The Centre for Investigative Journalism
The Centre for Investigative Journalism

Lyra McKee Bursary Scheme 2023

Applications have now closed for the 2023 #CIJLyraMcKee Investigative Journalism Training and Mentoring Bursary Scheme. Only successful applicants will be contacted.

#CIJLyraMcKee Bursary Scheme:

#CIJLyraMcKee Bursary Scheme was established in memory of a young and courageous Irish investigative journalist Lyra McKee, who was shot dead by dissident republicans in Derry in April 2019.

The aim of this five-month bursary scheme is to train and mentor people from underprivileged backgrounds, who aspire to become journalists or who are at the very early stages of their journalism career.

The Lyra McKee Journalism Training Bursary was inspired by Lyra’s determination to become an investigative journalist despite personal disability, the need to care for her disabled mother as well as fighting the in-built bias against working-class entrants to journalism.

Launched in 2019, this will be our fourth intake (the 2020 bursary scheme was postponed due to the global Covid-19 pandemic).

What to expect?

It is not just a paid-for training.

The #CIJLyra McKee Bursary Scheme is a five-month programme which incorporates training at #CIJSummer Conference 2023 and online as well as a mentoring programme with regular meetings.

It builds towards a Pitch to the Editors session, where the trainees will pitch stories to the working UK editors. 

“My expectations were exceeded. Beforehand I thought it would have been paid-for training sessions but it was so, so, so much more. The mentoring and on-hand support was invaluable.”

Bursary recipient 2022

Why apply?

#CIJLyraMcKee provides cutting edge investigative journalism training (online courses and in-person #CIJSummer Investigative Journalism Conference 2023), and regular online mentoring from leading investigative journalists, culminating in a “Pitch to the Editors” Day, when the trainees pitch their stories to working UK editors.

“I think it’s a really generous scheme that genuinely wants to equip people with the skills to further themselves. The addition of mentoring felt vital to me. I’ve been for job interviews where the interviewer was very impressed with the fact I was on the scheme. Thanks so much.”

Bursary recipient 2021

It is a tough and very practical training programme with a great success record.

During the duration of the programme and assisted by the mentors, lots of participants secured journalism jobs and internships following their training at #CIJSummer Conference, a fantastic measure of the programme’s success. These include positions at BBC Scotland Disclosure team, The Times, Deutsche Welle, BBC Humberside, FE Week. In 2021 one trainee got a place at the BBC Future Voices Scheme for bilingual reporters.

Cherise Hamilton won Gold for The Creativity Award and Bronze for Best Current Affairs Podcast from Brit Pod Awards 2021.
In 2022

Francesca Hughes’ pitch to the editors, about the price difference of university accommodation for the able bodied and disabled students was commissioned by one of the editors Ramzy Alwakeel, and was published by openDemocracy.

Reece Stafferton co-founded a media co-operative in Leicester – Great Central Gazette.

Who can apply?

We especially welcome applications from people from poorer backgrounds, people of colour, people with disabilities, carers, members of the LGBTQ+ community, travellers and anyone who cannot afford to pay for the #CIJSummer training. It is open to the UK and the Republic of Ireland residents only. Applicants must be at least 18 years old.

What is covered by the bursary scheme?

The 2023 bursary scheme has funding from the Lorana Sullivan Foundation and from Lyra McKee’s family.

The bursary covers training and mentoring, as well as, depending on the trainees needs, travel and accommodation in London to attend the #CIJSummer Conference 2023.

Key dates

Application opens: 26 January 2023
Application deadline: 9 April 23:59
Offers to successful applicants made by: 1 May 2023
Programme starts: Mid May 2023
#CIJSummer Conference 2023: 28-29 June 2023
‘Pitch to the Editors’ Day: September 2023
Programme ends: September 2023


Applications for the 2023 scheme have now closed.


“I really enjoyed [Pitch to the Editors]! Getting that level of feedback from people I would be pitching to in the future was really helpful, as I now understand what they would be looking for. Despite studying journalism at university I have always struggled to understand what an editor would want from me in a pitch and now I don’t feel in the dark anymore. It was also great to hear other people’s pitches and feedback for other stories.”

Bursary recipient 2022.

“I think the scheme is invaluable and one of the best opportunities I have had in the industry. It helped me network with other journalists, develop my data skills, and attend the CIJ Summer Conference. I now feel better equipped to continue pursuing a career in journalism.”

Bursary recipient 2021

“I think it’s a really helpful scheme that genuinely wants to equip people with the skills to further themselves. The addition of mentoring felt vital to me. I’ve been for job interviews where the interviewer was very impressed with the fact I was on the scheme, so it’s given me opportunities to impress people and a boost for my CV. I’ve enjoyed it all. Thanks so much. “

Bursary recipient 2021