People’s interactions with the world and each other are increasingly digital. These interactions create DFD, including:
- internet and social media
- commercial and transactional
They can be harnessed to understand and address key research, business and policy questions about our increasingly digital society. The government’s National Data Strategy highlights significant opportunities for such data to increase the speed, efficiency and scope of research alongside its value for society and the economy.
DFD cannot currently be used to its full potential. Researchers are limited by a number of challenges including:
- insufficient data access and infrastructure
- underdeveloped methodology and theoretical development
- opaque ethical procedures.
This opportunity forms part of the first phase of a long-term programme called DigitalFootprints.
ESRC’s vision for DigitalFootprints is to provide the leadership, skills, coordination and data infrastructure to deliver a transformational shift in the access to, and creation and use of DFD. The intent of this programme is to:
- foster long-term strategic partnerships with data owners
- provide access to hundreds of diverse new and linked datasets
- address areas of national and international interest where access to, and creation and use of DFD is critical.
The first phase of DigitalFootprints is comprised of three main components:
- digital footprint data services delivered by the Consumer Data Research Centre and Urban Big Data Centre
- this DigitalFootprints Accelerator Scheme
- an ESRC DigitalFootprints Advisory Team.
The first phase of DigitalFootprints launched in April 2022 and is due to close in September 2024.
Phase one is focused on laying the foundations for much larger investment in DigitalFootprints by:
- testing frameworks and approaches
- supporting experimentation and innovation
- exploring and developing partnerships
- developing and testing business models
- developing and testing principles and policies.
Phase two is scheduled to start in 2023 and end in 2029. It is subject to business case approval to release funding from the UK Research and Innovation Infrastructure Fund.
We recently held a webinar for potential applicants to hear more about the scope of the opportunity and to ask any questions they had.
Watch a recording of the webinar on Zoom (passcode: $W5TC5#t)
Embedding methodological development in social science research: 2022
Proposals funded through this opportunity will refine methodological approaches developed since March 2020 to enable them to be fully embedded in research practice, maximising their contribution to social science research.
Many of the adaptations and innovations that occurred across a range of methodologies during the pandemic will offer long-term benefits to the community. This opportunity aims to maximise the impact of these by providing an opportunity for researchers to consolidate and refine methodological approaches to ensure they represent good practice and are accessible widely across social science research.
Proposals can draw from the wider sciences, but the social sciences must represent at least 50% of the research focus and effort.
The full economic cost of each project can be up to £1 million. ESRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.
Funding is available for up to three years. The opportunity is open for applications until 25 October 2022.
Read the full Embedding methodological development in social science research: 2022 opportunity.
Je-S guidance for applicants (PDF, 231KB).