The ESRC and AHRC of the UK and the JSPS, are pleased to invite high quality social science, arts and humanities proposals between UK and Japanese researchers. The total UK budget for this opportunity is £3 million.
UK applicants may request between £350,000 to £425,000 (100% full economic cost) per project. If successful, UKRI will meet 80% of the full economic costs and the host institution is expected to support the remaining 20%.
The total Japanese budget for this opportunity is ¥300m. Japanese applicants may request up to ¥30m per project over 3 years (up to ¥10m per year). Together we expect to fund up to ten joint proposals for a period of three years.
Successful projects will be expected to begin in December 2021.
Background to funding agencies and collaboration
ESRC and AHRC are part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and are, respectively, the largest funders of social science, and arts and humanities research in the UK. UKRI is eager to support the UK research community in expanding its global engagement. Japan has been identified as a partner of choice and a focus of investment for UKRI.
Analysis of co-publication data from Scopus has shown that where UK and Japanese researchers work together in and across the social sciences and arts and humanities (SSH), the research that they produce is of the highest quality.
In addition, a UK-Japan networking opportunity (launched in 2018), focused on improving the connectivity between UK and Japanese SSH research communities, proved exceptionally popular and offered further evidence of the appetite for collaboration within these communities.
With this in mind, UKRI is eager to capitalise on the collaboration opportunities between the two countries through this joint opportunity with JSPS.
The JSPS carries out international joint research programs to advance collaborative research between excellent researchers in Japanese universities and institutes and their overseas colleagues, while providing opportunities for early career researchers to hone their skills.
These programs are carried out in cooperation with overseas science-promotion organizations so as to respond to the global development of scientific research activities.
This initiative will provide funding for high-quality collaborative research projects between UK and Japanese researchers which contribute to advancing impacts for the benefit of both countries.
UKRI and JSPS are keen to support collaboration between researchers and teams in areas of mutual strength and shared interest. Proposals must have a majority focus within ESRC’s or AHRC’s remits to be eligible.
Whilst this opportunity is open across the entire breadth of the social sciences, arts and humanities, we are particularly interested in proposals that acknowledge the current global context in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and aim to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the pandemic.
For example, this might include proposals that aim to contribute towards:
- improving policy, communication and service design post-COVID
- speeding up recovery and reducing costs and long-term scarring
- influencing the direction of recovery towards more equitable, inclusive, sustainable and resilient cultures, communities and societies.
This list is not exhaustive.
Proposals should also:
- consider how to make the best use of available expertise in the UK and Japan, together with the added value of new or existing collaborations
- demonstrate evidence of the strength and complementarity of their collaboration and how the partnership will be managed
- consider how they can provide opportunities for early career researchers to participate in order to enable long term collaboration beyond the lifetime of any project.
We will be looking for evidence of a strong commitment to supporting the development of researchers at all stages of their career and capacity-building. This will be expected to include a strong career development programme shaped to suit the stage of the researchers’ career and providing increased opportunities for professional development.
This should include, but not be limited to, the early career stage. You are encouraged to consider how you can support the career development of all members of the team.
The focus should be on the quality and impact of the research, and how increasing capacity contributes to this. Examples of building capacity include:
- support and mentoring
- management and leadership.
Including impact in research grant proposals
We expect applicants to consider the potential scientific, societal, cultural and economic impacts of their research, with outputs, dissemination and impact a key part of the criteria for most peer review and assessment processes.
It is important, therefore, to set out how you intend to identify and actively engage relevant users of the research and stakeholders (within and beyond the academic community including, for instance, the public sector, private sector, civil society or the wider public in general.)
You must include evidence of any existing engagement with relevant end users. You should articulate a clear understanding of the context and needs of these users and consider ways for the proposed research to meet or impact upon these needs.
The proposal should also outline how the legacy of proposed activity will be managed to engage beneficiaries and increase the likelihood of its impact in providing lasting value to participants, stakeholders and wider social science, arts and humanities communities.
Opportunities for making an impact may arise, and should be taken, at any stage during the research lifecycle:
- the planning and research design stage
- the period of funding
- all activities that relate to the project up to – and including – the time when funding has ended.
The research lifecycle therefore includes knowledge exchange and impact realisation activities – including reporting and publication, and the archiving, future use, sharing, and linking of data.
It is important that researchers have in place a robust strategy for maximising the likelihood of impact opportunities and their own capacity for taking advantage of these.
To be effective, all communication, engagement and impact activities must be planned in detail and properly resourced in the proposal. Throughout the relevant sections of the research proposal, applicants should therefore actively consider how these impacts can be maximised and developed.
Applicants should also note the COVID-19 guidance for applicants: accounting for the unknown impacts of COVID-19 (ESRC).