Britain’s three leading national academies have announced a joint scheme to support multidisciplinary work that is unlikely to be supported by other funders.
The Academies Partnership in Supporting Excellence in Cross-disciplinary Research, or APEX, award scheme, was launched on 7 November by the Royal Society, British Academy and Royal Academy of Engineering with support from the Leverhulme Trust.
It offers researchers the opportunity “to pursue interdisciplinary and curiosity-driven research to benefit society”, a statement from the British Academy said.
In its first year, the scheme will distribute five awards of up to £100,000.
The scheme aims to support interdisciplinary research that is unlikely to be supported through conventional funding programmes and to promote interdisciplinary collaboration with a particular emphasis on the boundary between science and engineering and the social sciences and humanities.
It also aims to support researchers with an exceptional track record in developing their research in a new direction through interdisciplinary collaboration and to enable these researchers to focus on advancing their research through seed funding.
Alun Evans, chief executive of the British Academy, said that the awards had been launched because, despite being more important than ever, interdisciplinary research was often in danger of being marginalised.
Royal Academy of Engineering president Ann Dowling added that many of the challenges facing society could not be tackled alone but required a joined-up, interdisciplinary approach, so it was vital to fund research of this nature.
The deadline for applications is 13 January 2017.