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

ESRC is launching a centres competition for Foundations of inclusive growth as part of its contribution to the new Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). GCRF is a £1.5 billion fund to support cutting-edge research which addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. The fund will address global challenges through disciplinary and interdisciplinary research and will strengthen capability for research and innovation within both UK and developing countries, providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need.

Research centres are major ESRC strategic investments. In addition to taking forward an ambitious research agenda and making significant economic and societal impact, they add value by increasing infrastructure, building capacity, encouraging interdisciplinary working in social science and beyond, and enabling research collaboration in the UK and internationally. 

The aims of the ESRC’s GCRF Centres competition 2016: Foundations of inclusive growth will be to:

  • develop interdisciplinary relationships within and beyond the social sciences around key global research challenges
  • build strong collaborations with UK and international non-academic stakeholders in the identification of these challenges
  • co-produce and deliver substantive and innovative interdisciplinary research agendas
  • build both UK and overseas capacity to address relevant challenges faced by developing countries

ESRC is investing up to £10 million full economic cost (fEC) over five years in research centres that qualify for funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund. It is anticipated that ESRC will fund two centres through this investment.

Thematically, submissions will be encouraged to focus on the five core areas ESRC has initially identified as its GCRF contribution:

  • Building effective institutions in conflict-affected and fragile states
  • Migration, mobility and development
  • Dynamics of inequalities
  • Innovation and inclusive economic growth
  • Shocks, security, risks and resilience

How to apply

All proposals must be submitted through the Research Councils’ Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system by 16.00 on 6 September 2016. Detailed guidance about how to apply is provided below. Standard ESRC eligibility rules apply. See the RCUK website for a list of eligible organisations.

The Je-S application form will be available from 20 June 2016.

Call documents


  • Deadline for submitting full proposals – 16.00 on 6 September 2016
  • Shortlisting panel meeting – early January 2017
  • Decision for shortlisted applicants – mid January 2017
  • Interviews for shortlisted applicants – late January 2017
  • Decisions to applicants – early February 2017
  • Start date for successful proposals - 1 April 2017