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Scholarships and awards

Scholarships and bursaries

The RCN supports a number of scholarships and bursaries to provide professional development opportunities for nursing professionals.

As a nursing professional, you can apply for RCN bursaries, RCN Foundation bursaries and Mary Seacole awards to fund your professional development. 

These awards recognise and honour the name of Mary Seacole for her work in the Republic of Crimea.

As a nurse, midwife or health visitor, you can apply for a Mary Seacole Award to fund a project that aims to improve the health outcomes of people from black and minority ethnic communities.

About the Mary Seacole Awards

Mary Seacole was a Jamaican/Scottish nurse and businesswoman, celebrated for her bravery in nursing soldiers during the Crimean War (1853–56). She was also admired for her use of Creole herbal remedies to relieve the symptoms of infectious illnesses such as cholera in Jamaica and Panama.

Until 2021 the Mary Seacole Leadership and Development Awards were coordinated and administered by the RCN and nurse, midwife or health visitor applicants could apply for a Mary Seacole Award to fund a project that aims to improve the health outcomes of people from black and minoritised ethnic communities.

Award winners were provided with a unique opportunity to make a positive and lasting contribution to improved healthcare outcomes through their chosen project. The Awards have provided a platform to acquire and expand personal skills in communication, presentation, project management, research techniques and an opportunity to strategically influence Health Education England (HEE) and NHS England’s work around equality and diversity and health inequalities. In addition, Leadership awardees have gained confidence in leading an improvement or change programme with potential to achieve a high national profile; transitioning from operational to strategic thinkers.

In 2021 the programme has been refreshed and relaunched under the auspices of new providers: The Florence Nightingale Trust and The Mary Seacole Trust (further details below).

Meanwhile the original programme is drawing to a close, as the final set of awardees complete their projects in Autumn 2021. An evaluation is planned to assess the impact of the Mary Seacole Awards to date.

To hear experiences from winners of the 2019 awards please visit the Mary Seacole Awards website where you will be able to view a video.

How to apply

Applications and Mary Seacole Awards are now administered by the new providers. The new partnership have provided this email inbox for all future enquiries:

We understand applications for this year closed in June, however they will be happy to advise you further.

NB: You may also be interested in the grants for education and academic training and if so we also recommend you to look further at RCN Foundation who offer some educational grants. For more information including eligibility criteria and details of how to apply on the RCN Foundation.

If you have further questions, then please email


Download Mary Seacole FAQS (PDF)

RCN bursaries provide professional development opportunities for nursing professionals.

As a nursing professional, you can apply for RCN bursaries to fund courses, study tours, projects, research or conference attendance.

The RCN currently offers the following bursary:

The June Clark Travel Scholarship

The Dame June Clark Travel Scholarship Trust has been established for the purpose of increasing awareness and understanding among Welsh nurses about nursing in countries outside the UK, by supporting study visits to countries outside the UK or attendance at international conferences outside the UK.

Applications are invited from nurses working in Wales who hold a statutory nursing qualification or students undertaking an approved course in Wales leading to a statutory nursing qualification; preference will be given to applicants who are early in their nursing career.

How to apply

Application forms are available from or

Completed forms to be returned to or by post to Dame June Clark, Under Coltshill, Coltshill Drive, Newton, Swansea SA3 4SN
For further information contact Dame June Clark at

Closing date

The scholarship is currently suspended due to COVID-19.

Amount of award

Up to £1000 during financial year 2019-2020

Successful candidates will be expected to share their experience through publication and conference presentations.

As a nursing professional, you can apply for a range of scholarships. bursaries and other funding opportunities offered by organisations outside the RCN.

Barbers' Company Clinical Nursing Scholarship

As a clinical nurse, you can apply for a Barbers' Company Clinical Nursing Scholarship to help you undertake further education, research or a clinical project.

You can find out more on the University of East Anglia website.

Bevan Prize for Health and Wellbeing

As a person or organisation working to ensure equality of access and equality of health outcomes in the UK, you can apply or be nominated for a Bevan Prize for Health and Wellbeing.

Visit the Bevan Foundation website for more information.

Florence Nightingale Foundation Scholarships

As a registered nurse or midwife, you can apply for a Florence Nightingale Foundation Scholarship to help you expand your understanding of the nursing profession to the benefit of patient care.

You can find out more on the Florence Nightingale Foundation website.

Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy and Practice

As a mid-career professional, academic researcher, clinician, hospital or insurance manager, government policymaker or journalist from the UK and seven other countries, you can apply for a Harkness Fellowship. 

Fellows spend up to 12 months in the United States, working with leading US experts to study health care delivery reforms and critical issues on the health policy agenda in both the US and their home countries. Each fellowship will provide up to US$119,000 in support.

You can find out more on the Commonwealth Fund website.

RCN Foundation bursaries

The RCN Foundation is an independent charity. It offers a number of bursaries to fund learning, development and research opportunities.

RCN Foundation

Page last updated - 18/05/2023