Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Raising Learning Outcomes in Education Systems Research Programme

This invitation-only funding opportunity will be open twice a year, in bi-annual tranches (usually opened every6 months) for the next 2 years. The fourth bi-annual tranche will open 12 May 2020 and close 4:00pm (UK time) on 22 September 2020. In response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on research and the research community, the fourth tranche of this funding opportunity will be open for a longer period than previous tranches. It is intended that the final tranche will open in May 2021, however the timing of remaining tranches will continue to be reviewed in response to the evolving situation regarding the global pandemic. Up to £2 million has been allocated for the length of the funding opportunity.

The funding opportunity is open to any principal investigator or co-investigator who has held a research grant funded within the RLO programme. Co-investigators who wish to apply as a principal investigator to this Follow-on Fund funding opportunity must have the express support of their original RLO grant’s principal investigator. The original grant can be open or closed at the point that the application(s) are made and they will be awarded as separate grant(s) to the existing/completed RLO grant. Any researcher who has not been a principal investigator or co-investigator on an RLO-funded grant is not eligible to apply. All uninvited or ineligible applications will be rejected.

In workstreams 1-3 (impact enhancement, research augmentation, capacity building) proposals are invited for grants with a full economic cost (FEC) value of between £25,000 and £100,000 for either workstream, or for any combination of these 3 workstreams. Researchers are eligible to apply for a number of these grants, on multiple occasions, however the total amount of all awarded grants linked to the original proposal must not in sum exceed £100,000. Note that while cross-grant learning (where appropriate for inclusion) will be viewed positively in workstream 1 to 3, it is not a requirement for these workstreams and proposals within these workstreams must stand alone, that is they cannot be co/inter dependent.

In workstream 4 (cross-grant synthesis) proposals are invited from RLO researchers working in collaboration with other RLO grants. These proposals must also have a FEC value of between £25,000 and £100,000. Researchers can also apply for a number of these grants, on multiple occasions, and can collaborate with different projects in these applications. The funders are keen to encourage applications to workstream 4. Therefore in addition to the maximum of £100k allocable per grant in workstreams 1-3, a further £100k may be allocated to original RLO grants against workstream 4 (this makes a maximum of £200k across all 4 workstreams).

Projects may be up to a maximum of 2 years in duration. The funding opportunity has been designed so that all grants will get an equal chance to access this additional funding if and when they are ready to do so. Proposals can be submitted at any point while each tranche of the funding opportunity is open, but will not be assessed until the submission window has closed.

Supporting documents

Please note that in January 2020 UK Research and Innovation announced changes to requirements on ‘Pathways to Impact’. Applicants will no longer be required to provide a separate ‘Pathways to Impact’ plan or complete an ‘Impact Summary’ within grant proposals from 1 March 2020.

All proposals to Tranche 4 must be submitted through the Je-S system by 4:00pm (UK time) on 22 September 2020.

Further information

Funding opportunity-specific support

All queries or comments about this funding opportunity should be addressed in the first instance to the ESRC-DFID email:

Je-S technical support

The Je-S Helpdesk may be contacted by email: or telephone +44 (0)1793 444164 and is staffed Monday-Thursday 08:30am to 5:00pm, Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm UK time (excluding public and other holidays).

Please note that Je-S Helpdesk staff are working remotely via email during the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK; please contact the Helpdesk using the standard mailbox for Je-S ( during this time, and one of the advisors will respond to you as soon as they can.

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