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ISCF Healthy Ageing Social, Behavioural & Design Research Programme


UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will be inviting applications to the ISCF Healthy Ageing Social Behavioural and Design Research Programme from May 2020. £9.5m (100% fEC) will be available to support worldleading research that makes a significant contribution to the lives of people as they age. The research programme is part of the ISCF Healthy Ageing Challenge Fund, a £98m investment which seeks to support the UK Government Ageing Society Grand Challenge mission to ensure people can enjoy at least 5 extra healthy and independent years of life by 2035, whilst narrowing the gap between the experiences of the richest and poorest.

The Social, Behavioural and Design Research Programme (SBDRP) is spearheaded by the Research Director, Professor Judith Phillips, who is responsible for research across the full range of Healthy Ageing Challenge activities. Successful projects will be expected to work closely with the Research Director, as well as taking an active role in a Community of Practice, a forum to share learning, research and practice across the portfolio of investments in the Healthy Ageing Challenge, including the business-led Trailblazer projects.

The SBDRP will fund interdisciplinary academic-led teams, working in partnership with a range of stakeholders, to develop the research base in social, behavioural and design aspects of healthy ageing, enhancing our understanding of the needs of the ageing population, informing innovators and influencing market behaviours. Proposals to the programme should include meaningful engagements with end-users, older people and businesses, as well as reflecting the diversity of ageing populations.

Applicants are encouraged to critically engage with social, behavioural and design aspects of the Healthy Ageing Challenge themes outlined in the Challenge Framework. Proposals may include, but are not limited to, approaches that address creating healthy and active environments (including maintaining health at work), the life course, understanding the behaviour of consumers of healthy ageing products and services, and inclusive design.

Interdisciplinary approaches, novel partnerships (including with businesses and social enterprises), new ideas and innovative ways of working are encouraged. Additionally, those working outside of the ageing domain, but with expertise which may be of significant benefit to understanding and building on the opportunities of an ageing society, are encouraged.

A total budget of £9.5m is available for the call and UKRI are inviting projects of up to £2m and of no more than 36 months duration. These figures are presented at 100% fEC and ESRC will contribute 80% of fEC. Projects need to be led by an academic at an eligible UK Research Organisation. The call for proposals will open in May 2020, with projects starting no later than January 2021.

The call is being led by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), in collaboration with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), on behalf of UKRI.

Indicative Timetable

  • May 2020: Call for research applications published
  • June 2020: Deadline for submitting applications
  • January 2021: Award start date