Council transition to the new Funding Service – ESRC

In 2023, applicants to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and other councils will start making applications via the Funding Service rather than via the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system. This is in line with the Simpler and Better Funding (SBF) programme.

We are publishing expected timescales for the transition to enable applicants and research support staff to plan 2023 submissions.

UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) principles of assessment and decision making will continue to underpin our peer review policies and processes during and after the transition to the Funding Service.

Launch of ESRC responsive mode opportunities

The Je-S system closed for all new submissions to ESRC responsive mode opportunities on 4 May 2023 to enable transition to the new UKRI Funding Service.

There is no facility to transfer incomplete applications from Je-S to the Funding Service. Therefore, as a fresh submission to the Funding Service will be required in such circumstances, it is the responsibility of the research organisation to extract any required information prior to the closure of Je-S in December 2023.

ESRC guidance and relevant funding opportunity pages have been updated so applicants can submit their proposals using the Funding Service.

We will initially launch the ‘ESRC Responsive Mode: Research Grant’, ‘ESRC Responsive Mode: New Investigator’, and ‘ESRC Responsive Mode: Secondary Data Analysis Initiative’ opportunities on the Funding Service as consecutive rounds with closing dates.

During the initial phases, the Funding Service will continue to develop in response to internal and external user needs. Opening in rounds means we will be able to accommodate system developments and assess applications in a batch submitted under the same conditions.

Applications will not be transferable between rounds.

All round one dates for responsive mode opportunities on the Funding Service now live

ESRC responsive mode: research grant

ESRC responsive mode: new investigator

ESRC working with Brazilian researchers

ESRC working with Luxembourg researchers

UKRI-National Science Foundation’s Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) lead agency opportunity

ESRC responsive mode: Secondary Data Analysis Initiative

Round two launch date: 29 September 2023

Once launched on the Funding Service, there will be no break in submissions.

Round two for all opportunities will launch on the Funding Service on 29 September 2023.

Harmonisation across councils

How applicants use the UKRI Funding Service highlights improvements to the way you will interact with UKRI through the new system, including accessing guidance all in one place and only requesting key information when necessary.

The overall processes and principles of our responsive mode opportunities will remain the same, although interactions between applicants, assessors and UKRI through the Funding Service will be a different experience to the previous system.

A standard set of application questions and associated assessment criteria have been agreed across UKRI. These areas will form the core questions for all other ESRC opportunities:

  • vision of the project
  • approach to the project
  • data management statement
  • The capability of the applicant or applicant and the team to deliver the project
  • resources requested to do the project
  • ethical and responsible research and innovation considerations of the project

Appropriate consideration of the management of any data acquired during the proposed research will be assessed alongside the section on approach of the project.

In line with existing guidance applicants should embed a consideration of how their research will achieve impact in their application. This will be assessed in the ‘vision and approach’ and ‘resources and cost justification’ sections.

Ask a question about the SBF programme

If you would like to ask a question about the UKRI SBF programme, please contact:


Telephone: 01793 547490

Last updated: 14 August 2023

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