Pre-announcement of funding calls - ESRC

Research and Innovation Development Office

Category: Research news

31 August 2017

Following feedback that funding calls under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Following feedback that funding calls under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) were announced without sufficient time to act, Research Councils have committed to giving more notice.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has taken this opportunity to alert its community to some £16 million of funding to be made available later this year (October/November).

A wide range of ESRC-relevant themes will be funded through these calls, and potential applicants are reminded that the primary impacts of the work should be in those countries eligible for Overseas Development Assistance (ODA). Four focus areas have been identified and discussed by the Council. Calls will be under one or more of the titles below, and will encourage interdisciplinary approaches:

  1. Mental Health
  2. Education and Skills
  3. Decent Work for All
  4. Transitions Towards Sustainable and Inclusive Societies

Broad interpretations of mental health and associated issues (mental, neurological and substance use - MNS - disorders) should make this focus area wide in its applicability. The Council give example that researchers might "encourage interdisciplinary research that explores how these categories might be conceptualised differently or not regarded as illnesses in some contexts" or might "explore how MNS disorders affect families, communities and carers and what this means for those who should provide care and support". This is not an exhaustive list, and specific call texts may define better the remit of this focus area.

Researchers in the education and skills area should consider this in a bigger context: "What form of skills development will connect with strategies for economic and social development?" appears amongst other questions. The exact wording of calls in this area will again determine how best to interpret the theme, but considering the skills needs of low-middle income countries should help formulate questions.

The Council say that decent work for all is inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals to ensure that jobs created should be "productive, fairly remunerated and meets minimum standards of security and prospects for personal development". How can this be ensured in ODA countries, and can your research help to answer this question?

In order to ensure transitions towards sustainable and inclusive societies, the Council poses questions such as: "Are there models or approaches to economic development that offer new insights into how to support sustainable, equitable growth?" They emphasise that this topic is very broad indeed, crossing areas such as production and manufacturing, policies, reform of trading relationships, among others. Essentially this theme requires research showing that a country can modernise and reform its practices in ways that allow for economic growth, while also ensuring the wellbeing of those in the society.

If you would like to talk about starting work on any of these themes, please talk to RIDO!

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