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Economic and Social Research Council Research Grants

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Calls for Proposals


Tuesday, 31 December 2019
Available Funding:
£350,000 to £1 million (100 per cent full Economic Cost (fEC))

The ESRC Research Grants (open call) invites proposals from eligible individuals and research teams for standard research projects, large-scale surveys and other infrastructure projects and for methodological developments. The call offers researchers considerable flexibility to focus on any subject area or topic providing that it falls within ESRC’s remit. Proposals can draw from the wider sciences, but the social sciences must represent more than 50 per cent of the research focus and effort. We particularly encourage ambitious and novel research proposals addressing new concepts and techniques and those with the potential for significant scientific or societal and economic impact. We are also keen to encourage fresh ideas from new researchers and appropriate proposals are welcomed from those with limited research experience. Our funding decisions are based on a number of criteria including quality, timeliness, potential impact and value for money.

Eligible Applicants:

All UK Higher Education Institutions are eligible to receive funds for research, postgraduate training and associated activities. Applicants are eligible for funding whether or not they are established members of a recognised Research Organisation (RO). Applicants for research grants who are not established members of a recognised RO must be accommodated by the RO and provided with appropriate facilities to carry out the research.
Research proposals may be submitted jointly by more than one applicant. In such cases, one person must be regarded as the principal applicant taking the lead responsibility for the conduct of the research and the observance of the terms and conditions.
Co-investigators - international, and business, third sector or government body

ESRC attaches major importance to the position of UK social science in the international and global arena. It positively encourages active collaboration between UK researchers and those in other countries, where this will help to ensure that UK research is at the international leading edge. To this end, it has forged collaborative funding agreements with leading overseas partners. Further details about these agreements are available at:

Project Length:

No specific time limit. Proposals can be submitted at any time and are usually assessed within 26 weeks.

Further Financing Information:

The call is for proposals ranging from £350,000 to £1 million (100 per cent full Economic Cost (fEC)) for a period of up to five years. Detailed information on eligible costs can be found on pages 30- 35 of ESRC’s Research Funding Guide ( -for -applicants/research- funding -guide/ ). Proposals will need to show 100 per cent of full Economic Cost of the proposed research. The ESRC will meet 80 per cent of the full economic costs on proposals submitted.