Viking Bursary

The Viking bursary has been established thanks to a generous bequest by Mrs Sheila Jorgensen, a former RFS Yorkshire Division member, who requested the RFS set up a bursary to be known as the Viking Bursary, for study and travel.

Applications are now closed and will reopen in January 2023.

An award of up to £2,000 made at the discretion of the RFS Yorkshire Division committee for students in in higher education to contribute to the study of any aspect of forestry which benefits the practical management and resilience of woodlands.

In most years we will make one award or more than one award up to a total value of £2,000. In exceptional circumstances we may be able to make awards that total over £2,000, depending on the standard of applications received by the deadline. The maximum amount for an individual award is £2,000. The committee also reserves the right to make no awards in any particular year. 

The bursary will fund all costs directly associated with the project including travel, accommodation and equipment. Candidates are expected to submit travel budgets with their application. Co-funding with other sources of funds is acceptable. Travel insurance, health insurance, access permissions and travel documentation are the responsibility of the award recipient. Successful candidates must comply with RFS Health and Safety policy and that of their educational institution for any field-work being proposed or undertaken. Please note that 85% of the bursary will be paid on award, 15% on successful publication of the final report in the Quarterly Journal of Forestry.


You must be:

Enrolled in full time or part time higher education.

Undertaking a FdSc, BSc, MSc or PhD course.

Studying any aspect of forestry which benefits the practical management and resilience of woodlands and which:

  1. is original, independent, self-directed study or research.
  2. has clear study/research objectives, methods, outcomes and timeframe.

The scope includes course-related dissertations and theses.

The area of study is limited to the UK with priority given to projects focused on England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

There are two formal requirements for dissemination of the results of the project. First, the recipients are invited to submit an article that will be published by the RFS online, with an extract and link in the Quarterly Journal of Forestry to share their findings and experiences. Second, the successful candidate(s) is/are obliged to present their research to the RFS Yorkshire Division at an annual (evening) meeting, if required – travel to/from this event is deemed to be included in the bursary. The RFS may also choose to post the research/paper online. An RFS certificate is awarded to the candidate on successful publication of the article in the QJF.

Applications will be reviewed by RFS HQ and then shortlisted by the RFS Yorkshire Division Committee. The committee’s decision will be final.

All applicants will be informed of the outcome.

If you have any questions about making an application, please email

Congratulations to recent Viking Bursary recipients including

2020 – Katy Faulkner

The 2020 Viking Bursary has been awarded to Katy Faulkner to support her PhD on the impacts of elevated CO2 and high rainfall on soil microbial community structure and function in UK temperate forests.

Katy will use the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) FACE site to understand how soil saturation following high rainfall will influence the soil microbiome, its consequences for biogeochemical cycling processes, and the extent to which these effects will change in an elevated CO2 atmosphere.

Katy is studying for a PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Warwick. The RFS has awarded her a bursary of £1,500 towards the costs of her research.

2018 – Anna Gardner

Anna looked at The effects of elevated CO2 on photosynthesis and leaf physiology in a mature oak woodland.

2017 – Carrie Hedges

Carrie investigated The Potential Extent of Montane Scrub in Northern England.

2016 – James Broom

James, studying for a BSc Forest Management, used the bursary towards his dissertation on The effect of dieback on ash tree growth rate across Suffolk and Norfolk 

2016 – Mauro Lanfranchi 

Mario used the bursary to support his PhD on Forest management and below-ground litter: ‘Carbon dynamics of UK forest soils.