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Mark Herman

“What sorts of things do [philosophers] usually do with a grant...”

Buy a more comfortable armchair?



You can fund a conference or workshop, bring in speakers, hire a postdoc, hire graduate or undergraduate RAs, pay open access fees, buy books, spend on travel, fund graduate students, buy research leave (buying out your courseload) and fund your summer salary...


The typical post-doc schemes in the UK are the British Academy Posdoctoral Fellowship and the Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship. Each gives you 3 years research time at a host institution. These scheme are open to all arts/humanities post-docs, so quite competitive . If you work on anything related to philosophy of medicine, the Welcome trust have a comparable scheme.

There are also many smaller grants you can apply for as a postdoc from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds for conferences or research expenses, including from the British Academy., and the philosophical learned societies (Aristotelian society, Mind Association, British Society for History of Philosophy etc). Your university might have a research office who can direct you.

UK Anon

Just to clarify a couple of things suggested by Michel would not be a way to spend research grant money for a postdoc in the UK:
Hire a postdoc - faculty can do this. Very few postdoc grants will allow for a postdoc to hire a postdoc.
Hire graduate or undergraduate RAs - I don't know any scheme that would pay for this in the UK; just not a thing here outside of a few disability related allowances.
Fund graduate students - not typically for postdocs, but yes if you are in a permanent post and got research funding (but only from *some* funding bodies, not all). Postdocs are not typically allowed to supervise PhD students at all.
Buy research leave (buying out your courseload) - not applicable to most postdocs that are 100% research posts anyway.
Fund your summer salary - not a thing in the UK; contracts cover X months/years from the start of the contract, irrespective of being over the summer period.

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