Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Partner with the police to tackle violence against women and girls

Apply for funding to work in partnership with the police to tackle violence against women and girls.

Funding is available to:

  • establish new or grow existing multi-agency partnerships
  • network and exchange knowledge with partners
  • co-design activities to address violence against women and girls (VAWG).

You must:

  • be based at a UK institution eligible for ESRC funding
  • collaborate with one or more UK police constabularies.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £50,000. ERSC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Your project can last up to 12 months.

Who can apply

Principal investigators for this funding opportunity must be UK-based social science researchers who are either established members of, or who can be accommodated by, a UK research organisation recognised by UKRI.

The project team may also include additional eligible co-investigators. Please refer to the ESRC research funding guide for more information on co-investigator eligibility.

It is a requirement of this funding opportunity that academic applicants collaborate with one or more UK police constabularies. Both new and existing partnerships between police and academia are eligible.

Partnerships can also include other relevant stakeholders who are involved in efforts to tackle or who are affected by issues relating to VAWG in the locality. Stakeholders include:

  • public service providers
  • criminal justice organisations
  • charities
  • businesses
  • other local partners.

The principal investigator’s research organisation must be located within a collaborating police constabulary’s geographical area.

Holders of associated studentships and international co-investigators are not eligible.

What we're looking for

Funding will be provided to strengthen existing partnerships or foster new partnerships between:

  • UK academic researchers
  • UK police constabularies
  • other relevant stakeholders.

These could include:

  • public sector organisations
  • charities
  • businesses
  • other local partners in specific locations.

Awards will support location-based partnerships, where the principal investigator’s research organisation is based within the geographical area of a constabulary involved in the partnership. We aim to fund activities in different parts of the UK.

Standard FEC rules

The full economic cost (FEC) of your project can be up to £50,000. ERSC will fund 80% of the FEC. Your research organisation must fund the remaining 20%.

Standard FEC rules apply. We will fund:

  • principal investigator and co-investigator time
  • travel and subsistence costs
  • other direct costs, including:
    • predicted costs for communication
    • knowledge exchange
    • public engagement
    • other impact activities
  • predicted costs for attending named conferences, where attendance is justified.

Proposed activities

Proposed activities should be designed to help police constabularies and other relevant stakeholders tackle specific challenges linked to VAWG. This includes all acts of violence, abuse, crimes and behaviours that disproportionately affect women and girls.

VAWG could include, but is not limited to:

  • violence, abuse and intimidation against women and girls
  • domestic violence and abuse, including domestic homicide
  • rape, other sexual offences, abuse and exploitation
  • stalking and harassment
  • coercive and controlling behaviour
  • harmful practices, including:
    • honour-based violence and abuse
    • female genital mutilation
    • child marriage
    • forced marriage
    • breast ironing
  • online abuse.

Areas to investigate could include:

  • prevention of violence, abuse and intimidation against women and girls through holistic approaches including multi-agency working and education
  • addressing root causes of VAWG, including a focus on perpetrators as well as the prevention and reduction of further offending
  • development of trauma-informed policing practices and investigative techniques.

Proposals should include plans to:

  • expand networks
  • undertake knowledge exchange
  • increase the sharing of best practice and research ideas, approaches and methodologies.

Creating, growing, and diversifying connections

You must stimulate new links or further grow and diversify existing connections between the police, academia and other stakeholders. You are encouraged to do so by developing innovative, creative and genuinely collaborative programmes of networking, and by co-designing activities which could include (but are not limited to):

  • seminars to share findings from research with police constabularies and other stakeholders, or knowledge exchange activities with a specific focus on networking and partnership building between policing, academia and other stakeholders
  • workshops to explore opportunities for collaboration and to identify shared priorities, agendas, research and evidence needs or areas of interest around specific challenges related to VAWG of concern to the constabularies and other stakeholders
  • review or preparation of data held by the police or a partner in order to enable new research
  • review of existing police and partner research activities and provision of advice on their progression
  • mobility and networking, including travel for one or more investigators
  • scoping studies and pilot activities
  • digital collaboration, such as running webinars
  • researcher exchanges (for example, research visits, short stays and staff exchanges)
  • other collaborative activities aimed at developing or sustaining research networks and giving way to future cooperation.

Proposals must clearly show how this funding will:

  • add value to relationships between the police and academic researchers
  • facilitate long-term sustainable collaborations
  • have a positive impact on the prevention and reduction of harm caused to women and girls.

Award outcomes

Outcomes of an award should include:

  • co-designed plans for new research activities linked to tackling VAWG
  • further partnership expansion that will help improve process, capability, understanding or practice within policing
  • clear strategies for seeking further funding from UKRI through ESRC’s standard responsive mode opportunities to support this co-designed activity.

Plans for this co-design process should be included in the proposal.

How to apply

Proposals must be submitted through the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system by the UK principal investigator’s research organisation.

When applying, select:

  • council: ESRC
  • document type: standard proposal
  • scheme: research grants
  • call/type/mode: research partnerships: Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls.

As well as the Je-S application form, the following documents must be submitted:

Letters of support

Letters of support should be provided by the police constabularies and other organisations involved in the application. Detail the role of the organisation, any support or contribution being provided to the project and the history or nature of the partnership (that is, new or existing).

Letters of support can be accepted by email and must be signed and dated within six months of the proposal’s submission date.

Case for support

Describe your proposed approach to meeting the objectives of the funding opportunity and the associated work and activities you propose to carry out. You should demonstrate your insight into the topics you will address and show the assessment panel how your approach will support the aims of the funding opportunity.

The case for support should specify the project plan, with key deliverables, and should identify the contribution of each team member (if applicable). Write up to a maximum of six sides of A4.

Justification of resources

Describe the resources being requested and ensure that they are all fully justified. Write up to two sides of A4.


You must include a CV for all applicants named on the proposal. This should contain, as appropriate:

  • contact details
  • qualifications (including subject and class)
  • academic and professional posts held since graduation
  • academic responsibilities
  • experience of project management
  • a summary list of the most relevant and recent publications.

Write up to two sides of A4 per CV.

How we will assess your application

Proposals will be subject to a single-stage assessment where they will be considered through an open, competitive process, using quality as the primary assessment criterion. A panel comprising social science and non-academic experts will evaluate all proposals against the following three-point criteria:

Partnership activities and feasibility (50%)


  • the quality and added value of the proposed activities as a means of establishing a new partnership or enhancing and developing an existing partnership
  • the quality and coherence of the project team’s ideas for helping to tackle a specific challenge linked to VAWG experienced by the constabularies and other stakeholders involved within their localities
  • the quality and coherence of the co-design processes that will be employed to develop further research and partnership expansion activity and future applications for UKRI funding opportunities
  • the capacity of the project team to deliver the ideas proposed and the expertise of the applicants.

Benefit and impact (30%)


  • the added value of the proposed activities for the police constabularies and other stakeholders involved
  • the sustainability of the partnership, including the potential to establish enduring and productive relationships beyond the duration of the grant
  • if applicable, the sustainability of activities (for example, websites and social network accounts) beyond the lifetime of the project
  • consideration of equality, diversity and inclusivity within the project team.

Value for money (20%)


  • value for money and appropriate costing of activities.

Applicants should expect to be informed of decisions regarding their application six weeks following the panel meeting.

Contact details

Ask a question about this opportunity

For further queries, please email:

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal, please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Get help with applying through Je-S



01793 444164

Opening times

Je-S helpdesk opening times

Additional info

ESRC is pleased to invite proposals to this funding opportunity, which is aimed at establishing and fostering the development of long-term partnerships between policing and academia, involving other relevant partners and stakeholders where appropriate.

The intention is to develop strong networks and joint research activities linked to tackling the issue of VAWG.


The ever-changing nature and increasing complexity of crimes against women and girls create challenges for the police. Women and girls are disproportionately impacted by gender-based violence, abuse and intimidation.

In turn, police resources have been stretched due to rising reports of:

  • domestic abuse
  • sexual violence
  • abuse and exploitation
  • stalking and harassment.

These have caused increases in criminal investigation and digital evidence examination work for the police.

These challenges are occurring in a context of divergent public opinion of and confidence in the police, triggered by varied experiences of policing and feelings of safety.

As crimes against women and girls continue to change, so too do the requirements for the research and evidence needed to help tackle these crimes. Every constabulary is grappling with a unique combination of challenges, and no evidence-based crime reduction intervention or solution works in every instance.

The ongoing need to generate, test and evaluate evidence, approaches and interventions represents a challenge for researchers. So too does the requirement to synthesise existing findings, review and update systematic reviews of evidence, and revisit current evidence of what works in policing.

Responding to these types of crime requires a multi-agency approach, in which collaborative research activity and partnerships are necessary elements.

We are eager to support the UK research community in expanding its engagement with partners outside of academia. Research and knowledge exchange partnerships between police constabularies and academic researchers have advanced our current understanding of VAWG and helped to refine police practice.

While some parts of the UK are benefiting from the work of highly active partnerships, there are other locations where limited resources and capacity are making partnership working challenging.

This funding opportunity was designed to provide a route through some of the challenges restricting the creation and growth of research partnerships between the police and academia. It also aims to enable collaborative networking, knowledge exchange and co-designed activities that will help tackle VAWG head on.

COVID-19 guidance for applicants

Given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ESRC recognises that the proposed programme of work may be subject to change. We encourage you to consider how your proposal might be flexible in delivery should regulations have changed when the time comes to implement activities.

Read the COVID-19 guidance for grant applicants.

Supporting documents

Je-S guidance for applicants (PDF, 318KB)

Equality impact assessment (PDF, 168KB)

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