Derrick Riley Fund Grants

The Derrick Riley Fund was established in 1994 to foster and support the study of aerial archaeology by young scholars. It provides grants to undergraduate and postgraduate students in the UK and overseas to fund research and further training in aerial archaeology.

About Derrick Riley

Derrick Riley (1915-1993) was one of the outstanding pioneers of aerial archaeology. He began his flying career during the second world war as a bomber pilot and applied his skills in aerial reconnaissance to archaeology in Britain and overseas.

His campaigns of flying in the 1970s and 80s resulted in the discovery of a vast number of new sites and transformed the understanding of some previously undervalued landscapes, notably the lowlands of the East Midlands and South Yorkshire.

He was an enthusiastic teacher and advocate for aerial archaeology, writing books such as Early Landscapes from the Air (University of Sheffield, 1980), Aerial Archaeology in Britain (Shire, 1982), and Air Photography and Archaeology (Duckworth, 1987). The University of Sheffield awarded Derrick Riley an honorary doctorate in 1981 and now curates his archive of photographs in the Sheffield Library of Aerial Photographs.

Scope of the grant

A maximum of £500 will be available each year to be split between one or more awards. The grants will support students currently following a degree-level course to undertake either independent research involving aerial archaeology (including undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations) or training in aerial archaeology (for instance, attending a workshop, work placement or a conference). Eligible expenses include travel, accommodation, consumables and conference/workshop fees. Activities funded by the grant must be completed within the calendar year in which the grant is awarded.

How to apply

Applicants should complete the application form and send it by email to A reference is also required in support of the application. This should be written by someone who can comment on the quality of the applicant’s academic work and the value of the project.

The yearly deadline for applications is 1 March. Applications received after this date will not be considered until the following year.

At the completion of the project, successful applicants will be required to provide proof of expenditure together with a report of around 500 words.