The Midwifery Research Fellowship

This award is not offered every year.

The Midwifery Research Fellowship is designed to assist a midwife in the final stages of completing his/her doctorate degree. This award is unique in targeting the writing up phase rather than the research phase of the doctorate. The funds can be used for any activity that will facilitate the writing process – for example the applicant might choose to use the funding to buy time out from his/her clinical or teaching duties.

About The Midwifery Research Fellowship

  • designed to assist a midwife in the final stages of completing his/her doctorate degree, have completed the actual research study (i.e. data collection and analysis) and intend to submit their thesis within 12 months of the start of the award
  • normally awarded every second year
  • for midwives registered with the United Kingdom (UK) Nursing and Midwifery Council and PhD students registered with a UK university
  • the award is a personal award worth £25,000 paid directly to an individual

An amount of up to £25,000 will be made available to the successful award winner. The award is a personal award and as such will only be paid directly to an individual rather than a hospital or other institution.

Previous Iolanthe Midwifery Research Fellowships have looked at litigation in midwifery, perineal suturing and the effect of an exercise regime on postnatal back pain.

The Iolanthe Midwifery Research Fellowship was last offered in 2015.

In years when applicaitons are open, applicants should download the application form and guidance by clicking on the links below:

Applicants should submit their application and scanned copies of original, signed supporting letters electronically to:

The application period is now closed.



Previous winners

Year Winner

The 2015 Midwifery Research Fellowship was awarded to midwife Allison Farnworth, who is in the final stage of her doctoral studies at Newcastle University and is funded to write up her research on ‘How does the organisation of the NHS impact on the abilities and experiences of frontline health care staff in assessing quality of care and engaging in activities to improve it?’


The 2008 Midwifery Research Fellowship was awarded to midwife Julie Wray, who conducted her PhD studies at the University of Salford. The Fellowship provided funding for the final phase of her doctorate, which focused on what she terms ‘birth recovery’ (the period in which new mothers receive postnatal care).

Julie wrote: ‘This time after birth is profound and overwhelming as women embark upon their adjustment to mothering … around 23% of women have a surgical birth and so will be regarded as ‘post-operative’ after birth. In many ways women are rehabilitating, in that it involves a continuous and multi-faceted process requiring a range of skills and expertise’. Professionally, being supported to complete the PhD on a topic and methodology that has been marginalised at times would contribute towards “added value” and meaning to the study and to midwifery. I feel that the voices of these women and their stories could act as a strong platform to improve postnatal care in the future … Personally, this is such a wonderful opportunity and I am so proud to be selected for the 2008 award’.

Read Julie's abstract (PDF 10KB)


Mary Stewart received the 2006 Midwifery Research Fellowship. Her research explored midwives' and women's experiences of vaginal examination in labour and a deconstruction of these experiences to consider how power is negotiated between the protagonists (abstract). This fellowship enabled Mary to complete her doctorate degree and submit her thesis by allowing her time out from her current practice.

Mary said: "I am writing to try and express my profound gratitude to you all for granting me the Iolanthe Midwifery Fellowship last year. The Fellowship enabled me to take a sabbatical from work, from November 2006 – May 2007, and this six-month period gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in writing up my thesis. I truly believe that without this opportunity, I may never have completed the writing up. I was finding it impossible to create time for the concentration I needed for this process alongside my full-time work. Since applying for the Fellowship I have also changed jobs and am now working as a research midwife at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit in Oxford, working on the Birthplace in England research programme. I believe that my success in achieving this post was also due in large part to the fact that I have submitted my thesis and so was an added benefit of the Fellowship."

Read more about what this meant to Mary.

2001 Jill Sanghera, Research Fellow at Bournemouth University for “A randomised trial to evaluate the effect of an exercise régime on postnatal back pain.”

The 1999 winner of the Research Fellowship, Billie Hunter, used her award to look at emotion work in midwifery.

You can read Billie's report (PDF 99KB) of the project here.

1996 Christine Kettle, Clinical Midwife at North Staffordshire Hospital (NHS Trust), Staffordshire for “MOMS - Randomised Controlled trial to evaluate alternative methods for suturing perineal trauma following delivery.”
1995 Mr Andrew Symon, Staff Midwife at Perth Royal Infirmary for “Litigation in Perinatal Care – the Effects on Midwifery Practice.”