Funding opportunities: a glance at ESRC and AHRC

Research and Innovation Development Office

Category: Research news

18 January 2017

Following last week's post focusing on BBSRC and EPSRC, this time we're looking at the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The ESRC is the UK's biggest public funder of the social sciences and research into economics. Their annual budget is around £190 million, awarded through targeted calls and an open Research Grants scheme.

The AHRC funds research into the arts and humanities through similar methods. They seek to ensure the UK maintains its place as a world leader in these fields. Below are some of these funders' current opportunities, giving you an insight into their offerings.


1) Research for understanding, mitigating and countering security threats

Apply by: 10am, 31 January 2017

Funding is available from the ESRC Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST) for research projects and for holding of workshops around key issues. CREST are interested in funding work the improves understanding, or leads to improved detection or mitigation of modern security threats. An added bonus of this scheme is that successful applicants will become members of CREST, and benefit from the network established through the Centre. Information on eligibility and amount of funding available is in the call specification.

2) Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (SDAI) Department for Education (DfE) Highlight Notice

Apply by: 4pm, 10 March 2017

Through the ESRC Research Grants scheme (their standard mode of funding), a highlight has been issued, encouraging proposals 'for grants of up to 18 months duration to conduct research through the secondary analysis of such data on themes of interest to the Department [for Education] (which includes the Government Equalities Office)'. The Council and the Department recognise that the UK holds fantastic data resources that could be further studied to improve education practices. They expect researchers might use resources such as:

  • National Pupil Database (NPD)
  • Longitudinal Surveys: including the first and second cohorts of the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England; the Millennium Cohort Study and Understanding Society
  • Labour Force Survey
  • Family Resources Survey.

Up to £200,000 is available for each project funded through this highlight, and prospective applicants must read through all the supporting documents available through the call page.


1) Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in the Real World: The Indoor and Built Environment

Apply by: 28 February 2017

This call represents a fantastic chance for arts and humanities researchers to contribute to one of the major health challenges of our time - the increasing resistance of pathogens to treatments. The call states:

"Whilst often framed in purely medical terms, there is a growing recognition that effective solutions to the problem of AMR will require input and buy-in from a wide range of academic disciplines and stakeholders, such as, the public, health professionals, policy makers and industries. Beyond developing new and more effective antibiotics, there is a huge amount of scope for changing attitudes and behaviours that might prolong the effectiveness of current drugs."

Therefore we encourage our non-medical/biological researchers to consider how their expertise in design, history, language or other fields can guide AMR research to solutions that could not be found without their input. A collaborative approach is expected from applicants to this call.

2) AHRC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP2)

Apply by 19 October 2017

The current method by which Research Councils fund most of their PhD studentships is through Doctoral Training Partnerships. Each Council allocates their funding in different ways, but essentially a DTP will be given a block grant through which they recruit students. Some of the students' time will be spent in training (such as a master's degree), and the rest of the time spent carrying out PhD research. They benefit from the additional training, time spent in the partner organisations of the consortium, and from having a cohort of peers for support.

DTPs bring together several organisation (two or more), so if you're interested in bringing this kind of funding to ARU we recommend you seek out academic partners from other institutions, and do study the paperwork to determine whether this is right for you!


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.