This call has now closed. The following is for information only.

A new funding opportunity is being launched as part of a decade-long partnership between the UK's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Department for International Development (DFID) which aims to place innovation and appetite for risk at the centre of world-class research.

Sitting within the ESRC-DFID Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research, the Development Frontiers Research Fund aims to fund innovative, strategic and catalytic research with the potential to radically impact on sustainable development concepts or practices, or lead to new thinking and action on poverty reduction.

Proposals are invited for projects with a full economic cost (fEC) value between £200,000 and £300,000. Projects can be between 12 and 18 months long, but must finish no later than 31 March 2019. We expect to fund around 14-18 awards, depending on the quality of the proposals received.

This call has been designed to enable researchers to conduct exploratory, small-scale projects with a view to developing ideas, collaboration, and research capacity for future larger grants for other calls, whether to ESRC or DFID or other funders. This second call within the Development Frontiers Research Fund will support innovative, interdisciplinary research that is focused on new ways to tackle the challenges encountered at the intersections between poverty, environmental sustainability and conflict/fragility in specific developing country contexts (please see the call specification for further details). 

This call is open to proposals from researchers based anywhere in the world. Eligible research organisations from the UK and other developed countries can lead on a maximum of up to two proposals to this call. There is no restriction on the number of proposals that developing country research organisations can lead on. A requirement of this call is that at least one developing country researcher and at least one early career researcher must be included in the research team, either as principal investigator or co-investigator.

Call documents

How to apply

This call will be commissioned through a non-standard process, including an anonymous first review stage where the Case for Support and Pathways to Impact statements will be assessed by a panel of experts with no reference to the applicants' identities.

Shortlisted applicants will then be invited to present their proposal at a 'Pitch-to-Peers' assessment workshop on 26-27 April 2017 where anonymity will be lifted. The principal investigator must be able to attend this workshop. Funding decisions will be made by a commissioning panel following the assessment workshop and communicated to applicants in May 2017.

Proposals must be submitted through the Research Councils' Joint Electronic Submissions system (Je-S). 

The deadline for proposals is 16.00 (UK time) on 26 January 2017.

Webinar for potential applicants

ESRC held a number of web-based seminars for potential applicants to this call to provide guidance on the programme, the call and the application process.