ESRC – 2015-2016 Delivery Plan


All Research Councils publish Delivery Plans as a final product of a Government Spending Review. The Plans set out each Council’s funding priorities and outline the activities that they intend to undertake over a given period. The ESRC have recently released their delivery plan for 2015-2016 which will build on their earlier 2011-15 Delivery Plan.

In the next academic year they plan to focus on the following areas:

  • Big Data
  • Business Innovation
  • Social Science of Environmental Change
  • Urban Transformations
  • Epigenetics
  • Education
  • Europe 

For further information the delivery plan can be accessed here


AHRC and ESRC drop PhD Support From Open Research Calls

The Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council have announced that they will only support PhD students in strategic areas.


The councils say that, from 1 November, no funding will be provided for project-linked students on applications to the ESRC’s responsive-mode research grants scheme and the AHRC’s open-call research grants scheme. The change, announced on 25 July, brings them in line with all of the other research councils except the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Of 63 relevant AHRC grants awarded in the financial year 2012-13, 24 had project studentships attached and so would have been affected by the changes.

An AHRC statement said it would only provide studentships through targeted calls “where there is a case for developing capability in a specific area”. However, it added that funding for postgraduate training is still “the largest single scheme in our funding” as it receives more than £40 million each year.

The ESRC will fund project studentships through strategic calls, such as centres, large grants and professorial fellowships, and both councils will provide continued funding through doctoral training centres.

The councils say any applications submitted before 1 November, and those undergoing review, will be honoured.

Source: Rebecca Hill, Research Professional

ESRC Funding: Evaluating the Business Impact of Social Science: A Study of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships in the Private Sector

CoinsThe Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has issued an invitation for tenders for an evaluation of the business impact of social science: a study of knowledge transfer partnerships in the private sector.

The small scale study will evaluate the contributions that social science has made to business through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme, and will provide examples of private sector impact and specific benefits that social science can offer to business.

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme is UK-wide and is managed by the Technology Strategy Board and supported by 12 other funding organisations including the ESRC.

The aims of the evaluation are as follows:

  • Assess the range and nature of social science impacts on the private sector as identified in KTP reports, and highlight examples of good practice
  • Explore the extent to which Knowledge Transfer Partnerships have facilitated further private sector engagement with social science
  • Identify any further collaboration and impacts that have occurred since the completion of the KTP
  • Identify and analyse the determinants of the impacts identified (ie why and how impact has been generated)
  • Develop an understanding of the private sector’s appreciation and need for social science
  • Identify good practice and lessons for enhancing the contribution that social scientists can make to the private sector
  • Inform the ESRC’s business engagement activities with a view to maximising future impacts.

Further details and a copy of the full specification are available from the UK Shared Business Services Ltd. Please contact:

The deadline for submission of bids is 11.00 on 10 July 2013.

Social policy research specialist becomes new distinguished professor at Lincoln

Professor Stephen McKayOne of the country’s leading social policy researchers, whose work has helped to redefine how poverty is measured, has joined the University of Lincoln.

Professor Stephen McKay becomes Distinguished Professor of Social Research in Lincoln’s School of Social and Political Sciences. He joins the institution from the University of Birmingham, where has been based since 2007 and was most recently Professor of Social Research and Director of the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) Doctoral Training Centre.

He said: “I am delighted to join the University of Lincoln. I have been impressed by their commitment to the social sciences and by the number and quality of recent appointments. It is also clear that the University is committed to high quality research, and to ensuring that teaching is informed by such scholarship.”

Prof. McKay has been actively involved in social policy research for more than 20 years and was a key member of Birmingham’s Third Sector Research Centre. His research focuses on issues of poverty, wealth and inequality. He is recognised in particular for his expertise in applying quantitative research methods to the re-analysis of large, complex data sets.

His work in this area has included influential studies into the way in which material deprivation is measured nationally, particularly in relation to vulnerable groups such as children and older people. His findings have informed debate and policy-making at a national level and have been widely published in major academic journals.

He studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics as an undergraduate at the University of Oxford and completed his PhD at the University of Bristol. He previously worked at the universities of Bath, Bristol and Loughborough.

Prof. McKay added: “At Lincoln I hope to contribute to the research mission of the university, and to promoting research training. I particularly enjoy working with a range of colleagues from different disciplines and look forward to making links. These are challenging times for universities, but at a time of extensive welfare reform there is a great need for robust social research.”

Professor Sara Owen, Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Science at the University of Lincoln, said: “We are delighted that Professor Steve McKay is joining us as the first Distinguished Professor in Social Research. The College has a vibrant research culture and we are looking forward to future successes in cross and inter-disciplinary research and educational initiatives.”

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