Those of you who read the last post carefully will have noticed that this year we’ve opened up the Copley Awards to early career scholars as well as to postgraduates. One of our central concerns as an academic society has always been to promote early career research. Traditionally, the Stephen Copley Research Awards have been set aside for postgraduate students enrolled on doctoral programmes in the UK, largely because such students have been the most in need financially and because of the lack of other potential sources of support for those at an early stage in their archival researches. In recent years, though, BARS has received a number of speculative enquiries from postdoctoral scholars – both those employed on a funded projects and those without an affiliation – which have attested to the increasing difficulties and pressures faced by researchers who’ve completed their doctorates but who have not yet secured permanent jobs. As a result, this year we’ve decided to open up the bursary scheme to early career scholars as well as those currently enrolled on doctoral programmes. Careful fiscal planning in the last few years has put us in a position where we can fund more bursaries than ever before, meaning the number of awards we can make to doctoral students will not be impacted upon by this change. I’m delighted the BARS Executive have been so supportive of this expansion at a time of increased financial pressures within academia but also at at a moment when there’s been an upsurge of interest in the ever-widening field of Romantic studies in the UK and Ireland.
Daniel Cook, BARS Bursaries Officer