In November 2017 we will be announcing an open competition for research centres. There will be no priority areas for this call. We would welcome applications of excellent quality in any area of social science within ESRC's remit.
Research centres are major ESRC strategic investments. In addition to taking forward an ambitious research agenda and making significant economic or societal impact, they add value by increasing research infrastructure, building capacity, encouraging interdisciplinary working in social science and beyond, and enabling research collaboration in the UK and internationally.
Research centre funding is aimed at experienced research leaders who require longer-term or extended support for research groups, inter-institutional research networks, project-linked programmes, medium-to-large surveys, other infrastructure or methodological developments, or any related larger-scale projects. Research centres also have a distinct role in supporting the development of early career researchers and building new research capacity. They are expected to be high-impact investments over the longer term.
The ESRC will be investing up to £30 million 100% full economic cost (fEC) over five years through this Centres competition. The competition is for proposals ranging from £2 million to £8 million 100% full economic cost (fEC) with a term of up to five years. We will meet 80% of the full economic costs on proposals submitted (ie ESRC funding total of £24 million at 80% fEC). It is anticipated that ESRC will fund four centres. All proposals to this call must be led by a researcher at an eligible UK research organisation (RO) and will need to be submitted through the Research Councils' Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S). Proposals will need to show 100% fEC of the proposed research.
We anticipate considerable interest in this competition which will be run as a two-stage application process and, as in the recent Large Grants competition, we will ask ROs to limit the number of applications to support the most competitive bids. We have been reviewing our Centres policy and in this round we will be looking for evidence of long term institutional commitment, including additional financial resources from the RO to extend the work programme beyond the 100% fEC funding requested. In addition to any Centre applications supported by the RO, all investments currently designated as ESRC Centres will be entitled to apply to this competition.
How to apply
Full guidance on eligibility, closing dates, how to apply to the call and assessment criteria will be published in November 2017.
- Call published – November 2017
- Deadline for submitting outline proposals – March 2018
- Start date - 1 October 2019