Support for IHR students with accessing archives

The current Covid-19 crisis has placed considerable pressures on PGR researchers and their access to archive source for research. Thanks to an initiative by the IHR Friends, funding is now available for IHR students to commission and obtain digitised copies of archival content, where this available.

Please note: this scheme is only available for taught and research students at the Institute.

Support for IHR students with accessing archives

Restrictions on access to archival collections due to the Covid-19 lockdown have caused enormous difficulties for researchers and, at the time of writing, seem likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Lack of physical access can be overcome by using digitised material accessible online, but very few archives currently have much more than 5% of their material scanned. Some repositories have services which allow for material to be digitised on request, but these invariably come at a cost, which can be quite substantial.

Thanks to the IHR Friends, IHR post-graduate students who need to use digitisation services can now apply for help with these costs. Assistance for this scheme is also provided from the IHR's annual Elaine Paintin Memorial Fund for 2021.

How to apply for support funding

To apply, current  IHR students should submit a brief outline of their costs including outlining details of records to be digitised and the centrality to their thesis. Preference will initially be shown to archives which are outside of London. Applicants must also include a brief endorsement from their thesis or dissertation supervisor. 

There are two funding rounds in March and June 2021. Applications will be assessed by IHR staff: depending on the numbers of applications it may be possible to fund all or part of the monies requested. Successful applicants will be required to acknowledge the IHR Friends’ assistance in their finished theses or dissertations.

Applications (complete with a recommendation from the supervisor) should be sent to Dr Simon Trafford at, to whom any questions should also be addressed.

Closing dates

The closing date for the first round is Friday 5 March 2021; and for the second round, Friday 4 June 2021.

While this scheme is only open to current IHR taught and research students, the Institute also provides a range of free online guides and resources, available to anyone, to assist with research. For more information on these, see the 'Related content' section below.