Our PhD Bursary Awards

It is important to our profession that teachers of accountancy in UK universities include Chartered Accountants. The Charity therefore provides bursaries to ICAEW Chartered Accountants pursuing Doctoral studies, assisting in constructing funding arrangements to enable study for post-graduate degrees in accountancy related topics and hence development of careers as teachers and researchers in accountancy in UK universities.

Since 2008, the Charity has provided a Bursary of £18,000 every year to enable an ICAEW member to study for a PhD at a UK university in an accountancy related subject, with a view to taking up an academic career.  After extensive discussions within the Company and with ICAEW members who are leading academics, the practice now is to award an annual bursary to up to two candidates.


These annual bursaries are typically set at about £5,000 per annum for a period of up to four years (subject to satisfactory annual progress reports from the students’ supervisors).  An increased annual budget of £40,000 will thus support eight students.

Sam Hart was our second PhD Bursary award winner and was awarded her Doctorate at the end of the 2015/16 academic year.  She was selected from a short list of three excellent candidates by our distinguished Panel chaired by Professor Christopher Humphrey.  Her work programme followed the standard format of one year of research and three years of execution of the academic work leading to her doctorate thesis.

The Trustees received regular updates from her supervising professor.  Several Trustees and Court members kindly volunteered to help her with the necessary data collection to be included in her analysis section.  Now completed, an original copy of her published work is held at the ICAEW Library in Chartered Accountants’ Hall.

PhD award

Two candidates were selected to receive a £5,000 PhD Bursary Award each year for four years from 2016/17; Alistair Marsden and Tracey Wilson, who continue to receive similar bursary awards following satisfactory supervisors’ reports.  A further bursary was awarded in 2017/18 to Catherine Guest and in 2018/19 to Mohit Dar and Debbie Jones.  Then in 2019, Rani Suleman, Amanda Williams and Carol McLachlan all received bursaries. All these PhD students, all at different stages of their PhD studies, are currently being supported by the charity.

Members of our Institute are poorly represented in universities and financial colleges, largely due to the greater rewards in commerce.  The Trustees hope that this PhD initiative will continue to encourage ICAEW Members to pursue careers as accountancy academics at our nation’s universities and colleges.

Eligibility criteria and how to Apply for a PhD Bursary

Applicants must already be members of the ICAEW (ACA or FCA qualified) and have a good honours degree or other equivalent qualification. The quality and contribution of the applicant’s planned research, their commitment to PhD degree study and intention to pursue an academic career will all be taken into account. The institutions at which students plan to study must be recognised UK universities.

To apply for a bursary, please contact Gillian Knight at the ICAEW – Gillian.Knight@nullicaew.com  – who will send you the Notes & Conditions for PhD Bursaries together with the Bursary Application Form for you to complete and return. Gillian can also advise on recognised qualifications. Applications must be received by mid-May and interviews of short-listed candidates are normally conducted in June by a distinguished panel comprising Professors Christopher Humphrey (Chair), Jeffrey Unerman and Giovanna Michelon, plus Andrew Pianca, a Trustee of the Charity.