Funding Opportunities…and a poem?! – 22/11/2016


The Dean’s presentation last week prompted our thinking around RCUK funding, on the need to increase awareness of it, and boosting confidence in aspiring for, pursuing and securing it.

Following the success of last years ESRC poem (where we were inundated with up to several emails of praise), in place of our usual tenuous pop culture/Funding Ops, this week we’ve put together another poem to perhaps help soften the image of Council funding.

In addition, further down is a bit of info on success rates, and some of the standard AHRC and ESRC routes currently open (others are available). If you would like to discuss RCUK funding, including steps you can take to increase your chances with it – even if it is many years away in your Research Plans (due in Wednesday 14th December), just get in touch.

Many thanks.  



If your lack of time to spend on research makes you want to act out,
Just think what you could do with some nice juicy buyout. 

For with the scope and versatility of an RCUK resource,
What a fantastic means you’ll have to contribute to discourse.

If the research venue that you need is quite some distance,
Build in money to send instead, your very own Research Assistance.

And if you want to be free and nimble just like a Catamount,
You may be able to pay for that conference RSF won’t cover with the 12.5% of Indirect/Estate costs you could secure in your T-Account.

And of course with the boost RCUK funding could give to Curriculum Vitaes,
Management may (in a platonic professional way) look at you like in Planet of the Apes, the way Zira looks at her ‘Bright Eyes’.


If you’re still not convinced? Even if you have thought about Research Council funding before, you might think ‘Yeah, but it’s so hard to get – why even bother?’
Well the success rates aren’t as grim as you might think. Below are success rates based on the 2015/16 year for the main schemes of the AHRC and ESRC.

Project Grants – Standard = 25%
Project Grants – Early Career = 55%
Fellowships – Standard = 38%
Fellowships – Early Career = 28%

Project Grants = 13%*
Future Leaders (now replaced) = 21%

*The ESRC Project Grant odds in particular may still seem grim, but you’d still have a better chance there than winning the Lottery (1 in 14 million), thinking that Leicester would have won the Premier League last year (1 in 5000 at the start of the season), or finding a parking space on campus at 10.30am on a Wednesday term time (1 in a Squillion).
Plus, with the help of your friendly neighbourhood research officers, the support and guidance from your department and robust peer review (internal and external), there are many ways to help you achieve the highest possible quality proposal.


Some of the standard AHRC and ESRC routes currently open (others are available):

AHRC Leadership Fellows – Standard
The AHRC wants this scheme to not only lead to a significant individual work but to enhance research leadership and capacity across the arts and humanities by mid-career and senior academics. Therefore in addition to focused individual work, there is also time for collaborative activities that will have impact on the relevant discipline and beyond.
Budget: £50,000 – £250,000 for between 6 and 18 months.
Deadline: No fixed deadlines

AHRC Leadership Fellows – Early Career Route
The AHRC’s Leadership Fellows scheme provides time for research leaders, or potential future research leaders, to undertake focused individual research alongside collaborative activities which have the potential to generate a transformative impact on their subject area and beyond. In addition to demonstrating support for high quality, world leading research and associated outputs, proposals must include collaborative activities to support the development of the Fellow’s capacity for research leadership in the arts and humanities.
Deadline: No fixed deadlines
Budget: £50,000 and £250,000 for between 6 and 24 months.

AHRC Research Grants – Standard
The scheme supports coherent, high quality research projects and encourages collaboration of all kinds. Projects must have both a PI and a Co-I.
Budget: fEC between £50,000 and £1,000,000 (funded at 80% for maximum of 60 months) Deadline:

AHRC Research Grants – Early Career Route
This research grants route from the AHRC is intended to enable academics in the early stages of their career to build and lead their first research team around a well-defined project. Projects must have both a PI and a Co-I.
Budget: fEC between £50,000 and £1,000,000 (funded at 80% for maximum of 60 months) Deadline: No fixed deadlines

ESRC Research Grants
The ESRC’s Research Grant scheme is to fund an excellent research project, which can cover a standard project structure to a large scale survey or methodological development. There must be a named PI and at least one Co-I.  International Co-Is can be included.
Budget: £350,000 to £1,000,000
Deadline: No fixed deadline

ESRC New Investigator (formerly Future Leaders)
This scheme is specifically aimed at supporting those looking to make the transition to an independent researcher through managing their first major research project. The call is open to high-quality candidates from anywhere in the world who have a maximum of four years’ postdoctoral experience and the support of an eligible UK research organisation.
Budget: £100,000 to £300,000 for between 36 – 60 months.
Deadline: No fixed deadline

UK in a Changing Europe – Brexit Priority Grants Pre-Call
The ESRC will shortly be launching a call under the UK in a Changing Europe initiative for Brexit Priority Grants. These are to support additional activity (including research synthesis and potential new short-term research activity) related to the process of the UK leaving the European Union.
The grants will be between £100,000 and £300,000 (100 per cent fEC, with the ESRC contributing 80 per cent fEC) and for a duration of up to 18 months. The ESRC expects grants to commence on 1 April 2017.
Whilst grants under the call will be able to support new research, grant holders will be expected to undertake stakeholder and public engagement activity throughout the grant’s duration. Grant holders will also be expected to work closely with the initiative, led by Director Professor Anand Menon in communicating the research.
The ESRC intends to launch the call at the beginning of December 2016, and it is expected to close at 16.00 on 25 January 2017.

Many thanks.

Our digest of funding opportunities is provided by Richard Smith, Faculty Research and Enterprise Officer at Keele’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Science.
If you want more information on these, or other opportunities, Richard can be contacted via email at


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