Guidelines for applying for joint research funding

All research proposals will be evaluated by the IELTS Joint Research Committee. This comprises representatives of the three IELTS Partners, as well as other academic research experts in the field of applied linguistics and language testing.

All applications received will be treated on a confidential basis. The decision of the Committee is final.

Writing your proposal

Proposals for funding should be no more than 10 pages (2500 words) and should be accompanied by a completed application form.

Your proposal should make it clear how much funding you are applying for, how it will be used, and the duration of the project. We offer funding for periods of one or two years, with research commencing in January and final reports to be submitted by the end of December.

Research proposals should reflect current concerns and issues relating to the IELTS test in the international context.

Download a proposal template

Evaluation criteria

Proposals will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  • relevance and benefit of outcomes to IELTS
  • clarity of research rationale, objectives and methodology
  • feasibility of outcomes, timelines, and budget
  • research ethics and confidentiality process
  • qualifications and experience of proposed project staff
  • how results will be reported to reach widest audience.

Submitting your application

Please complete your research proposal and application form including the requested details about your research proposal. Please share both documents with our team to submit your application.

Contact details of who to submit your proposal and application form to can be found on the application form.

Access to IELTS test materials and score data

If your proposal is selected by the panel, the funding organisation will discuss data requests with you. These are conducted on a case-by-case basis and research designs are adjusted where necessary.

Timescale for submission and evaluation of proposals

Funding is awarded yearly, with applications opening in April.


AprilApplications open
JuneDeadline for applications
July/AugustPreliminary review of applications
OctoberEvaluation and selection
November Successful applicants notified
JanuaryResearch projects begin
DecemberResearch reports submitted