Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Centre in Community Connectedness Full Stage (invite only)

Apply for funding to establish a centre in community participation and connectedness.

This centre will be a world-leading centre of excellence carrying out interdisciplinary, cutting-edge, and impactful research.

You must have already submitted an outline proposal and been shortlisted at the outline panel. You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding.

The full economic cost (FEC) of your project can be between £5 million and £9.7 million. UKRI will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Funding is available for up to five years.

Who can apply

This funding opportunity is only open to you if you submitted an outline proposal and have subsequently been shortlisted and invited to submit a full proposal. Any uninvited proposals will be rejected.

Standard ESRC eligibility rules apply. Please check the following before you apply:

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has updated the Individual Eligibility Policy and has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service.

For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

It is likely that successful applications will be led by experienced researchers who are internationally recognised, with proven ability to deliver a large-scale research project successfully and lead an investment of this nature. The amount of time committed to the grant by the project lead and project co-lead must be costed into the proposal, but very small fractions of project co-lead time should be avoided. Our standard research funding rules apply for staff engaged in more than one grant (see ESRC Research Funding Guide).

International Applicants

The inclusion of international project co-leads in proposals is permitted. Academic researchers (at PhD or equivalent status) must be from established overseas research organisations of comparable standing to UKRI-eligible UK research organisations in order to be listed as international project co-leads under this funding opportunity. You should read project co-lead (international) policy guidance for details of eligible organisations and costs.

International collaboration is not limited to project co-leads but may also involve partnerships to develop international datasets, promote knowledge exchange and international impact, and enhance social science conceptual development on an international scale.

Business, third sector or government body project co-leads

We welcome inter-institutional applications and strongly encourage collaboration to fulfil the aims of the centre. Partnerships are encouraged with non-HEI organisations and across third sector, business and the public sector, either as project partners or as project co-leads.

We will fund all justified costs associated with international and UK business, civil society or government bodies project co-leads at 100% FEC. However, these combined costs must not exceed 30% of the full 100% FEC cost of the grant.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI.

What we're looking for

We are looking to fund a centre that is focused on supporting and strengthening connectedness and participation in place-based communities across the UK.

The centre will bring together the right people, disciplines, institutions, and infrastructure to provide the evidence needed for this challenge within a five-year timeframe.

Please note that we will allow for a 10% deviation, either an increase or decrease, in the 100% FEC of proposals between the outline and full proposal stages. However please note that the maximum limit of £9.7 million, and minimum limit of £5 million at 100% full economic cost remains in force for all proposals.

When participation is low, communities can struggle to mobilise social capital and coordinate to identify and address challenges. Strengthening connectedness within and between communities can play an important role in reducing the social and economic marginalisation of individuals, groups, and areas.

There is still much to understand about how disparity in opportunities and outcomes, attachment to place, and external pressures intersect at the community level, and what this can mean for community connectedness and levels of participation. There also remains a lack of evidence on the impact of interventions designed to strengthen community, including:

  • resilience
  • engagement
  • social capital

Evidence is needed at a local, regional, and national level to ensure that decision makers understand the causal relationships between place-based disparities and community connectedness and can draw upon clear strategies that support community efforts to address these disparities.

We expect this evidence and research centre to bring together research disciplines that span our remit, for example, but not limited to:

  • engineering
  • architecture
  • design
  • data science
  • psychology
  • anthropology
  • the environmental and health sciences

The aim is to deliver cutting-edge interdisciplinary research that supports decision makers in understanding, developing and testing approaches that strengthen:

  • social connectedness
  • community and civic participation
  • pride in place
  • interpersonal and institutional trust
  • community resilience

This interdisciplinary centre will advance understanding of the factors and conditions that affect levels of community connectedness and cohesion within and across areas and extrapolate learning about the transferability of these lessons.

The successful team will have to demonstrate that their ambitions for the centre go beyond describing barriers and enablers to delivering impactful solutions within the lifetime of the award, for instance by working together and underpinning long-term and self-sustainable change to the communities they are working with.

The centre will need to demonstrate a strong commitment to working with community partners – collaborating with communities in specific locations to understand how contextual factors and the actions of local, regional, and national institutions and actors combine and relate to levels of community connectedness and participation.

You should demonstrate the wider applicability of, and capacity to scale, your community-level work.

The centre must also undertake broader activity such as the collection and use of data to build a comprehensive evidence base that has national-level relevance.


The centre’s objectives will be to:

  • understand the factors and conditions that affect levels of community connectedness and cohesion within and across areas. A particular focus should be placed on examining how some communities have achieved high levels of social capital and connectedness, and what we can learn about the transferability of these lessons
  • develop new interdisciplinary approaches to measuring connectedness and participation that allow local and national decision makers to understand the impact of different policies and practices
  • work with a coalition of partners – including community groups who will be the main focus of the research, as well as governments, people with lived experience, and the business community – to co-produce a programme of work that tests different approaches to strengthening social connectedness, community and civic participation, pride in place, and interpersonal and institutional trust. Wherever possible this should enable the identification of causal mechanisms
  • work with, and be responsive to, the needs of UK-based decision makers, with a specific focus on supporting the evidence needs of local and national decision makers and enabling the scaling of effective practices
  • remain responsive to national and global events relevant to community connectedness and resilience that emerge during the lifetime of the centre
  • engage with relevant UKRI investments, including maximising the use of existing data resources and identifying opportunities to collaborate and coordinate with other investments working in related areas

Topic areas

We invite applications that focus on a range of different topic areas relevant to community connectedness and participation. Examples of potential topics could include:

Metrics and measurement

Developing new approaches to measuring community participation and connectedness that would allow for the impact of interventions to be evaluated. For example, the use of machine learning for social network analysis.

Architecture and the built environment

Advancing understanding of people’s psychological and behavioural responses to their built environment and the impact on community behaviours. For example, public order, local consultation.

Culture, heritage, environment, and community

Understanding how cultural, heritage, environmental assets (for example, museums, waterways, and parks) and other public or private spaces affect, and can be used to strengthen, community connectedness and participation.

Engagement and ethics

Developing community engagement methodologies that account for the ethical issues that arise in testing the effectiveness of approaches to strengthening community connectedness and participation. For example, from public trust to the representativeness of community-level organisations, groups, and networks.

Harnessing insights from data

Using existing local, regional, or national administrative data to address the centre’s aims. This could also include drawing upon existing UKRI data collections and infrastructure as appropriate, for example:

  • Cohort and Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources (CLOSER)
  • Understanding Society: The UK Household Longitudinal Study
  • European Social Survey
  • World Values Survey
  • International Social Survey
  • Administrative Data Research UK
  • the UK Data Service

The above list is not exhaustive, and you are welcome to explore other areas as far as they meet the funding opportunity’s objectives.


The centre will advance understanding of how communities can achieve high levels of connectedness, social capital and participation and extrapolate learning about the transferability of these lessons.

Key outcomes should include:

  • enabling the identification and scaling of support infrastructure, activities, and policies that strengthen participation and connectedness within and across communities, in collaboration with communities, policy makers and businesses. This work will take account of multiple layers of potential intervention, from the macro to local levels
  • the development of new interdisciplinary approaches to measuring connectedness and participation that allow decision makers and communities to understand the impact of new infrastructure, activities, and policies
  • the creation of new data resources and tools made available to a new generation of researchers, decision makers, communities and practitioners to understand and enhance social capital and connectedness
  • local and national decision makers using evidence generated and shared by the centre to inform their approach to supporting community connectedness
  • a network of communities brought together by the centre to co-develop and deliver a cohesive work programme, which will take an inclusive approach to further connections and engagement
  • enhanced cross-sector capacity to understand and tackle barriers to community connectedness by co-developing work programmes with communities and key stakeholders, including local, regional, and national policymakers
  • new interdisciplinary and cross-sector networks and partnerships that build the capacity of the research and innovation system to develop an inclusive understanding of the topic and bring together the skills and experience needed to advance communality and community participation research in the UK

You will develop and add to this agenda.

You should propose a title for this UKRI centre in line with the focus described here. The successful team will need to seek approval for their submitted title from the UKRI Creating Opportunities, Improving Outcomes Programme Board, or come up with a new title if needed.

We expect to fund one single centre through this funding opportunity.

Research challenges

You must demonstrate that your centre will deliver:


High-quality, interdisciplinary, internationally recognised research findings to address unanswered questions about a defined challenge to our society, economy or both.

In this case, the centre will need to articulate how the proposed programme of work will increase understanding of, and (co)develop and test approaches that strengthen, community connectedness and participation.


Significant economic and societal impact, demonstrating that the centre is responding to its specified challenge. Impact should be a major consideration throughout the scoping of a proposal, and during and beyond the lifetime of a centre. Impact should be multisectoral, with evidence of user engagement from inception throughout all stages of the planned timeframe for the award. You must include a logic model in the Approach section demonstrating the changes the centre will bring about to respond to the challenge, and how and why your programme of research will bring about those changes. Further resources to support the development of a logic model can be found under ‘Supporting Documents’.


The resources needed to become a centre of excellence that adds value to the wider community. This will include developing the people, producing the data and creating the infrastructure needed to respond to their specified challenge, as well as making use of existing datasets and infrastructure.

Career and skills development

You should clearly articulate your plans for the career development of your project team. UKRI is a signatory to the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, and the Technician Commitment, through these we commit to support the professional and career development of researchers and technicians through our funding opportunities. You are encouraged to consider both leadership development and capacity building in your plans.

Leadership development skills should be considered at all career stages to equip researchers in the centre with the leadership skills needed to be able to design, lead and deliver large and complex or interdisciplinary projects and teams.

Research leadership should go beyond project management to include a capacity to enthuse, ignite and sustain an intellectual vision that is inclusive, flexible and open to challenge. The report fit for the future: research leadership matters gives insight into the skills related to research leadership at different career stages and some preliminary suggestions for how those skills might be supported across the career life-course.

You should also demonstrate how you plan to build capacity among decision makers to use evidence as well as building skills in academia, policy and industry engagement among research staff and technicians at all career levels, from PHD students to early and mid-career academics to established professors.

Up to three associated studentships may be included in this application, for those Doctoral Training Partnerships eligible to receive studentships from 2024.


Centres should maximise the use of relevant existing data resources in the first instance, as well as (where appropriate) producing data that responds to their proposed challenge and is of value to the wider community.

Data collection and management should be in accordance with our research data policy.

We fund a range of data infrastructures that are available and free to use for all bona fide researchers (subject to appropriate data sharing considerations).

Management and structure

You should consider the structure of your proposed centre to ensure it can successfully deliver the objectives of the funding opportunity, whether through a consortium approach or single institution.

The successful centre will be required to partner, collaborate and engage with a wide range of stakeholders and disciplines to agree priorities and deliver key activities.

Partnerships with non-higher education institutions organisations across government, industry and civil society, as well as internationally are encouraged where appropriate.

You must include a management plan in the Approach section, demonstrating:

  • how you will provide leadership across the collaborators involved in the application
  • how the management of the centre and its activities will be carried out, including details of project management and administration resource

You should also include details of any advisory group that will be appointed to oversee the development of the centre.

We will work with the appointed centre on their governance arrangements to ensure suitable representation from government departments and representation from the UKRI “Creating Opportunities, Improving Outcomes” theme (see the ‘Additional Information’ section below).

You are also expected to indicate your plans for monitoring progress against your logic model, and any plans for self-evaluation throughout the lifetime of the award.

The successful centre will be allocated an ESRC investment manager who will work with their centre to agree a monitoring and evaluation plan in the starting phase of the award. This will include submitting quarterly updates on progress to UKRI’s creating opportunities, improving outcomes programme board and regular reporting and meetings between us and the centre, for the centre to update us on activities, outputs, outcomes and impacts as well as spend and any key challenges or concerns.

Organisational support

We will be looking for evidence of long-term strategic and financial institutional commitment to the proposed centre, above the required 20% (as we fund at 80% FEC), which should be detailed in the Organisational Support section. This should be through the provision of grant-associated parallel activities. Examples include but are not limited to, studentships, summer schools, refurbishment of facilities for the Centre, provision of equipment, administration and new lectureships.

Research ethics

You must ensure that the proposed research will be carried out to a high ethical standard.

You must clearly state how any potential ethical, safeguarding and health and safety issues have been considered and will be addressed, ensuring that all necessary ethical approval is in place and all risks are minimised before the award commences.

All proposals must comply with the ESRC framework for research ethics.

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)

Promoting EDI is an integral part of our vision to deliver new knowledge and an enriched, healthier, more sustainable and resilient society and culture, and to contribute to a more prosperous economy.

You are expected to demonstrate throughout your proposal how you will observe and follow EDI in all of what you do, during the centre’s lifetime.

Environmental sustainability

We recognise that we must embed environmental sustainability in everything we do.

You are expected to consider the environmental impact of the centre’s activities and to put in place actions that encourage sustainability and mitigate any risk of environmental harm.

How to apply

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UKRI Funding Service. You cannot apply on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

The project lead is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service, but we expect all team members and project partners to contribute to the application.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

To apply:

  1. Follow the link to TFS in the email sent from the ESRC Centres mailbox.
  2. Confirm you are the project lead.
  3. Sign in or create a Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email
  4. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the ‘How to apply’ section on this Funding finder page.
  5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.


We must receive your application by 7 November 2023 at 4:00pm UK time.
You will not be able to apply after this time.
You should ensure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.

Processing personal data

ESRC as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your funding service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

Outcomes publication

ESRC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding Opportunity at What ESRC has funded – UKRI

If your application is successful, some personal information will be published via the UKRI Gateway to Research.

UKRI Funding Service: section guidance


In plain English, provide a summary that can be sent to potential reviewers to determine if your proposal is within their field of expertise.
This summary may be made publicly available on external facing websites, so please ensure it can be understood by a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the general public
  • the wider research community.
Guidance for writing a summary

Succinctly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • its context
  • the challenge the project addresses and how it will be applied to this
  • its aims and objectives
  • its potential applications and benefits.

Word count: 550

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead UK (PcL)
  • project co-lead (International) (PcL (I))
  • specialist
  • grant manager
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and Innovation Associate
  • technician
  • visiting researcher

Only list one individual as project lead.

Find out more about UKRI’s new grant roles and eligibility.

Section: Vision

Question: What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

explain how your proposed work:

  • meets a clearly defined challenge that is critical to the future of our society or the economy, or both
  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the field(s) or area(s)
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, generates new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy or the environment

Within the Vision section we also expect you to:

  • identify the potential direct or indirect benefits and who the beneficiaries might be

Within this section you can also:

  • demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant.

You must:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words
  • insert each new image onto a new line
  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)

Files must be:

  • Be smaller than 8MB

Word count: 1,000

Section: Approach

Question: How are you going to deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have designed your approach so that it:

  • Is interdisciplinary, bringing together the right disciplines to respond to your proposed challenge.
  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • if applicable, uses a clear and transparent methodology
  • makes use of existing data where relevant and justifies the collection of any new data in line with the challenge area
  • if applicable, summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • ensures that impact is multisectoral with evidence of user engagement from inception throughout all stages of the planned timeframe for the award. This should be backed up by a clear logic model demonstrating the changes the centre will bring about to respond to the challenge
  • describes how your, and if applicable your team’s, research environment (in terms of the place, its location, and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work
  • demonstrates evidence that issues relating to equality, diversity, inclusion have been considered throughout your approach

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • demonstrate access to the appropriate services, facilities, infrastructure, or equipment to deliver the proposal
  • provide a detailed and comprehensive project plan including milestones and timelines in the form of a Gantt chart or similar
  • include a detailed and appropriate plan for how you will acquire and manage data

Within this section you can also:

  • demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant.

You must:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words
  • insert each new image onto a new line
  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)

Files must be:

  • Be smaller than 8MB

Word count: 4,000

Section: Governance

Question: How will you manage the centre to successfully deliver its objectives?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how the proposed centre will be managed, demonstrating that your centre:

  • will be effectively governed, including details about advisory groups
  • will be effectively and inclusively managed, demonstrated by a clear management plan
  • has clear leadership team roles and responsibilities
  • will manage and encourage partnerships with non-HEI organisations across government, industry and civil society
  • has plans for monitoring your progress against your logic model (included in the Approach section), as well as self-evaluation throughout the lifetime of your award

Within this section you can also:

  • demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant.

You must:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words
  • insert each new image onto a new line
  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)

Files must be:

  • Be smaller than 8MB

Word count: 1,000

Section: Capacity building

Question: What do you think the capacity-building needs associated with this research challenge are and what is your approach to address them?

What the assessors are looking for in your response:

Explain your approach to and plans for building capability, including how you will:

  • support careers and capacity building, in line with the challenge area
  • demonstrate how you will enhance equality, diversity and inclusion across career stages and job roles in your centre

Within this section you can also:

  • demonstrate how you will support all career stages, pathways and types
  • demonstrate how you will add value by convening and aligning existing training activity across the UK
  • demonstrate how you will share good practice in skills and career development
  • explain what the skills needs are in the challenge area in context of activities already on offer either within participating research organisations or nationally and justify how you are going to address them
  • identify your intended training, careers and capacity building outcomes, actions to achieve these, and the relevant timescales, success criteria and evidence for each outcome

Within this section we also expect you to:

  • provide details of the studentships requested and the PhD topic(s) to be undertaken including:
    • proposed start and end date of the studentship(s)
    • duration of each studentship in years
    • name of the student(s), if known at the point of application
    • name of main supervisor
    • details of the accredited subject area in which the student will be based
    • confirmation that the DTP/CDT Director supports the proposed studentship arrangements
    • a summary statement of the PhD topic(s) to be undertaken and a justification for the length of the programme of study
    • a clear statement of how this is independent from, but will add value to, the principal research objectives set out in the application
    • a letter of support from the DTP Director should be submitted with this application. A letter should be within one side of A4 per student

Word count: 2,000

Section: References

Question: List the references you’ve used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response:

Ensure your application is a self-contained description. You can provide hyperlinks to relevant publications or online resources. However, assessors are not obliged to access the information they lead to or consider it in their assessment of your application. You must not include links to web resources in order to extend your application. If linking to web resources, to ensure the information’s integrity is maintained include, where possible, persistent identifiers such as digital object identifiers.

Word count 1,000

Section: Applicant and team capability to deliver

Question: Why are you the right individual or team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you, and if relevant your team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to develop others
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

The word count for this section is 3,000 words, 2,000 words to be used for R4RI modules and, if necessary, a further 1,000 words for Additions.

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you, and if relevant your team (investigators, researchers, other (technical) staff for example research software engineers, data scientists and so on, and partners), have and how this will help to deliver the proposed work. You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings listed below. You should use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasise where appropriate the key skills each team member brings:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit

Additions: Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 1,000 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences or outputs, but any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

You should complete this as a narrative and you should avoid CV type format.

Within this section you can also:

  • demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant.

You must:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words
  • insert each new image onto a new line
  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)

Word count: 3,000

Section: Your Organisation’s support

Question: Provide details of support from your research organisation.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a statement of support, no more than two sides of A4, from your research organisation detailing why the proposed work is needed. This should include details of any matched funding that will be provided to support the activity and any additional support that might add value to the work.

The committee will be looking for a strong statement of commitment from your research organisation.

We recognise that in some instances, this information may be provided by the Research Office, the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) or equivalent, or a combination of both.

You must also include the following details:

  • a significant person’s name and their position, from the TTO or Research Office, or both
  • office address or web link

Upload details are provided within the service on the actual application.

Word count: 10

Section: Project partners

Question: Provide details about any project partners’ contributions using the template provided.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Download and complete the Project partner contributions template (DOCX, 52KB). Paste the completed table into the funding service.

Each letter or email you provide should:

  • confirm the partner’s commitment to the project
  • clearly explain the value, relevance, and possible benefits of the work to them
  • describe any additional value that they bring to the project
  • be no more than one side of A4

Save letters or emails of support from each partner in a single PDF no bigger than 8MB. Unless specially requested, please do not include any personal data within the attachment.

For the file name, use the unique funding service number the system gives you when you create an application, followed by the words ‘project partner’.

If the attachment does not meet these requirements, the application will be rejected.

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If you do not have any project partners, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Ensure you have prior agreement from project partners so that, if you are offered funding, they will support your project as indicated in the contributions template.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Do not provide letters of support from host and project co-leads’ research organisations.

Word count 1,500

Section: Facilities

Question: Does your proposed research require the support and use of a facility?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter N/A into the text box, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

If you will need to use a facility (including access to, and use of data, infrastructure and resources) you should follow your proposed facility’s normal access request procedures. Where prior agreement is required, ensure you obtain their agreement that, should you be offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on your project. ESRC encourages the use of secondary and linked datasets.

In the text box below, for each requested facility you should provide:

Do not put the facility contact details in your response.

Word count 250

Section: Data management

Question: How will you manage and share data collected or acquired through the proposed research?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a data management plan which should clearly detail how you will comply with our published Research Data Policy, which includes detailed guidance notes.

If you are not generating new data as part of your grant application, you are not required to complete this section. Please enter ‘N/A’ in the text box, mark this section as complete and move to the next question.

We recognise the importance of research data quality and provenance. Research data generated by ESRC-funded research must be well-managed by the grant holder to enable their data to be exploited to the maximum potential for further research.

You should:

  • describe how you will publish your research findings
  • demonstrate that you comply with ESRC’s Research Data Policy and ESRC Framework for Research Ethics. This should include confirmation that existing datasets have been reviewed and why currently available datasets are inadequate for the proposed research. You should cover any legal and ethical considerations of collecting, releasing or storing the data, including consent, confidentiality, anonymisation, security and other ethical issues
  • explain how data collected, generated or acquired through the proposed research (such as primary input into research and first order results of that research) will be managed, including planning for the research through the life cycle of the award until data is accepted for archiving by the UK Data Service (UKDS). See the importance of managing and sharing data on the UKDS website for further information. Detailed advice on what assessors are looking for in your response can also be found on the UKDS site. We expect you to provide a summary of the points provided
  • critically consider any challenges to data sharing (e.g., copyright or data confidentiality), with possible solutions discussed to optimise data sharing. Most data collected, generated or acquired as a result of economic and social research can be successfully archived and shared. However, some research data are more sensitive than others. It is a responsibility of the grant holders to consider all issues related to confidentiality, ethics, security and copyright before initiating the research

Word count: 500

Section: Ethics and responsible Research and innovation (RRI)

Question: What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work? If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Using the text box, demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations, and how you will manage them.

All proposals have to comply with the ESRC Framework for Research Ethics which includes guidance for applicants and links to related web resources.

All necessary ethical approvals must be in place before the project commences, but do not need to have been secured at the time of application.

If you are generating new data as part of your project, you should complete the Data Management question and should cover ethical considerations relating to data in your response.

If you are not generating new data and have not completed the Data Management question you should address any legal or ethical considerations relating to your use of data here.

Additional sub-questions (to be answered only if appropriate) relating to research involving:

  • human participants

Within this section you can also:

  • demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant.

You must:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words
  • insert each new image onto a new line
  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)

Word count: 500

Section: Research involving human participation

Question: Will the project involve the use of human subjects or their personal information?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If not, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move on to the next section.

If you are proposing research that requires the involvement of human subjects, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place. Then, justify the number and the diversity of the participants involved, as well as any procedures.

Provide details of any areas of substantial or moderate severity of impact.

Word count: 700

Section: Resources and cost justification

Question: What will you need to deliver your proposed work and how much will it cost?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Justify the application’s more costly resources, in particular:

  • project staff
  • significant travel for field work or collaboration (but not regular travel between collaborating organisations or to conferences)
  • any equipment that will cost more than £10,000
  • any consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities
  • all facilities and infrastructure costs
  • all resources that have been costed as ‘Exceptions’

Assessors are not looking for detailed costs or a line-by-line breakdown of all project resources. Overall, they want you to demonstrate how the resources you anticipate needing for your proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

Additionally, where relevant you should explain:

  • support for activities to either increase impact, for public engagement, knowledge exchange or to support responsible innovation
  • support for access to facilities, infrastructure or procurement of equipment
  • support for preserving, long-term storage, or sharing of data
  • support from your organisation or partner organisations and how that enhances value for money
  • support for activities outsourced to a third party (such as consultancy or social surveys)
  • support for project co-leads under ESRC’s international, business and third sector eligibility policies
  • Evidence that environmental sustainability has been considered and reflected in your proposed resource and justified appropriately

For detailed guidance on eligible costs please see the ESRC Research Funding Guide.

Word count: 1,000

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

This is the second stage of the assessment process, and proposals have already been shortlisted by an outline panel.

The full stage proposals will be assessed using the following process:

Peer Review

Full stage proposals will be subject to external review. Applicants will have an opportunity to respond to reviewer comments before the proposals are discussed by an assessment panel.

Assessment Panel

Proposals will be shortlisted at an assessment panel in March 2024.


If shortlisted you will be invited to interview in April 2024, after which funding decisions will be made. You will be notified of decisions in May 2024.

The primary assessment criteria are those under the Vision Section, however panel members will be guided to take account of all the assessment criteria in deciding which proposals to recommend for funding.


We will give feedback with the outcome of your application.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Assessment criteria – full stage

The criteria we will assess your application against can be found in the How to apply section under “What the assessors are looking for in your response”.

Assessors will refer to criteria under these headings only:

  • Vision
  • Approach
  • Applicant and team capability to deliver
  • Governance
  • Capacity building
  • Organisational support
  • Resources and cost justification
  • Ethics and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)

Contact details

Get help with your application

For help on costings and writing your application, contact your research office. Allow enough time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity


Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open Monday-Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm and Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

Questions about eligibility

Read UKRI’s research organisation and applicant eligibility guidance.

Sensitive information

If you, or a key team member, need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email the Funding Service helpdesk on

You must include in the subject line: <ESRC Centres, sensitive info, Funding Service application number>

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • applicant is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the Applicant and team capability section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, see UKRI’s privacy notice.


  • 31 August 2023
    Word count added to the 'Governance' section in the 'How to apply' section.
  • 31 July 2023
    Opening date amended from 28 July 2023 to 4 August 2023; closing date amended from 31 October 2023 to 7 November 2023.

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