RCUK Global Challenges Research Fund- what we know so far…

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries through:

  • challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research
  • strengthening capacity for research and innovation within both the UK and developing countries
  • providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need.

Below are some slides summarising what we know so far…


Trans-Atlantic “Digging into Data” funding available

Digging a hole by Adam Bindslev CC BY-NC
Digging a hole by Adam Bindslev CC BY-NC
Digging a hole by Adam Bindslev CC BY-NC

The AHRC have recently announced the launch of the fourth “Digging into Data” challenge, funded by a consortium of funders known as the Trans-Atlantic Platform (including AHRC and ESRC in the UK):

Trans-Atlantic Platform: Digging into Data

What’s it about?

The funders are looking for projects that address social science and/or humanities research questions through the development and innovative application of tools and methods for capturing and analysing “big data”.

Who can be involved?

This time the challenge has been expanded to incorporate new funders in new countries: ESRC and AHRC will fund UK partners, but it will also be possible to work with partners in Canada, Mexico, USA, Argentina, Brazil and a number of European countries (Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal). For the full list of countries and funders, see: http://www.transatlanticplatform.com/2016/02/29/trans-atlantic-platform-announces-the-2016-t-ap-digging-into-data-challenge/

Proposals must include “teams from at least three member countries, and must include partners from both sides of the Atlantic. Projects must address any research question in humanities and/or social sciences disciplines by using large-scale, digital data analysis techniques, and show how these techniques can lead to new insights. Successful applicants will receive funding from their own national funding agencies for projects that can last for up to 36 months.”

Anything else?

Applications should be submitted through the Digging into Data website, and you can find out more about the call there. The submission system will be available after 15th April. The deadline for proposals is 29th June 2016. Please get in touch with your Faculty Research Funding and Policy Manager at an early stage if you are interested in applying.


2016-17 Work Programme Information days (Horizon 2020) – Registration now open …

…at various UK locations between 2 – 18 November 2015. The events will be run by ESRC and other UK National Contacts which provide guidance on Horizon 2020. They aim to promote the new Work Programmes 2016-17 to the UK social science and humanities research community and provide information about the calls, as well as some helpful advice on applying to the European research framework.

Upcoming events 2015

  • The British Academy, London: 2 November
  • University of Nottingham: 4 November
  • University of Glasgow: 9 November
  • Swansea University: 16 November
  • Queen’s University Belfast: 18 November

Registration is open here, on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.


ESRC Inviting applications to join the Grant Assessment Panels

The Economic and Social Research Council are inviting applications to join their Grant Assessment Panels. Successful appointees will review funding applications from colleagues across the HE sector and make recommendations to the ESRC Committees that make final funding decisions.

Applications close end of next week, 8th May at 5pm and the application form is pretty short!

More information at the links below:

Applications are welcome from academics that can demonstrate:

  • a strong research track record in their field
  • a longstanding experience of peer review
  • a knowledge and experience of working across disciplinary boundaries
  • an appreciation of international collaborative research and agendas
  • an understanding of knowledge exchange and research impact
  • an appreciation of the value and use of different methodological approaches.

They are also particularly keen to invite applicants in the following areas:

  • Area and Development Studies
  • Demography
  • Education
  • Macro – economics
  • Human Geography
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Psychology
  • Social Anthropology
  • Sociology



Major changes to ESRC Standard Grants funding thresholds


The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have recently announced some major changes to their Standard Grants scheme that will be coming on July 1st.

Applicants can currently apply for a grant of between £250k and £2m under this scheme all year, but from July 1st these limits will change to £350k and £1m. An annual scheme will then offer grants above £1m.

This is clearly ESRC’s response to demand management as opposed to the sanctions that NERC have implemented. We can be glad they haven’t gone down the sanctions route, but the narrowing of the scheme will cause some headaches. If you have any concerns on this feel free to have a chat with your RBS Faculty Contact, or Research Lead.




ESRC Research Seminars and Strategic Networks Competition 2015-16

The ESRC has published the 2015-16 call for research seminars and strategic networks for groups of academic researchers, postgraduate students and non-academic users for different organisations. Seminar groups meet regularly around a theme and strategic networks, which are new to this call, will aim to generate innovative, interdisciplinary collaborations. 8-2754esrc-logo

There are a number of thematic areas which are: Civil Society, Education and Neuroscience, Biosocial research, and Big data. Seminars are encouraged to address one of these topics and strategic networks are required to address one. Seminar series grants are funded up to £30,000 and network grants up to £100,000.

For further information, see the call specification and the FAQs. The success rate for this call was about 25% last year. The deadline is 8 April 2015.


ESRC-AHRC-CASS International Centre Partnerships

A reminder of the call announced by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS)  to support China-UK International Centre Partnerships with the following aims:

  • Enable excellent international research collaboration between centres of excellence in the UK and China
  • Support the development of ambitious joint research agendas and stimulate the development of international and interdisciplinary collaborative research proposals
  • Promote mobility and develop capacity, thus contributing to the development of an internationally networked cohort of researchers who have the skills to work globally
  • Enhance pathways to international impact

Funding for this initiative is being supplied by the Newton Fund which is aimed at developing science and innovation partnerships that promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries

Further information including eligibility and how to apply can be accessed here.

The closing date is 16.00 (GMT) on 5 March 2015.



Solving Urban Challenges with Data

Innovate UK, ESRC and NERC are set to invest up to £7.5m in collaborative R&D projects (with a proportion available for relevant feasibility studies) to develop new solutions to urban challenges through their competition ‘Solving Urban Challenges with Data’.

They will be hosting a series of events to across the UK to discuss the competition in more detail and provide an overview of the datasets available whilst giving you the opportunity to network and develop partnerships for the competition. There will also be, on a first come first serve basis, an opportunity to meet with Innovate UK and Research Councils for 1 to 1 discussions about the competition.

The events will benefit academics and researchers in the following sectors: Energy, Transport, Built Environment, Health, Water and/or Financial Services.

For more information and to register for an event please visit the website or contact Jenni McDonnell.


What Works Wellbeing – Pre-Call Announcement and Workshop Registration

The ESRC will be inviting applications for its What Works Wellbeing Programme on 29 October 2014. 

Key dates

  • Full guidance on how to apply for this call – 29 October 2014
  • Applicant workshop (Birmingham) – 5 November 2014
  • Application deadline – 16.00 on 2 December 2014
  • Interviews for shortlisted applicants (London) – 11 February 2015
  • Award commences – from 1 April 2015

Other details can be viewed here.