ISRF Flexible Grants for Small Groups Competition

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The Independent Social Research Foundation wishes to support independent-minded researchers to explore and present original research ideas which take new approaches, and suggest new solutions, to real world social problems. Such work would be unlikely to be funded by existing funding bodies.

Please read these details carefully – and consult the FAQs – before commencing an application or contacting the ISRF with a query. Applications must be submitted before 5pm (BST) on 30th November 2023. Applicants are strongly advised to submit applications well in advance of this deadline – late submissions will not be considered. If you have any technical issues, please notify Stuart Wilson immediately.


Eligible Applicants

Scholars from within Europe† are eligible to apply as Principal Investigator(s) to lead a small group of 2-10 scholars (which may include graduate students). Applicants should hold a PhD and will normally have a permanent appointment at an institution of higher education and research. Applications may be made by those whose sole or principal post is a part-time equivalent. Independent scholars with an academic affiliation may also apply. The awards are intended as providing flexible support (for instance: relief from teaching &/or administration, research and travel expenses, fieldwork and practical work) for a period of (up to) one year, for the activities of the research group. Stipends are not provided.

† There is no limitation on nationality – however, the Principal Investigator(s) should be affiliated to a European institution, through which the award would be processed.

Eligible Research

Innovative research which crosses established disciplinary boundaries and critically challenges incumbent theories and approaches, so as to address afresh empirical problems with no currently adequate theory or investigative methodology. Innovation may also come from controversial theoretical approaches motivated by critical challenge of incumbent theories. Projects ranging across the breadth of the social scientific disciplines and interdisciplinary research fields are welcome, and relevant applications from scholars working within the humanities are also encouraged.

Terms & Conditions

Duration & Timing

The awards are intended as enabling one or more short periods of face-to-face* joint group work such as workshops, working-in-pairs, or short academic visits over a period of up to one year, and must commence no later than end of December 2024.


The amount of an award depends on the nature of the work proposed and individual circumstances – the ISRF expects applications for grants up to a maximum of €8,100 (or GBP equivalent).†

† PLEASE NOTE: Applicants with based in the UK must apply in GBP (£), up to the limit of £7,000. All other applicants must apply in EUR (€), up to the limit of €8,100. These amounts are fixed, and will not be adjusted in the event of GBP/EUR currency fluctuations.

Terms & Conditions

The ISRF reserves the right to extend the deadline for the competition. A short final report will be required.† Award holders may be invited to present their findings in person to the Foundation’s academic representatives. ISRF’s support to be acknowledged in all public presentation of research. Full Terms & Conditions governing awards will be provided to successful applicants in their formal offer, based on the draft general terms and conditions available on the ISRF website. Formal acceptance of the award must be completed by the end of September 2024.

† The ISRF does not require a lengthy report on your work, although reflections and comments are welcome as an addendum/appendix; for our records we require a short (no more than 500 words) report on the main features of your work: a short recap/outline of research aims and work plan; changes in research plans with reasons; new or surprising findings or results; what was achieved and how; outputs (presentations, publications etc); lessons learned; collaborations, partnerships, networks that have resulted; further plans/projects that arise from research.

Joint Applications

The competition is open to individual researchers who wish to bring together and to cooperate with others (to be named in the proposal), on a specific project: this may be at the pilot stage. There will normally be one principal applicant but joint applications by two or more colleagues are acceptable. In such cases, the application should be submitted by one of the PI’s, and the other should be clearly labelled as co-PI when details of collaborators are entered in the application form. CV’s for both PI’s must be submitted.

Applications to Other Funding Bodies

Applicants may apply without prejudice to other funding bodies. If applications for identical projects were successful it would be expected that only one award (i.e. either the ISRF or another) would be accepted. If applications for either wholly or partly different projects are successful there should be no duplication in the budget headings funded by the ISRF and another body.

All awards are conditional upon acceptance of our Standard Award Terms & Conditions.

The Application

The Research Proposal

All applicants will be expected to provide the following details as part of their proposal:

  • The Research Focus: The project’s topic, problem, or question (250 words)
  • Background: Current research reference points and their limitations (250 words)
  • Project Thesis: The hypotheses or innovative claims the research may enable you to support (250 words)
  • Methodology: Methods and procedures your research will employ, with description of interactions among different disciplinary inputs (250 words)
  • Work Plan: How your methods and procedures will be structured over the period of the award (250 words)
  • Outcomes: Describe project contribution, dissemination, and any further steps and longer-term goals (250 words)
  • Ethics Statement: Any measures required for ethical conduct of the research, including needed regulatory compliance (300 words)

The Submitted Application

This will be read by academic evaluators who are social scientists but not necessarily in the applicant’s own field; applicants should bear this in mind when writing their application. Our Assessment Procedure is set out online.

In order to be considered for the award, all applications must comprise the following:



  • Including a list of relevant publications. Where there are co-applicants (Co-PIs), CV’s for all PIs should be included.

Institutional Approval

Applicants must confirm that their home institution is aware of their application, and should provide the contact details for the relevant Administrative Officer.

How to Apply

Application Procedure

Applicants are expected to submit their complete application electronically via the online application system, in English.

Completed applications must arrive – via the online application system – no later than 5:00pm (GMT) on 30th November 2023.

A candidate may submit only one application. Applicants can expect to be informed of the result of their applications by email by the end of March 2024.

Click Here to Apply


Application Queries

Please consult the FAQ’s before contacting us directly.

Queries should be directed to Despoina Livieratou (Academic & Administrative Assistant) in the first instance, at

Date de candidature
1 an max.
Humanités : Anthropologie & Ethnologie, Histoire, Numérique, Big Data, Philosophie, théologie et religion
Sciences sociales