills learned during the PHD process within universities and preparation as a coherent 21st century researcher.

Key areas we feel the RGS and ESRS topics meet are:

· A need to reposition rural geography to be reflexive of 21st century issues both in terms of knowledge creation but in the way (methods) we use to do this collaboratively with practioners, policy makers and communities.

· Within academia, a need to be multi-disciplinary in our approach to understand, unpick and help resolve these big societal issues in the short, mid and long term.

· The development of new concepts, language and relationships in this objective.

· The re positioning of what this means for rural spaces and their functionality and value in a 21st century western society with global ties.

The application process will be a competitive application based on:

· You will be presenting on a topic relevant to this application criteria.

· How your work contributes to world class research.

· Evidence of position of this research within a wider applicability to climate change and the big societal issues.

· Future goals and ambitions for their research.

· A need for funding to get to the event

· Two references confirming research ability and need for support. ‘

Your application will be processed and finalised by a small group from the RGRG committee. Please send applications to Megan Palmer-Abbs at mpa@nforsk.no – no later than 7th March 2023.  Applications should be no more than 1 A4 page. 

Grants awarded in 2019

PGR/ECR Grant (2019) XXVIII European Society for Rural Sociology Congress (ESRS) 2019 theme is ‘Rural Futures in a Complex World’

https://rgrg.co.uk/pgr-ecr-grant-2019-xxviii-european-society-for-rural-sociology-congress-esrs-2019-theme-is-rural-futures-in-a-complex-world The grant was awarded by the RGRG Committee to Dr Megan Palmer-Abbs who presented in Working Group 2 SESSION 2: Digital policies and rural life on

Topic: Butterflies & Chameleons: Digital connectivity, Innovation and Rural Businesses

The 4th Industrial Revolution offers both opportunity and challenges for rural communities and the businesses which function from them.  Digitisation is changing the way rural communities and individuals interact with the wider world and shaping, voluntarily and involuntarily, how businesses function.  Policy heralds the Broadband UK (BDUK) a success with headline figures claiming a 95% fibre broadband coverage.  However, the universal optimum performance of the broadband network is at odds with this figure (Palmer-Abbs, 2018; Guardian, 2018).

This paper presents empirical evidence from a PhD that identifies the importance of business location and this relationship with a new five-fold digital typology (Palmer-Abbs, 2018) which depicts a very different digital tapestry as a consequence of the BDUK programme. This reveals a changing urban/rural and an evolving rural/rural digital divide.  The typology offers a new way of looking at digital connectivity, business performance and the fine-line between rural business success or survival.

Rural micro-businesses are often a response to poor economic opportunities in peripheral areas where individuals use their enterprise and innovation assets to fill the ‘work gap’.  These businesses are often an accumulation of multiple income activities, based in the home or adjacent properties, with the ability to ‘bend or brace’ against economic impacts (seasonal and global).  Digitisation and ‘a fit for purpose’ digital connection are considered a ubiquitous tool to modern business, and a means to access wider markets.  The empirical evidence from this PhD research puts to rest the notion that rural businesses are the poor rural ICT relatives of the business world. It illustrates the multiplexity of rural businesses, their innovation behaviours, which often keep pace with, and outperform mainstream ICT exploitation.  Critical to this innovation is super-fast digital connectivity (fixed or mobile).

The proposed paper, and session will offer empirical evidence which conveys:

  • a comprehensive review of broadband infrastructure as an alternative transportation system
  • the relevance and interplay between location and rural businesses
  • the outcome of innovation as a tool to business survival or success

The narrative is pertinent to global digitisation in developed countries, related policy, and in furthering academic understanding of both broadband as a technology, societal need and current standing of the UK’s digital infrastructure.  It informs future research narrative, acting as a check to policy led dialogue, which is often over-positive about the progression of rural broadband (INCA, 2018).

Short abstract on the event from Megan Palmer-Abbs here

PCR/ECR Grants (2019) awarded for The Ninth Quadrennial Conference of British, Canadian and American Rural Geographers


Awards were given to Andrew Maclaren and Mr Felipe da Silva Machado abstracts as follows:

Andrew Maclaren https://rgrg.co.uk/brit-can-am-quad-in2-events-2019-rgs-london-brit-can-am-quad-vermont-usa