Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Transforming data collections infrastructure for social science

Apply for funding to scope or develop innovative initiatives with the potential to transform foundational social science research data infrastructure, defined as data collected specifically for research purposes. There are two themes; applications are invited in one or both of these themes.

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for ESRC funding.

The full economic cost (FEC) of your project can be between £50,000 and £350,000. ESRC will fund 80% of the FEC.

Funding is available for up to 12 months. Projects can start from 1 June 2024 but must be completed by 30 June 2025.

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the Eligibility of your organisation.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service.

For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

Who is eligible to apply

This funding opportunity is open to research groups and individuals. We:

  • encourage collaborative research with other UK organisations
  • encourage applications from diverse groups of researchers
  • welcome applications from those who have not previously held ESRC grants
  • welcome applications from individuals at any career stage, subject to ESRC eligibility criteria

Read more about this in the ESRC eligibility guidance for applicants.

Who is not eligible to apply

You may be involved in no more than two applications submitted to this funding opportunity. Only one of these can be as project lead.

International applicants

Project leads from non-UK organisations are not eligible to apply for funding for this opportunity.

Project co-leads based in non-UK research organisations can be included in research grant applications. Read project co-lead (international) policy guidance for details of eligible organisations and costs.

Business, third sector or government body project co-leads

Business, third sector or government body project co-leads based in the UK can also be included on research grant proposals as a project co-lead. Read Including project co-leads from business, third sector or government bodies for details of eligible organisations and costs.


We will not accept uninvited resubmissions of projects that have been submitted to UKRI.

Find out more about ESRC’s Resubmissions policy.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI.


Contact if you are unsure whether your proposed project falls within the remit of this funding opportunity.

What we're looking for


This funding opportunity aims to support innovative and ambitious initiatives with the potential to transform foundational social science data infrastructure, through the development of data collections generated specifically for research purposes. For more detail, see the ‘Scope’ section.

Applications are invited in any disciplinary areas of social and economic science (please also see the remit requirement for ESRC funding) under one or both of the following themes:

  • theme A: Initial scoping for a larger project to establish transformational data collection infrastructure, broadly defined
  • theme B: Facilitating development of innovative data collection methods that offer an alternative to mainstream survey approaches


This funding opportunity is for innovations in foundational social science data collections infrastructure. Its primary focus is on data that is collected for research purposes (that is, data that would not otherwise exist). Activity entirely, or primarily, within the remit of Administrative Data Research UK (ADR UK) and Smart Data Research UK (SDR UK) is out of scope for this funding opportunity.

By foundational social science data collections infrastructure, we mean data collections that are capable of supporting a range of research questions over time and across different disciplines, as distinct from data collections focused on a narrow question or discipline. The focus of successful applications must be on data collection to enable and facilitate research and other activities through infrastructure provision. This funding opportunity does not support the development of data services (see separate funding opportunity), nor research activities or training.

ESRC has a long running history of supporting major investments in data collections infrastructure, with examples including longitudinal studies (such as the birth cohorts and Understanding Society) and cross-sectional survey series (such as the European Social Survey and British Election Study). A full list can be found in Annex 2 of the ESRC Data Infrastructure Strategy.

We are committed to sustaining these world-leading data infrastructures, and to ensuring the UK is able to capitalise on new opportunities to collect cutting-edge, high-quality data that will meet current and future research and user needs.

This funding opportunity invites proposals that will facilitate the establishment of major new data collections resources, focused on data being collected for research purposes, and on innovative approaches to data collection beyond mainstream surveys. Through this funding opportunity, we are keen to better understand where and how best to invest in new pioneering opportunities which will catalyse, transform, modernise and help future proof our data collections infrastructure. We welcome applications from those who have not previously held ESRC grants.

Successful applications must:

  • be within ESRC’s remit
  • support the development of foundational data infrastructure, defined as data capable of supporting a range of research questions over time, and across different disciplines, and
  • have an aim to drive innovation in and add value to the UK’s data collections infrastructure

We expect to commission this funding opportunity as a programme. Successful projects will be expected to collaborate with each other and with our ongoing Survey Futures programme, as well as engaging with existing data infrastructures supported by ESRC where this can add value. We will take a balanced portfolio approach to commissioning projects; fit to the objectives of the opportunity will be an important criterion.

Applications are invited under one or both of the following two themes. Applications should clearly state which themes are addressed by the proposed work. Applications should also clearly demonstrate how the proposed work would contribute to the priorities outlined in the ESRC Data Infrastructure Strategy. Proposed activity must not duplicate existing work.

Theme A: Initial scoping and development for a future large-scale project to establish a new transformational data collection infrastructure

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is committed to creating and supporting world-class research and innovation infrastructure. The UKRI Infrastructure Fund is a vital component of this, supporting significant transformational infrastructure investments. The Infrastructure Fund is not an open funding opportunity; UKRI councils and teams identify and develop a small number of potential projects and submit these for consideration by the UKRI Infrastructure Advisory Committee. Previous successful ESRC applications to the Infrastructure Fund include the Early Life Cohort, Smart Data Research UK and (jointly with Medical Research Council) Population Research UK. Further information about the Infrastructure Fund.

We are currently scoping ideas suitable for development into future Infrastructure Fund applications, each of which would aim to establish transformational data collections infrastructure in social and economic research.

As part of this scoping exercise, applications are invited for seedcorn funding to support initial scoping, development, pilot, and engagement work to evidence and explore opportunities, challenges or gaps (and beyond) in the social and economic research data infrastructure landscape, and the potential offered by innovative and transformative additions to UK’s social and economic science data infrastructure. In scope are projects to explore and test the development of new data collections infrastructure across any area of social science provided it is based on collecting data that would not otherwise exist, for example via surveys, other means or a combination of the two. Data collection development solely or primarily within the remits of ADRUK and SDRUK are not in scope, but other potential innovations to provide data collections infrastructure are welcome.

Please note that ideas for new data collections infrastructure provision where the proposer is not seeking funding to undertake scoping activity can be submitted via the Citizen Space survey. A link to the survey will be added here once available.

You should be aware that:

  • the UKRI Infrastructure Fund is not a funding opportunity open to the researcher and user community, and therefore we are not looking for well-developed applications for it. Instead, we are looking for work to scope and demonstrate where a significant opportunity or gap lies in the data infrastructure landscape. As Infrastructure Fund proposals require significant development work internally, we will take only a very small number through to full development
  • any subsequent ESRC infrastructure initiative funded by UKRI would be subject to open competition to deliver it
  • this funding opportunity does not guarantee that successful applications would necessarily lead to an ESRC application to the Infrastructure Fund, nor that, in the event of a successful bid by ESRC to the Infrastructure Fund, the leaders of the initial scoping project would be invited to lead the project for which ESRC secured funding

Projects eligible to be considered as the basis for a future ESRC funding proposal to the UKRI Infrastructure Fund must include:

  • development or design and building of new capability that enables a step change for UK capabilities; or
  • the repurposing, transformative development, consolidation, or more effective use of existing capability where there is a significant cost of change

Proposals that replicate existing capability would not be eligible for future UKRI Infrastructure funding.

Successful applications to this funding opportunity will:

  • demonstrate an excellent understanding of the UK data collection infrastructure within (and beyond) social and economic research
  • define the objective, opportunities, challenges, need and potential identified
  • outline how the proposed work can help address these
  • set out plans for broad open engagement with potential data and research users
  • shows how the proposed work could be scaled up in the future
  • describe the impact the proposed work is expected to have

Successful applicants will be required to produce a report with recommendations for ESRC to help inform the selection of ideas it takes forward to the UKRI Infrastructure Fund from 2025 onwards. Completion of this report does not constitute a guarantee that future funding for the project will be made available through the UKRI Infrastructure Fund.

Theme B: Facilitating development of alternative data collection methods

Large-scale data collection via mainstream survey approaches is facing a number of challenges including the increasing cost of surveys, interviewer capacity and skill level, and decreasing contact and response rates. These issues have prompted research into how best to overcome the challenges faced by surveys, for instance by implementing innovative techniques and approaches. One such initiative is Survey Futures, a three year ESRC-funded project which began in July 2023. This aims to deliver a step change in approaches to collecting population survey data in the UK.

The funding opportunity described here is focused on data collection that goes beyond mainstream survey approaches. For example, the following would be in scope:

  • theoretical or methodological work on innovative alternative approaches to research data collection which could provide means to overcome some of the challenges facing established survey methods, such as around inclusiveness, complementing the work of the Survey Futures project
  • scoping the potential of smaller-scale information gathering activity, for example by using qualitative approaches, or collections focused on local areas or subgroups (particularly seldom heard groups), that could be used innovatively alongside or instead of surveys or other forms of data collections infrastructure
  • innovative use of routine administrative or health data, or smart data, in combination with new data collections to supplement the data collected, provided the primary focus is on the collection of data that would not otherwise exist. In this instance we would not be seeking applications where the use of routine or smart data was for purely methodological purposes, such as monitoring or evaluating new data collections

Successful applications will:

  • demonstrate an excellent understanding of the challenges which large-scale data collection faces in (and beyond) social and economic research
  • explain how the proposed work will help address the identified challenges
  • show a good understanding of the role and requirements of data collection infrastructure in social science and beyond, and where the key research and policy needs lie
  • explain how the proposed work will help the development of data collection infrastructure, describe what impact the proposed work is expected to bring
  • demonstrate how the approach would be scalable
  • if relevant, clearly articulate how it will complement the Survey Futures project without duplicating work

Successful applications are required to produce a report and recommendations for ESRC to improve ways in which high quality data are collected for social and economic science infrastructure.


The duration of funding is a maximum of 12 months.

Projects can start from 1 June 2024 but must be completed by 30 June 2025.

Funding available

The full economic cost of your project can range from £50,000 to £350,000.

We will fund 80% of the full economic cost. Certain things can be funded as exceptions at 100% FEC as per the ESRC research funding guide.

What we will fund

We will fund:

  • staff costs
  • data collection and initial findings research
  • engagement and collaboration activity
  • travel and subsistence

What we will not fund

We will not fund:

  • standard research projects
  • writing up previous research
  • preparation of books and publications
  • literature surveys
  • general conference attendance that is not related to the proposed work
  • studentships

Project monitoring

Monitoring and reporting requirements will be specified in the terms and conditions of the award. Award holders will be required to produce an updated timeline, deliverables list and risk register at the start of the grant, for regular discussion with us.

The award holders will be expected to provide ESRC with a short, written update on activities quarterly, with the format to be agreed at the outset of the award. More frequent updates may be requested on important activities, risks, and major project changes if they present a risk to the grant meeting its objectives. ESRC will assign a manager as a lead contact for each funded project.

Award holders will be expected to engage with ESRC and UKRI funded data infrastructure and resources to facilitate collaboration where appropriate.

International collaboration

If your application includes international applicants, project partners or collaborators, visit UKRI’s trusted research and innovation for more information on effective international collaboration.

Find out about getting funding for international collaboration.

ESRC data infrastructure

We support a range of data infrastructure. Where relevant, we encourage applicants to consider whether the use of these resources could add value to the project. See Facilities and resources for information on finding and using ESRC datasets which are available across the UK.

Where relevant, details of datasets and infrastructure to be used in your project should be given in the Facilities section.

Data requirements

We recognise the importance of data quality and provenance. Data generated, collected or acquired by ESRC-funded research must be well-managed by the grant holder to enable their data to be exploited to the maximum potential for further research. See our research data policy for details and further information on data requirements. The requirements of the research data policy are a condition of ESRC research funding.

Where relevant, details on data management and sharing should be provided in the Data management section. See the importance of managing and sharing data and content for inclusion in a data management plan on the UK Data Service (UKDS) website for further guidance. We expect applicants to provide a summary of the points provided. The UKDS (email: will be pleased to advise applicants on the availability of data within the academic community and provide advice on data deposit requirements.

Impact, innovation and interdisciplinarity

We expect applicants to consider the potential scientific, societal and economic impacts of their work. Outputs, dissemination and impact are a key part of the criteria for most peer review and assessment processes. We also encourage applications that demonstrate innovation and interdisciplinarity (research combining approaches from more than one discipline).

Knowledge exchange and collaboration

We are committed to knowledge exchange and encouraging collaboration between
researchers and the private, public and civil society sectors. Collaborative working benefits both the researchers and the individuals and organisations involved. Through collaboration, partners learn about each other’s expertise, share knowledge and gain an appreciation of different professional cultures. Collaborative activity can therefore lead to a better understanding of the ways that academic research can add value and offer insights to key issues of concern for policy and practice.

Knowledge exchange should not be treated as an ‘add-on’ at the end of a project but considered before the start and built into a project.

Equitable partnership principles

When undertaking research and innovation activities outside the UK, you must recognise and address the possible impact of contextual, societal and cultural differences on the ethical conduct of those activities.

Researchers should also follow the principles of equitable partnerships to address inherent power imbalances when working with partners in resource-poor settings.

Applying the principles will encourage equitable access, especially in low and middle income countries (LMICs), while maintaining incentives for innovation. You should consider the principles from the start of the research and development cycle.

Read UKRI’s guidance on research in a global setting.

Research ethics

We require that the work we support is designed and conducted in such a way that it meets ethical principles and is subject to proper professional and institutional oversight in terms of research governance. We have agreed a Framework for Research Ethics that all submitted proposals must comply with. Read further details about the Framework for Research Ethics and guidance on compliance.

How to apply

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service. You cannot apply on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

The project lead is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service, but we expect all team members and project partners to contribute to the application.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

To apply

Select ‘Start application’ near the beginning of this Funding finder page.

  1. Confirm you are the project lead.
  2. Sign in or create a Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email
    Please allow at least 10 working days for your organisation to be added to the Funding Service.
  3. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the How to apply section on this Funding finder page.
  4. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.
  5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. You must:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words
  • insert each new image onto a new line
  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)
  • ensure files are smaller than 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.

For more guidance on the Funding Service, see:


ESRC must receive your application by 16 April 2024 at 4:00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

Make sure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines.

Following the submission of your application to the funding opportunity, your application cannot be changed, and applications will not be returned for amendment. If your application does not follow the guidance, it may be rejected.

Personal data

Processing personal data

ESRC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your Funding Service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

Publication of outcomes

ESRC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity at What ESRC has funded.

If your application is successful, we will publish some personal information on the UKRI Gateway to Research.


Word limit: maximum 550

In plain English, provide a summary we can use to identify the most suitable experts to assess your application.

We usually make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, therefore do not include any confidential or sensitive information. Make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the public
  • the wider research community

Guidance for writing a summary

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • context
  • the challenge the project addresses
  • aims and objectives
  • potential applications and benefits

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)
  • project co-lead (international) (PcL (I))
  • specialist
  • grant manager
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician
  • visiting researcher

Only list one individual as project lead.

Find out more about UKRI’s core team roles in funding applications.

Application questions


Word limit: 500

What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed work will:

  • be appropriate and timely, given current trends, context and needs
  • contribute to the development of foundational data collections infrastructure for social science research through the collection of high quality data that would otherwise not exist
  • support innovation, or the development of innovative practices or approaches in data collections for research
  • deliver measurable impact and long-term public benefit (for example, how it enables high quality, innovative and important research)
  • enhance and complement the existing social science landscape

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.


Word limit: 2,500

How are you going to manage and deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

We expect you to show how your approach includes:

  • clear objectives for the funding period with appropriate and achievable deliverables, including scalability
  • details of governance arrangements and engagement plans
  • a clear plan, timeline and schedule of work to achieve the objectives
  • the methods and resources appropriate for the objectives proposed
  • identified risks to delivery and mitigation plans
  • how the proposed work facilitates and supports collaboration between stakeholders in the research data landscape
  • plans for sustainability and legacy beyond the end of UKRI funding; these could include securing additional funding, development or expansion after the initial period of funding
  • expected outputs at the end of the proposed work

All applicants planning to generate data as part of their award must complete the separate Data management question.

A list of references used to support your application can be added in the References question.

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word limit: 1,500

Why are you the right individual or team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you, and if relevant your team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to developing others
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

The word count for this section is 1,500 words, 1,000 words to be used for R4RI modules and, if necessary, a further 500 words for Additions.

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you and, if relevant, your team (project and project co-leads, researchers, technicians, specialists, partners and so on) have and how this will help deliver the proposed work. You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings listed. Use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasise where appropriate the key skills each team member brings:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit

Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences, or outputs, but you can use it to describe any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

Complete this as a narrative. Do not format it like a CV.

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new Funding Service.

For full details, see Eligibility as an individual.

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 500

What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work? If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations
  • how you will manage these considerations

All proposals have to comply with the ESRC Framework for Research Ethics which includes guidance for applicants and links to related web resources.

All necessary ethical approvals must be in place before the project commences, but do not need to have been secured at the time of application.

If you are generating data as part of your project, you should complete the Data management question and should cover ethical considerations relating to data in your response.

If you are not generating data and have not completed the Data management question you should address any legal or ethical considerations relating to your use of data here.

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 1,000

What will you need to deliver your proposed work and how much will it cost?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Justify the application’s more costly resources, in particular:

  • project staff
  • significant travel for field work or collaboration (but not regular travel between collaborating organisations or to conferences)
  • any equipment that will cost more than £10,000
  • any consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities
  • all facilities and infrastructure costs
  • all resources that have been costed as ‘Exceptions’

Assessors are not looking for detailed costs or a line-by-line breakdown of all project resources. Overall, they want you to demonstrate how the resources you anticipate needing for your proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

For detailed guidance on eligible costs please see the ESRC research funding guide.

Project partners

Add details about any project partners’ contributions. If there are no project partners, you can indicate this on the Funding Service.

A project partner is a collaborating organisation who will have an integral role in the proposed research. This may include direct (cash) or indirect (in-kind) contributions such as expertise, staff time or use of facilities.

Add the following project partner details:

  • the organisation name and address (searchable via a drop-down list or enter the organisation’s details manually, as applicable)
  • the project partner contact name and email address
  • the type of contribution (direct or in-direct) and its monetary value

If a detail is entered incorrectly and you have saved the entry, remove the specific project partner record and re-add it with the correct information.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Project partners letters or emails of support

Word limit: 10

Upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the Project partner section (if applicable).

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Enter the words ‘attachment supplied’ in the text box, or if you do not have any project partners enter ‘N/A’.

Each letter or email you provide should:

  • confirm the partner’s commitment to the project
  • clearly explain the value, relevance, and possible benefits of the work to them
  • describe any additional value that they bring to the project
  • be no more than one A4 page in length

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply. If you do not have any project partners, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Ensure you have prior agreement from project partners so that, if you are offered funding, they will support your project as indicated in the contributions template.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Do not provide letters of support from host and project co-leads’ research organisations.

Data management and sharing

Word limit: 500

How will you manage and share data collected or acquired through the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a data management plan that clearly details how you will comply with UKRI’s published data sharing policy, which includes detailed guidance notes.

Demonstrate that you have designed your proposed work so that you can appropriately manage and share data in accordance with ESRC’s research data policy and ESRC framework for research ethics (if applicable).

Within the ‘Data Management’ section we also expect you to:

  • plan for the research through the life cycle of the award until data is accepted for archiving by the UK Data Service (UKDS) or a responsible data repository
  • demonstrate compliance with ESRC’s research data policy and ESRC framework for research ethics. This should include confirmation that existing datasets have been reviewed and why currently available datasets are inadequate for the proposed research
  • cover any legal and ethical considerations of collecting, releasing or storing the data, including consent, confidentiality, anonymisation, security and other ethical issues
  • include any challenges to data sharing (for example, copyright or data confidentiality), with possible solutions discussed to optimise data sharing

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.


Word limit: 250

Does your proposed work require the support and use of a facility?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you will need to use a facility (including access to, and use of data infrastructure), follow your proposed facility’s normal access request procedures. Ensure you have prior agreement so that if you are offered funding, they will support the use of their facility on your project.

For each requested facility you will need to provide the:

  • name of facility, copied and pasted from the facility information list (DOCX, 35KB)
  • proposed usage or costs, or costs per unit where indicated on the facility information list
  • confirmation you have their agreement where required

If you will not need to use a facility, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.


Word limit: 1,000

List the references you have used to support your application.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Include all references in this section, not in the rest of the application questions.

You should not include any other information in this section.

We advise you not to include hyperlinks, as assessors are not obliged to access the information they lead to or consider it in their assessment of your application.

If linking to web resources, to maintain the information’s integrity, include persistent identifiers (such as digital object identifiers) where possible.

You must not include links to web resources to extend your application.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.


An assessment panel comprised of independent external members will review your application against the assessment criteria and rank it alongside other applications. Panel membership will comprise of experts spanning the breadth of the funding opportunity remit to ensure that due consideration is given to interdisciplinary applications. For this funding opportunity, there will be no separate peer review stage.

The panel and ESRC will take a portfolio approach, whereby funding decisions are informed by not only the panel’s assessments of individual proposals and ranking, but also the need to ensure:

  • a balanced portfolio of grants across the two themes outlined above, and
  • that there is a breadth of coverage within the two themes so that ESRC’s strategic priorities (as outlined in ESRC Data Infrastructure Strategy, with applications categorised by the panel) are addressed

The panel will make funding recommendations to ESRC and ESRC will make the final funding decisions.


We will give feedback with the outcome of your application.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

Assessment areas

The assessment areas we will use are:

  • vision
  • approach
  • applicant and team capability to deliver
  • ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)
  • resources and cost justification
  • project partners (if relevant)
  • data management and sharing (if relevant)

Find details of assessment questions and criteria under the Application questions heading in the How to apply section.

Contact details

Get help with your application

Important note: The helpdesk is committed to helping users of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service as effectively and as quickly as possible. In order to manage cases at peak volume times, the helpdesk will triage and prioritise those queries with an imminent opportunity deadline or a technical issue. Enquiries raised where information is available on the Funding Finder opportunity page and should be understood early in the application process (for example, regarding eligibility, content or remit of a funding opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

Contact details

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.

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity please contact

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.

Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

To help us process queries quicker, we request that users highlight the council and opportunity name in the subject title of their email query, include the application reference number, and refrain from contacting more than one mailbox at a time.

Find out more information on submitting an application.

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the ‘Applicant and team capability’ section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
  • the application is an invited resubmission

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, read UKRI’s privacy notice.

Additional info

Webinar for potential applicants

We held a webinar on 28 February 2024 to provide more information about the funding opportunity and a chance to ask questions.

Watch webinar recording (Zoom), passcode: t?lu7M*X

Webinar questions and answers (PDF, 200KB)

Research disruption due to COVID-19

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities. We are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their career, such as:

  • breaks and delays
  • disruptive working patterns and conditions
  • the loss of ongoing work
  • role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the capability to deliver and career development of those individuals included in the application. They will be asked to consider the capability of the applicant and their wider team to deliver the research they are proposing.

Where disruptions have occurred, you can highlight this within your application if you wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

Supporting documents

EIA for the opportunity (PDF, 752KB)


  • 19 March 2024
    Webinar recording link and webinar questions and answers document added to the 'Additional info' section.

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