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Funding opportunities, news and guidance from RKE at Manchester Metropolitan University

Transformative Research call 2017-18 – Internal Expression of Interest

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ESRC have announced the fourth round of the ESRC Transformative Research Call.  Due to the highly ambitious nature of this call they are only allowing us to submit two applications.

We are therefore running an internal MMU Expression of Interest call. EOIs should be completed on the form available here: eoi-transformative and submitted to Gareth Cantello in RKE, by Friday 25th August 2017

EOIs will then be reviewed by an expert panel including relevant Faculty Heads of RKE and applicants will be informed of the outcome on 8th September 2017.

Call info

The aim of this call is to provide a stimulus for genuinely transformative research ideas at the frontiers of the social sciences, enabling research which challenges current thinking to be supported and developed.

Call details

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 funded for up to 24 months in 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 expect to fund 10-12 transformative grants in this call.  The deadline for submission of the selected applications is 31st October 2017.

Transformative research

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 they 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.

ESRC priority areas

The transformative idea also needs to address one (or more) of the ESRCs five priority areas as identified in its Delivery Plan 2016-2020 (

These are:

  • Productivity
  • Understanding the Macro-Economy
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Housing
  • Ways of Being in a Digital Age

Whilst proposals may include a range of disciplinary approaches, proposals must be at least 50 per cent social science in disciplinary focus. This includes the focus of the research, the principal investigator, and other personnel involved.

Full details are here:


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