ISRF Mid-Career Fellowship Competition (MCF4)
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.
Please read these details carefully – and consult the FAQs – before commencing an application or contacting the ISRF with a query.
This competition will close at 4pm (GMT) on 16th February 2018.
PLEASE NOTE: A Political Economy Fellowship (PERF2) competition is running concurrently. Eligible applicants may submit an application for each competition, each containing a discrete project proposal. Such applications will be considered individually – however, multiple awards will not be made to the same applicant. Political Economy applications should not be submitted for MCF4.
Scholars from within Europe† are eligible to apply. Applicants will normally hold a salaried position at an Institution of Higher Education and Research. Candidates should be 10 years or more from the year of their PhD award. However, a shorter time from PhD award may exceptionally be considered, if the candidate has other qualifications to be considered as mid-career (these might include: length of appointment to permanent post, seniority, teaching responsibilities). Career breaks may also be taken into account. The awards are intended as providing full relief from all teaching duties and all associated academic administration for a period of (up to) one year; applications may be made by those whose sole or principal post is a part-time equivalent.‡
† There is no limitation on nationality- however, we are unable to consider applications from those whose home institution is not within Europe.
‡ Independent Scholars may apply, and should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Innovative research which breaks with existing explanatory frameworks 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. Interdisciplinarity in the generation of new investigative initiatives may be achieved by combining, cross-fertilising, and so transforming empirical methods and theoretical insights from the social sciences. 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.
Duration and Timing
The awards are intended as providing full relief from all teaching duties and all associated academic administration for a period of up to one year, and must be taken up no later than end of December 2019.
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 £60,000 or €67,500† to buy-out the cost of all teaching and associated administration in the applicant’s home institution for up to 12 months. Within that sum, reasonable support for research expenses may be considered on a matched-funding basis with the host Institution.
† PLEASE NOTE: Applicants based in the UK must apply in GBP (£), up to the limit of £60,000. All other applicants must apply in EUR (€), up to the limit of €67,500. These amounts are fixed as of 1st January 2018, 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 December 2018.
The competition is open to individuals who wish to undertake a piece of original research. Where more than one researcher wishes to seek funds for the same project, each person should submit a separate application and clearly demonstrate what his or her specific contribution to the project will be. Each application will be treated on its own merits, and applicants should be aware that the Committee may decide not to fund either or all individuals seeking funds for the same project.
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 Research Proposal
All applicants will be expected to provide the following details as part of their proposal (maximum of 1750 words total; 250 words per section):
- The Research Idea: The innovative thesis of the project.
- Background: Current research reference points and their limitations.
- The Focus: How the research provides a fresh approach to real-life problems.
- Theoretical novelty: What conceptual innovation the research is aiming at.
- Methodology: How different disciplinary inputs will interact in empirical inquiry.
- Work Plan: How the work will be organised over the award period and what outputs are intended.
- Outcome: What further steps and what longer-term outcome are envisaged.
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.
In order to be considered for the award, all applications must comprise the following:
A completed Application Form, to include:
- An Abstract (300 words) of the research’s aims, methods, contribution to knowledge, and value in realising the goals of ISRF.
- A completed Research Project Proposal form (1750 words total; 250 words per section)
- A Budget comprising a full outline of employment costs. If matched-funded research expenses are included for consideration, an explanation should be given as to why these are deemed necessary.
A Curriculum Vitae
- Including a list of publications
A Letter of Support from a recognised scholar in the applicant’s field of interest, covering:
- The applicant’s status (personal academic reference).
- The research proposed (brief comment on how this meets the ISRF criteria).
- Why the research would not be funded by existing resources.
This must be sent from the nominated scholar direct to ISRF at email@example.com.
Applicants must confirm that their home institution is aware of their application, and should provide the contact details for the relevant Administrative Officer. Should your application progress, this Officer (Institutional Approver) will be asked to confirm, on behalf of your department and institution that:
- You will be granted the period and proportion of time requested in the Duration and Timing section;
- If replacement costs are requested, you will be in receipt of your normal salary during tenure of the award and the institution will provide cover;
- If research expenses are sought, this request has the support of the head of department/school and institution, who will confirm that these will be matched.