Nuffield to open applications for next round of scholarships

Farmers dreaming of learning from farms around the world should start planning their Nuffield scholarship applications now for a trip in 2022, organisers have said.

Travel has been stifled this year for most people, but with a vaccine programme set to roll out in 2021, hopes are high that a degree of normality can return within the next 12 months.

The prestigious annual award gives winners about £7,000 towards travel and subsistence expenses while they travel the globe researching topics of interest in  farming, food horticulture or rural industries.

See also: Ten years on: Who did the most with their Nuffield scholarship?

The application window opens on 13 January and closes on 31 July, giving applicants plenty of time to work on their submissions.

Mike Vacher, director of the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust, said: “The coronavirus crisis will undoubtedly affect how our scholars study and travel for the next few years.

“However, the trust will be flexible and ensure that every scholar receives the support and resources necessary to complete their study.”

Broadening horizons

Arable farmer and 2020 scholar Angus Russell is one of the founders of contracting firm Warwickshire Farming Partnership, and is undertaking a study tour looking at different types of joint venture business partnerships around the globe.

He said: “You should never be scared to change, so I applied for a Nuffield scholarship to broaden my horizons and look at world agriculture, bounce ideas off other farmers, meet some really inspirational people and bring ideas back to my farm.

“The application process was really simple, so I would encourage everyone to have a go.”

Who can apply?

Applicants must work within the farming, food, horticulture, rural or associated industries, or be in a position to influence these industries.

They must be aged between 22 and 45 years (the upper age limit is 45 on 31 July in the year of application).

There is no requirement for academic qualifications, but applicants should already be well established in their career and demonstrate a passion for the industry they work in.

At least three years must have elapsed since they had any college or university education.

Candidates must live in the UK and hold a UK passport, or be working directly for an agricultural firm in the UK.

First steps

Those interested in applying can join an online application launch event on the evening of 13 January, hosted by 2019 scholar Sarah Pick.

To register for free, email Charlotte Merson at and find more information on the Nuffield website.

The Nuffield scholarship process

  1. Applications must be received between 13 January 2021 and 31 July 2021.
  2. Candidates will be shortlisted in early September, with interviews taking place in mid-September and early October. Successful scholars will be revealed at the end of October.
  3. Travelling must be completed within 18 months. Travel and study should be for at least eight weeks in total, and scholars are expected to journey independently for at least four weeks of that.
  4. Scholars must attend a pre-study brief in London prior to travelling to their international Contemporary Scholars Conference in early March, which is held in association with Nuffield bodies in other countries. It is a condition of application that if successful you will be available to participate in this.
  5. On completion of the study tour, scholars are expected to submit their written report by 30 June, approximately 20 months after selection.
  6. Scholars present their findings at the annual conference held in November two years after being awarded their scholarship. Training is provided for both report writing and giving presentations.