ESRC Strategic Urgency Grants

ESRC Strategic Urgency Grants: Strategic call for proposals related to the Mediterranean migration crisis

In July 2013, ESRC piloted an Urgency Grants Mechanism, managed on a responsive mode basis, to respond to rare and unforeseen events where there is a strong case for immediate social science research. Following a review of the pilot scheme, Urgent Research Grants are now run on a strategic basis, with ESRC inviting calls for projects in areas deemed to require rapid action.

We are now opening an Urgent Research Grant call for projects related to the currently unfolding migration crisis in the Mediterranean. Through this call, we aim to test and demonstrate the capability of the UK social science community to respond to urgent social crises. We aim for projects to commence by 1 September 2015.

With the unprecedented levels of migration across the Mediterranean this spring, and the catastrophic death toll that has resulted, there is an urgent need for social science research to understand the particular dynamics of this migration process. This will provide a robust evidence base to inform the development of policy and responses by governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental actors. As the current location of migrant populations may be transitory, with migrants returned to their countries of origin or potentially spread elsewhere in Europe, as well as the risk of further catastrophic events, it is essential to enable fieldwork to start as soon as possible.

We are inviting proposals to conduct urgent data collection and essential initial analysis focused principally on migrants who have made the journey across the Mediterranean into Europe.

Proposals are expected to demonstrate:

  • a robust social science methodological framework to conduct qualitative and/or quantitative research among migrant groups, informed by appropriate, current social science conceptual frameworks
  • suitable connections with governmental and/or non-governmental actors in one or more relevant countries to enable access to the migrant populations
  • a management plan for how the project will enable fieldwork to commence in a matter of weeks
  • plans to make the data and analysis available as quickly as possible to relevant practitioners and policymakers, with appropriate considerations for security, privacy, confidentiality and research ethics.

We invite proposals for a duration of up to 24 months, to a maximum amount of £200,000 (100 per cent fEC). As normal, ESRC will pay 80 per cent of the fEC, with the research organisation contributing the other 20 per cent. This length of time is intended to enable analysis of the data, and potentially some additional fieldwork in 2016. However, we expect that the majority of data collection activity will take place this summer and early autumn. We expect to fund one or two projects under this call.

Key dates

  • Project outlines must be submitted by 16.00 UK time on 9 June 2015
  • Full proposals must be submitted by 16.00 UK time on 6 July 2015
  • Grants to commence – 1 September 2015

Call documents


If you have any questions or would like further information about the call, please contact:

Enquiries relating to technical aspects of the Je-S form should be addressed to: