Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Recovery, renewal and resilience in a post-pandemic world

Apply for funding to investigate how COVID-19 will affect society in the medium and long term.

Your proposal must address key gaps in our understanding to help:

  • reduce the pandemic’s effect on society
  • support recovery and renewal.

You must apply as part of a transnational partnership of at least 3 members.

ESRC and AHRC are providing this opportunity as part of the Trans-Atlantic Platform (T-AP). Your partners must be from other countries taking part in this funding opportunity.

The UK part of the proposal must be within ESRC’s or AHRC’s remit.

Your project can be between 2 and 3 years long. It must start in March 2022.

As a UK partner, the full economic cost of your part of the project can be up to £310,000. We will fund 80% of this.

Who can apply

The recovery, renewal and resilience in a post-pandemic world (RRR) programme has been created by the Trans-Atlantic Platform (T-AP).

Applicants must apply as a transnational research project partnership.

Each project must comprise at least 3 eligible principal investigators from at least 3 different T-AP participating countries from both sides of the Atlantic.

The UK component of proposals may only be submitted by research organisations eligible to apply to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). This includes:

  • higher education institutions that are directly funded or research by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, DEL, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and Scottish Funding Council
  • independent research organisations that have received recognition to apply to the research councils
  • research council institutes.

Read our list of eligible research organisations.

You can collaborate with researchers from countries participating in the funding opportunity:

  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Dominican Republic
  • El Salvador
  • Ecuador
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland
  • UK
  • US

Any academic researcher from an established international research organisation (outside of the participating country applicants) of comparable standing to a UKRI-eligible UK higher education institution will be eligible to be listed as an international co-investigator under this funding opportunity.

Further details can be found at:

The UK national eligibility annex can be found at:

What we're looking for

The RRR programme aims to address key gaps in our understanding of the dynamic and complex interaction of medium and long term societal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This understanding, in turn, should advance knowledge of how to mitigate the negative societal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and support recovery and renewal in a post-pandemic world.

Applicants are required to submit novel interdisciplinary and significant social sciences and humanities (SSH) research proposals that address 1 or more of the following 5 challenges.

Reducing inequalities and vulnerabilities

Every country faces unique challenges in dealing with the inequalities and vulnerabilities created or amplified by COVID-19. This challenge focuses on social, behavioural, psychological, economic, cultural, geographic, ethical, environmental and other factors operating at individual, family, community, and, or, societal levels and invites proposals that address issues, such as:

  • why some populations are affected more adversely than others by virtue of factors, such as:
    • socioeconomic status
    • age
    • ethnic and educational background
    • geography
    • cultural practices
    • environmental issues
  • how such disparities can be addressed to ensure a successful renewal and recovery from COVID-19 and future pandemics
  • historical lessons and understandings from previous epidemic and pandemic recovery and how this varies across countries and communities
  • ethical considerations underpinning the response to COVID-19.

Building a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable society

Pandemics put stress on:

  • individuals
  • social systems
  • cultural systems
  • economic systems
  • political systems.

This challenge recognises that recovering better from the COVID-19 pandemic requires thorough considerations of how societies can be made inherently resilient to cope with mounting and emerging challenges enabling positive progress. This challenge invites proposals that address building a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable society at:

  • the individual and community levels
  • societal and political systems’ levels
  • public and private sectors’ levels
  • health and education systems’ levels
  • the built and natural environment levels.

Fostering democratic governance and political participation

The COVID-19 pandemic poses challenges to governance capacities from the local to global levels. For example, the capacity of governments and international organisations to:

  • make fast decisions
  • frame and implement policies
  • design multilevel arrangements
  • engage with diverse interests’ groups
  • obtain citizens’ compliance has been severely strained.

This challenge focuses on issues related to how governments, societal actors, and international organisations handle the effects of COVID-19 and invites proposals that address issues, such as:

  • how COVID-19 could or may lead to different forms of governance
  • the use of scientific evidence for addressing the pandemic (science-for-policy issues and government advice processes)
  • the development of robust evidence-informed advice and mechanisms for recovery and political participation processes
  • how international collaboration, global governance, and law can be enhanced to manage cross-border issues.

Advancing responsible and inclusive digital innovation

Digital technologies have been central to adapting to the changes brought about across all sectors of society by the pandemic and there are a range of considerations regarding the role of digital innovation in supporting inclusive renewal in a post-pandemic world.

A fuller understanding of the nature of the digital innovations emerging from COVID-19 prompts questions about their wider societal impacts.

Most immediate is the extent to which these technologies have facilitated pandemic response efforts and adaptations. There are also likely to be longer term and unintended consequences, beyond the pandemic, to the future functioning of societies. This challenge invites proposals that address issues, such as:

  • the expanded reliance on digital technologies (the expansion of human existence as online spaces) and the impacts on:
    • workplace
    • education
    • social cohesion
    • (mental) health
    • connectedness
  • how and why the pandemic has changed the way in which people consume cultural goods and entertainment, and the role of digital innovation in enhancing access, engagement and deepening of international collaboration in this area
  • which values, norms, cultures, and principles should guide the continued or expanded application of digital technologies.

Ensuring effective and accurate communication and media

Ensuring effective, ethical and accurate communication by government officials, health professional, researchers, scientific advisers, and media during a pandemic is essential to:

  • informing the public about evolving science
  • retaining trust in public officials
  • reducing risks
  • encouraging people to act in an appropriate, informed and caring manner.

This challenge invites proposals that address issues, such as:

  • the public understanding of science and risk
  • the identification and creation of trusted public health information sources
  • the communication of diverse COVID-19 experiences
  • effective communication and misinformation strategies used by the media on both sides of the Atlantic
  • rumours and conspiracy theories in socio-digital networks and different cultural contexts that allow them to flourish and lead to collective action
  • different conceptions about health and how to prevent or cure disease.

The RRR funding opportunity supports humanities or social sciences interdisciplinary research focused on the challenges described above.

Proposals may emphasise, among other things:

  • historical, theoretical developments
  • cross-national and cross-regional comparisons
  • meta-analyses
  • qualitative and quantitative longitudinal or cross-sectional surveys
  • case studies
  • randomised-controlled studies
  • cultural analysis
  • audience insights
  • discourse analysis
  • experimental development
  • prototyping
  • simulation models.

Read out the full opportunity topic description and the UK national eligibility annex (T-AP website), which details eligible costs.

Proposals must fall primarily within ESRC’s or AHRC’s remit.

How to apply

Information about the submission process can be found on the T-AP website.

Deadline for intention to submit is 14 June 11:59pm Brasília Time (BRT).

Deadline for the submission of full proposals is 12 July 2021 11:59pm Brasília Time (BRT).

How we will assess your application

Proposals are evaluated by transnational independent experts and subsequently reviewed and ranked by a transnational independent adjudication panel.

Proposals will be assessed according to a set of 5 criteria:

  • intellectual merit
  • relevance to the funding opportunity
  • quality
  • innovation and feasibility of the research plan
  • broader impacts, partnership and planning.

The evaluation criteria are listed and defined in the call for proposals document which can be found on the T-AP website.

Contact details

General enquiries and ESRC specific enquiries

ESRC T-AP RRR funding opportunity team, led by Manija Kamal

For AHRC specific enquiries

Additional info

T-AP for social sciences and humanities

The T-AP for SSH is an unprecedented collaboration between humanities and social science research funders from:

  • South America
  • North America
  • Europe.

The T-AP coordination team is based at:

  • the UKRI Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), UK
  • the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), Brazil
  • the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Canada.

T-AP aims to enhance the ability of funders, research organisations and researchers to engage in transnational dialogue and collaboration.

T-AP works to identify common challenges and promote a culture of collaboration in SSH research by offering joint research funding opportunities in areas of strong potential for international collaboration.

The platform facilitates the formation of networks within the SSH and promotes interdisciplinarity. T-AP also strives to heighten awareness of the role the SSH play in addressing 21st century challenges.

Find out more about T-AP (T-AP website).

Participating funding agencies

These agencies are taking part:

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.