Information for undergraduates

Margaret Stewart Bequest

Grants for travelling and subsistence for undergraduate and postgraduate students wishing to carry out research on European Beaker pottery or similar studies within the Later Neolithic, Copper Age and Early Bronze Age of Britain/Europe.

The next deadline for applications is 15th November, 2021.


This Trust was set up according to the will of John Stewart, Solicitor, of Kippen Campbell, WS, Perth, who died in 1993, in accordance with the wishes of his late wife, Dr Margaret Stewart, and as expressed by her in a draft letter appended to a letter sent by him to Professor Dennis Harding in June 1986 (the year of her death). Margaret Stewart (nee Margaret E Crichton Mitchell) had been a student of Professor Gordon Childe’s and was his only Edinburgh PhD. The terms of John Stewart’s will required the University to establish a ‘Trust Fund in memory of Margaret Enid Crichton Mitchell … (to be known as the Dr Margaret Stewart Bequest) and acting through Trustees to be appointed or nominated by the University in consultation with the Professor for the time being in the Abercromby Chair of Archaeology to apply the Fund both as to capital and to income to the provision of grants for travelling and subsistence to students wishing to carry out research on European Beaker pottery or similar work with full discretion of such Trustees in the choice of grantees and the amounts of their grants’. This was noted in the minutes, Appendix VIII, of the University Court meeting of 13th March 1995.  The Margaret Stewart Bequest is administered by a Committee of Trustees appointed by the University Court.  They are chaired by the Abercromby Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology, Ian Ralston. The other Trustees are currently Dr Alison Sheridan (National Museums Scotland and Honorary Fellow in Archaeology) and Dr Robert Black (Lay Member of the University Court; Retired Auditor General for Scotland).  

Availability of support

Support from the Dr Margaret Stewart Bequest is available to help meet the costs of travel and subsistence in relation to student research projects in the general field of Beaker or cognate studies (spanning roughly the period of the Late Neolithic, Copper Age and Early Bronze Age in traditional terminology) in Britain and on the continent of Europe.   Students (here defined as Archaeology Single and Joint Honours candidates, and both taught and research postgraduates within Archaeology), who are engaged in research projects fulfilling the above thematic or period requirements, are eligible to apply for financial assistance in support of living and travel expenses associated with their research project (for example for fieldwork, data collection, museum and archival research, or attendance at conferences and workshops). Exceptionally, and wholly at their discretion, the Trustees may be prepared to consider other essential research costs (e.g. to obtain radiocarbon dates) for projects they support and which are vouched for by the student’s supervisor.   Students may apply for a sum between £100 and a maximum of £5000 in any given year. Research postgraduates may apply once in each year of their programme i.e. up to a maximum of three times for doctoral students, with others pro rata. Applications from students who have externally-funded awards for postgraduate study will only be considered in regard to specific items that would normally fall outwith their funder’s remit. 


Applications will only be accepted on the official form. Applications must be submitted to by noon on the 15th May or noon on the 15th November of each year.  Late applications will not be considered, but will be carried forward to the next meeting unless withdrawn by the applicant.

Applications to meet costs already incurred will not be considered.  All applications will be considered on merit and on goodness of fit with the aims of the Bequest. Please note that accommodation costs are capped to £50.00 per night.  Both successful and unsuccessful applicants will be informed timeously of the Trustees’ decisions. The Trustees reserve the right to meet the costs requested wholly, partially, or not at all. 

Successful applicants must submit a brief report (maximum 1000 words) on the outcome of their project to Mr Donnelly, normally by the 15th May or 15th November following the deadline at which they applied.   All award holders must provide an account of expenditure by the November or May deadline following the deadline at which they applied. Expenditure will be reimbursed to students against receipts and will be paid to the student's nominated bank account. In exceptional circumstances and with the agreement of the Abercromby Professor, students may apply for an advance against future expenditure.  No further applications to the Bequest will be considered from any student who has not submitted an account of expenditure and a report as detailed above. All award holders are expected to acknowledge the support of the Dr Margaret Stewart Bequest in their thesis or dissertation, in any publications resulting from the work the Bequest supported, and in any other form of publicity associated with their research project.


Forms and information

Application contact details


Room 2.29, William Robertson Wing, Old Medical Quad, University of Edinburgh Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG