Information for visiting researchers

The School for Sociology Politics and International Studies (SPAIS) welcomes visiting researchers from other institutions at different career stages.  Established scholars are welcomed as Visiting Researchers and recent doctoral graduates are welcomed as Visiting Postdoctoral Researchers.

Visiting Researchers are scholars resident in the School for a specified length of time (up to 12 months) who conduct their own research whilst benefiting from, and contributing to, the research culture within SPAIS.


  • You will have access to support and guidance provided by academic and administrative staff.  You will be able to engage with one or more of the four SPAIS Research Centres, which foster interdisciplinary research, networking and events in support of academic debate and policy interventions.
  • You may join one or more of the SPAIS Research Themes, benefiting from the vibrant academic atmosphere these engender.
  • You may attend one or more of the School’s Reading Groups in the areas of Sociology, Politics and International Studies.  At these reading groups members choose works of interest – whether already published or work-in-progress by members themselves – for discussion.
  • There are opportunities for contributing to the School’s wide range of teaching programmes (though there is no expectation placed on you to do so).
  • You will also have opportunities to present your research in School research groups and seminars, and to contribute to the SPAIS working papers series.
  • Visiting Researchers have access to a wide range of public lectures and seminars across the Faculty of Social Sciences & Law and elsewhere in the University.
  • There are opportunities to participate in a wide range of Staff Development courses (attendance to be considered on an individual basis).

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Please note that we do not offer funding.  The School charges an affiliation fee (or ‘bench fee’), the amount of which depends on the length of stay.  Please note that the affiliation/bench fee must be paid prior to the commencement of any visit.

For an affiliation/bench fee of £1000 per term / £3000 per year (or pro rata) + VAT as applicable, we provide shared office space, library and email/network access, and access to all School events, workshops, and research seminars.  Visitors in this category are encouraged to bring laptop computers which can be used at wireless areas around the University.

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Who is eligible to apply for Visiting Researcher status?

Anyone holding a PhD qualification is eligible to apply for Visiting Researcher status.

Applicants who are citizens of a country within the European Economic Area (EEA) should complete the application form below.

Applicants who are citizens of countries outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) should note the additional requirements of UK immigration procedures that need to be completed along with the standard application form below.  Please see here for full details of the conditions which non-EEA citizens are required to satisfy in order to enter the UK as a ‘Tier 5 – Sponsored Researcher’.

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Visiting Researchers who plan to be resident in Bristol are chosen on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Research topic: Of most importance is the close intellectual fit of the proposed research to the School and to individual research interests of staff.
  • Space: In order to provide adequate facilities, we limit the total number of Visiting Researchers.
  • Duration of stay: We may at any one time not have the space to accept a longer stay, but can perhaps accommodate a shorter one.
  • Confirmation from a current member of SPAIS staff to act as your host/mentor.


We ask that all Visiting Researchers  present at least one research seminar while they are visiting the School and submit one piece of research to the Working Papers series.

Frequently Asked Questions ( word.doc) (Office document, 35kB)

Application Form ( word.doc) (Office document, 45kB)

Please note that we will generally require two months to process applications.  Applications by non-EEA citizens will require substantially more time and effort on the part of applicants due to immigration procedures – see details on eligibility and the FAQs above.

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Keren Durant, School Manager
School of Sociology, Politics, and International Studies,
University of Bristol
11 Priory Road
United Kingdom