For the purpose of this call, the ESRC broadly defines transformative research as involving pioneering theoretical and methodological innovation, engaging unusual disciplinary and/or interdisciplinary perspectives, challenging conventional academic thinking and/or involving the novel application of theory and methods in new contexts.. The expectation is that the transformative research call will provide a major stimulus to novel developments of social science enquiry which will lead to having transformative impact on society. The ESRC recognises that research will attract an element of risk, which we expect will be conducive to high reward.
Some of the possible characteristics of transformative research include:
• Results that will radically change accepted thinking in the social sciences or that could lead to a paradigm shift in its field
• Research that is ethically sound, but which is likely to involve an unusually high degree of risk for the researcher and/ or participants, with the expectation of it producing high rewards
• Research that engages unusual disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives and/or methodologies
• Research that challenges widespread methodological and theoretical assumptions of typical social scientific enquiry
• Research that is carried out with the expectation that it will produce a broad base of knowledge and new thinking/insights which will lead to having transformative impact on society.
This call specifically encourages applicants to design a research question(s) that is both highly ambitious and creative. Applicants should also consider the potential scientific impact of their research proposal and the potential economic and societal impact. More information can be found on the ESRC Impact Toolkit at:
Funding and duration
Grants supported under this call will be duration and must start no later than 30 September 2018.
The value of the award shall not exceed £250,000 (at 100% fEC). The ESRC will fund 80% of this cost, and the balance must be covered by the host research organisation. We expect to fund10-12 transformative grants in this call. The final decision on how many grants will be funded will depend primarily on the quality of the proposals, on their potential to transform conventional academic thinking, transforming research methods, and/or their potential to have transformative impact on society.
All UK-based research organisations (ROs) that are eligible for Research Council funding will be
eligible to submit a maximum of two proposals to this call. As this is a highly competitive call,
all ROs must internally decide on the final number of proposals to be submitted. Proposals
submitted to this call will count towards demand management statistics.
The deadline for proposals is 7 November 2017 (16:00).