Skip to content

Eligibility and judging criteria


Eligibility checks are undertaken after Stage 1 in the application process has been submitted, so please ensure you read the eligibility carefully. The eligibility information is split into the following sections: the project, the project partners, and funding. The judging criteria shows how applications are judged and what aspects are particularly important.


The project:

  • You must apply with a specific research project rather than a series of independent activities or experiments for a STEM club. Use this project planning guidance document to help you prepare your research project. 
  • The students involved in the project must be between 5 and 18. Reception years are eligible if the project is run in conjunction with other age groups. Sixth form and further education colleges are also eligible.
  • The title of the project must be a scientific question that the students are attempting to answer by completing their research. 
  • Your project must be specific to the school and cannot be part of a third-party scheme or competition. 
  • There must be at least one term between the date you submit and your project starting to allow time for judging and administration to transfer funds. Due to school closures over summer, if you would like your project to start in the autumn term it must start from October. Full timeline details can be found here. 
  • Your project must run for a minimum of one term. Please note the longer your project lasts, the stronger your application will be.
  • If your project includes components that rely on conducting experiments involving humans or animals, you will need to show you have thought about the ethics of the project and how any ethical considerations will be dealt with. This guide from the Wellcome Trust provides advice about how to ensure you do this correctly. 

The project partners:

  • The school must be a UK based school.
  • The lead applicant must be the school partner and must start the application form.
  • Any member of staff from the school can act as the school partner but please note, if the application is successful, it will be this individual who will be the main point of contact for the Royal Society during the running of the project and will be responsible for submitting the required updates and reports.
  • A group of schools can apply together for a single grant (ie more than one school is highlighted on a single grant application), but there must be one identified lead school who can complete the application form and receive the funding. If the application is successful, this lead school will be the main point of contact for the Royal Society during the running of the project. If multiple schools wish to work on the same project topic but all apply for their own, separate grant, this is what we call a ‘collaborative project’ and you can contact the Schools Engagement team for more guidance regarding how to go about this. For collaborative projects, each school receiving a grant will have to submit their own reporting.
  • Schools can work with multiple STEM partners but there must be an individual who can act as the lead STEM partner. More information about working with multiple STEM partners can be found here.  
  • The lead STEM partner must be someone actively working in a STEM related role in academia or industry and cannot be retired.
  • The lead  STEM partner must be above graduate level in a university  or research institute or with appropriate industrial experience.
  • The lead STEM partner should not be an individual whose main role is the provision of outreach or education e.g. a public engagement officer, education coordinator or fellow teacher. However, outreach providers working in industry or academia, with a research background, may be considered depending on the project being undertaken.
  • The STEM partner's support should be predominantly in-person and can be supplemented by online support.
  • Further information about the role of the STEM partner can be found here
  • Each partner, school partner and STEM partner, can only apply once per round.
  • Previous recipients of a Partnership Grant can apply for further funding but:
    • There must be at least one year between application rounds
    • All reporting requirements must be completed for the original project 


  • Funding is paid directly to the school and must be paid into a school bank account.
  • Funding should predominantly be used to buy equipment.
  • If a single piece of equipment makes up the majority of the budget, you must clearly justify why the piece is crucial for the success of the project. 
  • Funding of up to £200 can be used to support the STEM partner's travel.
  • Funding of up to £300 per term can be used to support teacher cover if the success of the project will be compromised without this support. This request should be supported by letter from the Head teacher within the application. If the maximum grant is required to fund equipment, then additional funding for cover can be requested over the course of the project.
  • Funding cannot be used on the following:
    • to purchase items directly from the STEM partner and the STEM partner should not make a commercial gain from the project. This is due to conflict of interest.
    • to take part in third-party schemes or competitions
    • third-party, pre-prepared workshops
    • consultancy or advisor fees for scientists, engineers or freelance science communicators
    • the purchase of pre-prepared kits (e.g. Lego kits, eco cars or rocket-boats), unless they are to be used in a wider investigation, i.e. they are part of a project which clearly demonstrates a sound use of scientific methodology
    • normal running costs or equipment of a school science/technology department
    • teachers based in educational establishments outside the UK
    • projects that take place outside the UK or travel overseas.

Judging Criteria

All submitted Stage 2 applications are reviewed by at least two members of the Partnership Grants Allocating Panel.

The following criteria are used by the judges during the review process. Please note that the STEM partner’s involvement and the investigative element of the project are double weighted during the judging process due to their importance. 

Area Judging Criteria
Project title Must be a question that the students are attempting to answer by completing the project.
STEM partner involvement The judges will be looking for sustained, meaningful interaction between the STEM partner(s) and students throughout the lifetime of the project. This element is double weighted during the judging process. 
Investigative element It needs to be clear to the judges that your investigations link to your project title and that students will be using the scientific method. The judges will also want to see that there is opportunity for your students to develop new skills, including data analysis. This element is double weighted during the judging process. 
Equipment and materials The judging panel will be checking that your items link to your project and it is important that you make sure the items are clearly justified. Funding should not be used to purchase items normally covered by school budgets. The judges will also want to see that proposed items represent best value for money.
Involvement and selection of students It is crucial that the judges can see how you have selected your students, taking into account diversity characteristics such as gender diversity and ethnicity. The judges will want to see a high number of students involved or if that is not feasible and your project will involve a small group there needs to be a clear plan to communicate the work to the wider school community. 
Project legacy  Partnership Grant projects should be sustainable. Therefore, the judges will want to see that there are long-term, sustainable benefits to your students and wider school community in terms of teaching and learning of STEM subjects. The Panel will look if there are plans to repeat or extend your project. 
Was this page useful?
Thank you for your feedback
Thank you for your feedback. Please help us improve this page by taking our short survey.