The ESRC launched and commissioned the third round of the Transformative Research call in 2014-15. The aim of the scheme is to provide a stimulus for genuinely transformative research ideas at the frontiers of the social sciences, enabling research which challenges current thinking to be supported and developed.

The ESRC is committed to fostering and promoting greater transformative innovation and risk in the research that we support. We broadly define transformative research as involving pioneering theoretical and methodological innovation, the novel application of theory and methods in new contexts, or research based on the engagement of unusual disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. Research may also be transformational in terms of its impact. The call encouraged applicants to design a research question that was both highly ambitious and creative, considering the potential scientific, economic and societal impact.

The 2014-15 call closed for applications in February and a total of 106 applications were received.  Research Organisations were permitted to submit a maximum of two applications, selected through internal processes. The anonymous Case for Support documents were assessed by a Commissioning Panel of experts from the academic community and shortlisted applicants were invited to pitch their proposal at the 'Pitch to Peers' workshop.  

Following the workshop, the Commissioning Panel recommended funding for 12 grants, which all have a maximum limit of £250,000 (100 per cent fEC) and run for 18 months. Projects are due to commence from 1 January 2016.