Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: ISCF Healthy Ageing Challenge Social, Behavioural and Design Research Programme outline stage

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), via the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), is inviting outline proposals for research grants of up to £2 million (at 100% full economic cost) for a period of up to 36 months.

The Healthy Ageing Social, Behavioural and Design Research Programme (SBDRP) is part of the ISCF Healthy Ageing Challenge portfolio of activities.

The SBDRP will provide £9.5m (at 100% full economic cost) to fund interdisciplinary academic-led teams to carry out research into social, behavioural and design aspects of healthy ageing.

The programme will contribute to the challenge mission to, ‘ensure that people can enjoy at least five extra healthy, independent, years of life by 2035, while narrowing the gap between the richest and poorest’ by enhancing our understanding of the aspirations, preferences and needs of the ageing population.

Funded projects may address, but are not limited to, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on social, behavioural and design aspects of healthy ageing.

Projects will also be expected to make a significant contribution to disseminating this knowledge, helping to inform innovators and positively influence market behaviours.

This is a two-stage call.

Outline proposals must be submitted via the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S) by 16:00 on 7 July 2020.

Proposals will then be assessed by a panel and shortlisted applicants will be notified of their success and invited to submit a full proposal.

See key dates below for more information.

Proposals must be led by an academic who is based at an eligible UK research organisation.

Successful projects must start on 1 March 2021.

Those interested in applying are invited to view our briefing webinar.

Call details

Awards up to £2 million (at 100% full economic cost) are available for academics based at UK research organisations to conduct research into social, behavioural and design aspects of healthy ageing.

Proposals are expected to critically engage with businesses, including social enterprises, to enhance their understanding of the needs and opportunities of an ageing population, help inform innovators and to open up creative spaces for businesses and consumers in an ‘ageing market.’

The public sector and charities should also be engaged where appropriate.

Applicants are encouraged to critically engage with one or more social, behavioural and design aspect of the Healthy Ageing Challenge themes outlined in the Challenge Framework, as well as:

  • meaningfully engage with older people
  • work with business
  • address diversity and environments of ageing
  • address ageing across the life course
  • accommodate the impacts of COVID-19
  • work across disciplines to meet the aims of the project
  • include a compelling and well-designed impact, knowledge exchange and communication strategy.

Key dates

  • Outline call opens – 14 May 2020
  • Outline call closes – 7 July 2020, 16.00
  • Shortlisting panel meeting – 14 September 2020
  • Full proposal stage (invite only) opens – 28 September 2020
  • Applicants’ workshops – 5 to 6 October 2020
  • Full proposal stage (invite only) closes – 5 November 2020, 16.00
  • Full panel meeting – 20 January 2021
  • Applicants notified of final decisions – 3 February 2021
  • Mandatory grant start date – 1 March 2021
  • Latest grant end date – 29 February 2024

How to apply

To apply you need:


For questions or further information about the scheme, contact Huw Vasey and Pete Henley on

For enquiries relating to technical aspects of the Je-S form contact Je-S helpdesk on

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help improve our online products and services.