Jul 13

Nuffield Foundation Research, Development and Analysis Programme

Grants available to support research, development and analysis projects that work to improve the design and operation of social policy in the areas of education, welfare and justice.

Fund Information

Funding body:
Nuffield Foundation
Maximum value:
£ 500,000
Application deadline:

Extended Description

In June 2017, the Nuffield Foundation published a five-year strategy setting out its funding priorities, and as a result launched this funding programme to reflect these priorities.

The Foundation’s research, development and analysis portfolio is central to the delivery of their mission to advance educational opportunity and social well-being across the UK. It is expected that funded projects will work to improve the design and operation of social policy, especially in those areas in which the Foundation has always identified as underpinning a well-functioning society: Education, Welfare and Justice.

The Foundation seeks to build the capacity of the public policy system, including those responsible for policy delivery and practice, to understand and interpret research and analysis and to develop policy and practice in these three domains.


The Education portfolio seeks to improve evidence, policy and practice in education and skills, from early childhood onwards. The portfolio also includes research into wider influences on life chances, such as the role of families.

The Foundation is particularly keen to fund work that addresses one or more of the following areas. These are not exclusive and it is possible that research carried out under one of the five themes will also be relevant to one or more of the others.

  • Early years education and childcare
  • Skills
  • Teaching quality
  • Young people’s pathways
  • Educational disadvantage


The Welfare portfolio builds on earlier work on economic advantage and disadvantage and the finances of ageing. It seeks to improve lifelong economic and social well-being and participation by funding research that studies the determinants of adult and later life outcomes and welfare, how these determinants are changing across generations and how they may be mitigated where desirable. The Foundation is particularly interested in the effective design of, and behavioural responses to, policies which seek to protect against adverse outcomes, improve living standards and increase active participation in society.

The Foundation is calling for proposals in one or more of the following areas. These are not exclusive and it is possible that research carried out under one will be also be relevant to one or more of the others.

  • Family dynamics and labour market outcomes
  • Social and economic welfare in later life
  • Geographical inequalities
  • Social and economic analysis to inform public debate


The Foundation aims to improve outcomes for people who are seeking to resolve legal problems and disputes – including those which concern their rights in relation to the State – by facilitating evidence-based change within the justice system. This includes what happens in courts and tribunals (and the processes which lead up to them), as well as alternative mechanisms for redress outside the formal system. The Foundation will continue to consider the extent to which access to justice is achieved – including, but not confined to, access to legal advice and representation. However, the Foundation is also keen to balance this with an increased focus on procedural and substantive fairness. Above all else, they are interested in work that seeks to measure and explain the extent to which legal and other processes for dispute resolution improve outcomes for individuals and society. The Foundation has a special interest in the following topics:

  • Family and youth justice
  • Decision-making
  • Participation and rights

The Foundation supports a wide range of research, development and analysis projects, including:

  • Reviews and synthesis
  • Data collection and/or analysis
  • Pre-trial development work
  • Comparison or controlled trials or evaluations
  • Research translation

In addition to research, the Foundation occasionally funds projects of a more developmental nature. These must have direct bearing on, or strong links to, the Foundation’s funding priorities. They may or may not lead to larger scale applications for funding from the Foundation. Examples might include:

  • Initial development or feasibility studies for practical project interventions, with relevance to wider populations, i.e. beyond those directly involved in the project.
  • Small-scale inquiries, working parties or similar mechanisms to engage and deliberate with a range of stakeholders to reach common ground on a priority policy or practice issue and research/identify a potentially workable way forward.
  • Exploratory analysis of new data to inform the feasibility and potential for further analysis.
  • Small-scale deep-dive/observational studies to understand the operation of a policy or practice area to inform a larger scale project or initiative.

Eligibility Criteria

The Foundation encourages applicants to submit an outline proposal to test out the idea with them and to guide applicants on their eligibility.

In general, a wide range of organisations are eligible to apply for funding including, but not confined to, universities based in the UK and for projects focused on the UK context. However, applications are welcome from UK-based organisations to carry out collaborative projects involving overseas partners (and/or exploiting data relating to other countries), for example where:

  • These provide useful comparators for UK experience in the Foundation’s areas of substantive interest.
  • There are lessons to be learned from international experiences.
  • Policy or practice overseas might be adapted for the UK.
  • There is a capacity building dimension that might benefit the UK.

Applications from an overseas organisation may be considered in exceptional circumstances, along the lines of the above where there is no workable arrangement whereby a UK-based organisation can host the grant.

Although the Foundation does not contribute to general appeals for pooled funding, in some circumstances they will consider partnership funding. Where applicants wish to propose a partnership funding model, applicants will be expected to argue the case for such an approach within their Outline application.

Where applicants wish to seek funding for more than one project, the Foundation is willing to consider more than one Outline application from the same organisation. However, applicants should bear in mind that it is unlikely that more than one Outline application from a single PI within a given funding round would be shortlisted.

Additional Information

Approximately 20% of Outline applicants are invited to submit a Full Application. Around 500 applications are received per round, of which around 10% are funded.

The whole application process is likely to take between six and eight months for most projects.

Value Notes

Grants will normally range in size from £10,000 up to £500,000, with most lying between £50,000 and £300,000.

Occasionally the Foundation will make grants larger than £500,000 but these often require a bespoke timescale for consideration and decision, which will be discussed with applicants. Many of the large-scale projects build on earlier Foundation involvement in individual projects, initiatives or clusters of work.

The Foundation occasionally makes smaller grants for pilots or research, development and analysis work costing less than £10,000.

Most funded projects are between six months and three years in duration, but proposals that have a longer timescale will be considered. Projects are funded at 100% of eligible costs, covering directly incurred and directly allocated costs.

Eligible costs include:

  • Salaries up to the Foundation’s salary cap (for both UK and non-UK staff), National Insurance, and employer pension contributions (up to the salary cap).
  • Cost of living and incremental pay increases (up to a maximum 5% per annum).
  • Estates costs for HEI staff who are not permanent staff or PIs (pro rata basis).
  • Overheads for non-HEIs (not expected to exceed 60% as a proportion of salaries).
  • Consultants (daily rates usually within range £250 – £800).
  • Equipment.
  • Travel and subsistence.
  • Data collection/ fieldwork.
  • Costs of events, publications and dissemination activities.
  • Admin and office expenses.


The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Individuals without a formal employment or other relationship with the institution hosting the grant.
  • Projects led by individuals unaffiliated to any particular organisation.
  • Projects led by schools or further education colleges.
  • Projects led by undergraduates or Master’s students.
  • PhD fees or projects where the main purpose is to support a PhD.
  • The establishment of academic posts.
  • Ongoing costs or the costs of ‘rolling out’ existing work or services.
  • ‘Dissemination-only’ projects, including campaigning work, which are not connected to the Foundation’s funded work.
  • Local charities, replacement for statutory funding, or local social services or social welfare provision.
  • Requests for financial help or educational fees from or on behalf of individuals.

Unless special permission is granted, applications for projects that are being considered by another funder at the same time will not be accepted. The Foundation is unlikely to fund proposals that have been unsuccessful elsewhere unless the project is outstanding and central to their areas of interest.

Terms and Conditions

Each Outline application is screened by one or more members of the grants team. When assessing applications they will consider the following factors:

  • Relevance – an interesting question/issue that fits the Nuffield Foundation’s mission and is relevant to the questions in their three domains. There should be a clear articulation of what applicants intend to do, why it matters, and what difference it will make.
  • Rigour – for analysis and drawing conclusions as well as design/data collection. Methods need to be right for the question (and many of the questions need some quantitative analysis).
  • Engagement – with policy and/or practice, as well as public dissemination through the media and other channels. Engagement needs to be end-to-end, not just at dissemination stage.
  • Impact – explanation of the potential for impact: clarity of outputs and outcomes and the relationship between the two.
  • Resources – strong team and appropriate budget.

The full terms and conditions guidance document can be found on the Foundation’s website.

Application Procedure

There are two funding rounds each year.

Applications to the 2017/18 funding rounds must be submitted by the following deadlines:

  • May 2018 meeting:
    • Outline application deadline: 2 October 2017
    • Full application deadline: 12 January 2018.
  • November 2018 meeting:
    • Outline application deadline: 16 March 2018
    • Full application deadline: 6 July 2018.

Addresses and contacts

For further information on how to obtain this grant locally, please contact the following:

  1. Enquiries
    Nuffield Foundation
    28 Bedford Square
    WC1B 3JS
    Tel: 020 7631 0566
    Fax: 020 7323 4877
    Email: outlines@nuffieldfoundation.org

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