ESRC Pilot Urgency Grants Mechanism

The Urgency Grants Mechanism is a pilot launched by ESRC, on behalf of RCUK, to enable a fast response to urgent or unforeseen events (or the consequences from such an event) and a unique, one time opportunity to undertake research of high scientific importance in response to the event. Proposed research will focus solely on urgent data collection and essential initial analysis. In terms of the event, the emphasis is on the unexpected and unusual nature of the occurrence.

Submission of an urgent research grant proposal is only permitted if relying on other funding opportunities would clearly result in a missed opportunity to undertake economic or social research of high scientific importance or work of economic and societal impact that meet ESRC priorities. It is not anticipated that applications will be submitted concurrently to the Urgency Grants Mechanism and to other available ESRC funding schemes.

This mechanism is intended to:

  • provide an opportunity for researchers to put forward proposals to undertake economic and social science research to respond rapidly to rare and unforeseen events (no later than four weeks from the first occurrence of the scientific opportunity)
  • provide an opportunity for researchers to put forward grant proposals to respond quickly to such events when availability of, or access to, data or facilities is required. 
  • provide grants for up to 24 months of work, to a maximum amount of £200,000 (100 per cent fEC) of ESRC funding.

No studentships or equipment can be funded under this mechanism.

Applicants must submit a project outline, clearly stating the ESRC lead discipline area of the project. The outline should describe both the proposed work and the reasons for the urgency and should be submitted for approval by email to See the 'Urgency Grant Specification' for details on the information required to be submitted in the project outline.

Following approval, urgency proposals must be submitted, within four weeks, to ESRC via the Je-S system. Please note the decision of Council is final. Project outline not invited by ESRC to submit a full proposal cannot be revised and resubmitted as a second project outline through the Urgency Grant Mechanism.

The reviewing and moderation process should be completed within one month from submission of the full Urgency proposal (submitted via Je-S) and it is expected that research will begin within one month of the offer acceptance being returned.

The final score range of successful proposals will be published. The scores will be batched and uploaded with ESRC Grant Assessment Panel results approximately every four months.

Research proposals on Ebola

DFID and the Wellcome Trust have opened the Ebola Health Research Call (external website) - an urgent grant call for research related to Ebola, including social science research.

If you are submitting an Urgent Grant Proposal related to Ebola, please make a clear case to explain how your proposal falls outside the remit of the DFID and Wellcome Trust call.

Further information

For further information contact: