Sustaining university research communities

The Profession's objective for Research and Knowledge transfer is to encourage research and knowledge exchange (with open and easy access for members and non-members alike) in the public interest that: 

  • Promotes the monitoring and development of actuarial science including actuarial methods and use of data
  • Supports and develops the competence of members throughout their careers
  • Helps actuaries speak out publically with authority in matters relevant to our profession and where actuaries can make a difference

and so maintain and enhance public confidence in the work of actuaries and the reputation of the actuarial profession. 

The strategy also identified developing research communities as a key theme moving forward.

Having a continuing presence in universities of researchers committed to the development of actuarial science is vital to the long term health of the actuarial profession and actuarial science and will form the backbone for future research and help support the competence of members (both current and future generations).

In order to build and sustain university research communities we need to see a new generation of PhD students and researchers regarding this as a vibrant field where they can progress and have interesting and fruitful careers.

This applies not only to the traditional actuarial centres of excellence but also to the new group of universities attempting to grow their actuarial research base following on from accreditation in actuarial teaching. We also need to help academic actuaries engage fully as members of the UK and international community through attendance at conferences and other events.


The Actuarial Profession is therefore seeking to support university communities through three routes:

  • By part-funding some PhD studentships in the UK to start between September 2011 and September 2012 inclusive . The Profession will fund up to 50% of the full studentship costs for EU students [and will consider funding up to 40% of the costs for overseas students]. Universities should use the funds from the Profession to convert a studentship from the Doctoral Training Account into a collaborative studentship, or for the studentship to also be part-funded by an industry partner or from other sources of funding (thus creating a new studentship).
  • By funding academics to attend conferences and other events, covering costs such as travel, accommodation and registration fees. These can either be applied for on an individual basis or a university can apply for a bulk grant to minimise administration. Bulk grants (maximum £5,000) would need to be subject to audit by the Profession at the end of the academic year by way of a report showing how the grant has been used. Grants will only be given where the university does not have funds for covering the conference attendance.
  • The Profession would welcome applications for helping pump prime research in areas of actuarial interest. It would anticipate grants would be given in the range £5,000-£15,000 although would consider grants up to £20,000 in exceptional cases.

Applications are invited from UK universities, or universities that have accredited courses with the UK Actuarial Profession. The closing date is 30 September 2011 for PhD studentships, bulk grants for conference attendance, and pump-priming grants. We appreciate that this may be a tight timescale to agree a fully worked up proposal for a PhD studentship and so the Profession is happy to receive expressions of interest in this area if a fully agreed proposal is not yet finalised. The Profession is hoping to be able to support up to three studentships in this way for 2011-15.  

 Individual grants for conference attendance can be made at any time. 


 For studentships, preference will be given where the university can show:

  • That the funding will make a significant difference to the university’s ability to develop as a centre of excellence and/or provide a firm foundation for growth in a new group.
  • That the funding has allowed a new PhD studentship in actuarial science to be created.

Please note: studentships must be based at a UK university. 


 Applications must:

  • Be for any branch of actuarial science but are particularly encouraged where the studentship can be shown to support the development of science in the core areas such as mortality/longevity and risk
  • Show how the funding will make a significant difference to the university’s ability to develop as a centre of excellence and/or provide a firm foundation for growth in a new group.
  • Explain how the studentship/research will be funded, giving details of all partners and their involvement
  • Include a description of the proposed area for the PhD topic and the CV for the PhD supervisor (the student may be recruited once the funding is agreed)

Applications should be made on the proposal forms provided.  Please complete separate forms for studentships, conference attendance and pump-priming grant applications.

For further information or an informal chat please contact Pauline Simpson, tel. 01865 268 237

Email applications are preferred.



The Actuarial Profession would expect any successful bids to undertake a legally binding agreement.

For pump-priming research our initial starting point will be the standard contract shown on the website. Please highlight any issues you can envisage and any changes you would want to propose including any issues relating to the intellectual property and copyright involved. We appreciate that special circumstances apply to PhD studentships which would need to be reflected in the contracts and we will work on developing a suitable contract formula.