MASTS is involved in a number of funding mechanisms. See below for details.

MASTS is also responsible for the procurement of research from Higher Education Institutes for the Centre of Expertise for Waters.


Postdoctoral and Early Career Researcher Exchanges (PECRE)

The main purpose of this funding is to support postdoctoral and early career researcher* exchanges with Europe, North America, China and India. Each exchange must be for a minimum of one month. Individuals from MASTS funded Institutions are invited to submit a funding application for eligible costs (restricted to economy travel and subsistence). 

Each PECRE application can be for a maximum of £7,500. Eligible costs are restricted to economy travel and subsistence at the agreed institutional rate. PECRE awards are only available to MASTS HEI members.

The costs of the research are not eligible. The funding must not be used for attendance at conferences, training seminars and the like.

PECRE applications may be submitted to the MASTS Directorate at anytime on

PECRE Application Form (Word doc).

*Definition of an early career researcher: "a postgraduate (doctoral) student OR a postdoctoral researcher early in their career. 'Early' in the latter case should be read to be consistent with the REF usage: someone who first undertook independent research within the last four years or so"

Selection criteria will include:

  • evidence of the ability of the candidate (output, leadership);
  • likely benefits to the research of the candidate (new skills, techniques likely to be acquired) as a result of the exchange;
  • likely benefits to the longer term career of the Postgraduate or Early Career Researcher as a result of the exchange;
  • evidence of wider benefits to MASTS as a result of the exchange; and
  • prospects of sustained collaboration as a result of the exchange.

View information and short reports from successful applications to this scheme.


Definition of independent researcher: An individual who undertakes self-directed research, rather than carrying out another individual ‘s research programme.  Includes postdoctoral staff who are:

  • Leading or acting as principal investigator or equivalent on an externally funded research project
  • Holding an independently won, competitively awarded fellowship where research independence is a requirement (illustrative list on )
  • Acting as a co-investigator on an externally funded research project (e.g. leading a work package or equivalent)
  • Leading a research group or substantial work package
  • Significant input into the design, conduct and interpretation of the research
Small Grants Scheme

The MASTS Small Grants Scheme has the capacity to allocate small amounts of funding to support requests from members of the MASTS community.

Applications for funds are invited from the MASTS community. Applications (application form) for the Small Grants Scheme should be submitted to before 16.00 on Thursday 20th December 2018. A decision regarding funding can be expected within 8 weeks, so please bear this in mind for your start dates. Anyone with outstanding reports for MASTS Grant Schemes is not eligible to apply.

Examples of areas for which funds (up to a maximum of £500) may be provided include: travel/conference expenses, specialist equipment purchase/hire, analyses, ad hoc assistance, access to data etc. The MASTS Small Grants Scheme will also consider requests to host workshops (up to a maximum of £1k). Preference will be given to applicants able to demonstrate additionality - having sourced some funds from elsewhere (non-MASTS). Recipients of funds will be required to provide a brief account of the way that the funds have been used, and this report must be delivered within one month of the completion of the funded activity. Where appropriate MASTS may request an article for a newsletter, talk at the ASM, webinar etc.

To apply, you must be a postgrad student or employee of the following institutions: Universities of Aberdeen, Stirling, St Andrews, Strathclyde, Glasgow, Heriot Watt, Edinburgh Napier, UHI, SAMS, Dundee, Edinburgh & West of Scotland. MASTS members also include Marine Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, British Geological Survey, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Joint Nature Conservation Committe & St Abbs Marine Station.

See Small Grant Scheme Reports

Feedback: The assessment of proposals submitted to the SGS scheme is based on a simple scoring system and will be assessed by two or more independent reviewers. The proposals are then ranked and those that are above the cut off ranking are funded (where funds allow). Due to the relatively small sums of money involved, the reviewers are not asked to provide lengthy textural justification or feedback following the ranking. The Directorate are therefore not able to provide the type of feedback that may be supplied by much larger funding schemes.


Pools Engagement in European Research (PEER)

Individuals from MASTS funded Institutions are invited to submit a funding application to offset non-recoverable costs involved in engagement with the Framework Programme process, for example through establishing network connections, showcasing skills and capabilities and participating in specific networking activities both for policy influencing and project preparation. These types of activities are at an earlier stage of engagement with the EU Framework process than development of individual proposals and may not lend themselves to direct SME involvement, however, SME engagement remains a priority for this funding and proposers are encouraged to consider the potential for both involving Scottish SMEs and representing their own interests whenever possible. PEER awards are only available to MASTS HEI members.

Update September 2013: While the offer of grant does refer to framework programme specifically, the use of PEER funds to support INTERREG applications would also be within the spirit of the grant.

Update April 2014: These funds can be used to pay for some external assistance in helping to prepare EU bids (i.e. there are some organisations that specialise in helping to craft/polish EU bids and increase their chances of being funded).

The sum can be used to assist in the development of MASTS consortia and, in particular, the engagement of consortia with Scottish SMEs. Each PEER application can be for a maximum of £5,000. In some cases, 50% will be paid during the preparatory phase, with the remaining 50% of the funds requested being paid upon confirmation that the application has been successfully submitted.

Eligible costs will include:

  • all additional costs incurred as a result of engagement in the EU Framework process including staff time/services employed specifically for that purpose;
  • travel and subsistence costs may be included for the staff of partner institutions and should be calculated at the rates normally applied by the institution.

The funding must not be used for travel and subsistence costs for partner organisations or businesses, or general overhead expenses. We reserve the right to claw back funds should the grant not be used in accordance with these T&Cs.

PEER applications may be submitted to the MASTS Directorate ( at anytime. PEER Application Form (Word doc).

Applicants are advised that:

  • The European Officers within the partner institutions should be the initial key contacts to provide relevant guidance and support.
  • Scotland Europa can be a point of contact to help research pools engage with Europe:
  • Pools may use the services of Interface to match-up with a business, where this is possible.

View information and short reports from successful applications to this scheme.


Visiting Fellowship scheme

The MASTS-Visiting Fellowship Scheme is currently closed to further applications.

The objective of the Visiting Fellowship Scheme is to stimulate and enhance MASTS-related research, by inviting non-UK Scientists to spend up to a maximum of six months at one (or more) MASTS institutions. Fellows can be at any stage in their careers, so both enterprising young postdoctoral researchers as well as established scientific leaders are welcome to apply. Proposals should originate in MASTS partner institutions, and multi-partner supported proposals are encouraged. Further details.

View information and final reports from successful applications to this scheme.

Emailed application forms should be with the MASTS Directorate at .

The assessment of VF proposals is based on a simple scoring system. Each proposal will be assessed by two or three independent reviewers who will score each proposal against three statements: 1) The application is directly relevant to the provision of MASTS science and represents research or relevant activity of the highest scientific quality; 2) the results of funding this application will be of interest to the wider MASTS community; and 3) The results of funding this application represent good value for money. Each reviewer also states whether the proposal should be accepted or declined. The proposals are then ranked.



In June 2018 Julia Wouters (a MASTS Grad School student) visited MEOPAR (The Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response Network) in Canada.  ulia attended the MEOPAR Annual Science Meeting and Training event which was held in conjunction with the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society’s (CMOS) Congress. Find out more here. We look forward to welcoming MEOPAR representatives at the MASTS ASM in October 2018.

Please get in touch if you would like to link with MEOPAR.


Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Academic Bridge

The MASTS-WHOI Academic Bridge is now closed to further applications.

Successful applicants to this scheme include:

  • Amy Scott-Murray (Aberdeen): "Towards interactive 3D of living animals underwater" Final Report
  • Sophie Elliot (Glasgow): "Marine imaging analysis for gadoid fish habitat association" Final Report
  • Braulio Leon-Lopez (St Andrews): "Individual variation of signature whistles from bottlenose dolphins in Sarasota Bay: the aging effect" Final report
  • Sally Rouse (SAMS): "Nearshore larval transport: physical and biological processes" Final Report
  • Brittant Jones (St Andrews): "Whistle matching and acoustic parameter variation in a population of bottlenose dolphins in the Sarasota Bay" Final Report