ADR UK and ESRC welcome proposals for methodological development grants

Categories: Funding opportunities, ADR UK Strategic Hub

2 March 2020

ESRC (part of UK Research and Innovation) has recently launched a new Research Methods Development Grants (2020) call. This opportunity invites proposals for methods development grants to support the social science community to work collaboratively across sectors and disciplines to address common methodological challenges. Proposals must aim to achieve at least one of the following:

  • Develop new methods;
  • Apply existing methods in a novel way;
  • Develop our understanding of a methodological challenge and scope the new research activity required to address it.

Supporting ADR UK's mission

Unique to this call is a strategic steer that will support proposals addressing a methodological challenge related to ADR UK’s core mission: to join up the abundance of administrative data already being created by government and public bodies across the UK, and make it available for research that could lead to better informed policy decisions and more effective public services. Research that aims to effectively bridge the gap between government and academia requires further methodological innovation and development. Through this steer we hope to generate new insights into how administrative data research can address real world issues.

A total budget of £440,000 (100% fEC) is available to support grants under the strategic steer and applicants can apply for up to £200,000 (100% fEC) of which ESRC will pay 80%. We expect to fund approximately three to four development grants through the ADR UK strategic steer, and recognise projects may vary across budget and duration though all must be proportionate to the objectives of the grant.

We encourage applicants to think creatively about addressing methodological developments related to our core mission in a novel way. We look forward to these projects fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and creating substantive partnerships across organisations and boundaries. Proposals could seek seed funding to develop a new partnership and potential activities might include proof of concept work, a small research project, seminar series and/or strategic networks.

Applications relevant to the ADR UK steer should present a programme of work that will advance a methodological challenge utilising administrative data in the social sciences, clearly setting out how the outputs and outcomes of the proposed activities will contribute to one or more of ADR UK’s four strategic goals (listed below). All applications addressing the ADR UK strategic steer must also meet the general requirements for the main call. Applicants wishing to be considered in relation to the ADR UK strategic steer must clearly indicate this in their proposal. 

Please note the funding period for projects relevant to the ADR UK steer differs from those submitted to the main call (please see the call specification for more details). Projects funded through the steer must end by 31 March 2022.

Proposals using administrative data without explicitly addressing ADR UK’s core mission can still be submitted to the main call but will not be considered in relation to the ADR UK strategic steer. Applications submitted under the ADR UK strategic steer will be subject to the same assessment criteria and process as other proposals submitted to the main call.

What are our four strategic goals?

In support of achieving our mission, we have four strategic goals as follows:

  1. Commitment and sustainability for administrative data research: build acceptance in government of the imperative to release data and lay foundations for a sustainable research resource by focusing on addressing major societal challenges through administrative data research
  2. Measurable public good: demonstrate impact arising from administrative data research that addresses societal challenges
  3. Seamless researcher service: deliver transparent, coordinated, secure and timely access to UK administrative data and support services for the wider research community
  4. A highly useful long-term research resource: increase the flow and availability of high-quality research-ready UK administrative data, designed to enable research to address societal challenges and be preserved for the long-term

Underlying these four strategic goals are 15 objectives that we are working collaboratively to deliver. 

Assessing eligibility for the ADR UK strategic steer

Applications to the ADR UK steer should propose a methodological project that advances one or more of ADR UK’s four strategic goals. To assess eligibility, ADR UK will review the case made by applicants in their Case for Support. Proposals not judged to address our core mission will be considered as part of the general proposal pool. This will happen before the assessment process begins and the main applicant will be notified.

How to apply

Researchers thinking of applying should visit the ESRC website for full details of the scope of the call and application process. You can also download the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document which includes questions specifically related to the ADR UK strategic steer, and will be updated in light of queries received whilst the call is open.

All proposals should be submitted no later than 16:00 on 14 May 2020.

Coronavirus Implications:

We are currently contingency planning for the call and considering possible changes to the commissioning timetable, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet. We hope to be able to provide an update soon. Please keep checking the call specification webpage for the latest information. 

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