interdisciplinarity innovation independent thought



Contributions to topics & debates across the social sciences


ISRF-funded Fellows & Projects since 2010


Grant and Essay Competitions for Early- & Mid-Career Academics and Independent Scholars


Platforms for research dissemination and contributions to wider debates

Collaborative Fellowships in the History of Knowledge

The Indepe­­­ndent Social Research Foundation (ISRF) and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) wish to support pairs of researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds to conduct collaborative research.

Application Deadline: 6pm CET, 4th February 2022

First Book Grant

Providing a stipend to allow applicants full or partial support for the conversion of their PhD thesis into a book.

Candidates must have been awarded their PhD and should be within three years of PhD award at the time of application

Application Deadline: 6pm CET, 4th February 2022

The Independent Social Research Foundation is a public benefit foundation funded by a group of private philanthropists with interests in academia and social science, founded in 2008.

The ISRF is dedicated to advancing the social sciences through the promotion of new modes of inquiry and the development of interdisciplinary expertise and methods, and through better understanding of social entities and processes.

What We Do

To achieve this objective the ISRF provide a series of funding opportunities, enters into partnerships with academic institutions and supports research activities that promote development across the social sciences and humanities.

How We Do It

The ISRF is an endowed foundation – the endowment, and any additional donations, are directly used to promote and support the objectives of the ISRF. Oversight responsibility for the Foundation’s endowment lies with the ISRF Investment Committee.

The Executive Team are responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the annual budget, as approved by the Foundation Board. The Foundation is advised by an Academic Advisory Board comprised of leading international academics from across the social sciences.

The Foundation subscribes to a code of ethics covering its governance, its adherence to legal and good practice requirements including equality, confidentiality and financial control, and its academic values of fairness, transparency and independence

As a Netherlands-registered Stichting, the ISRF is required to maintain a policy plan which draws together the objectives and activities of the Foundation. It is also required to produce an Annual Report, to have its own remuneration policy, and to publish a financial statement for the most recent financial year.

Grant Competitions

For Early- and Mid-Career Academics, Independent Scholars, and Small Groups

Essay Competitions

In Economics & Social Theory

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.

ISRF funding is awarded competitively through a series of grant – individual Fellowships and flexible, small group support – and essay competitions.

Award recipients are invited to present their work at ISRF Workshops, and to contribute articles to the ISRF Bulletin.

Existing or previous ISRF Fellows may apply to the ISRF Dissemination Fund for a grant of up to £500 towards the cost of, for example, holding an event at which a book (or a book to which they have contributed significantly) is launched.

2020 Annual Workshop

Regrettably, due to uncertainties around the ongoing Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, we have taken the precaution of postponing our annual workshop scheduled for 3-5 April in Athens, Greece.

Annual Workshops

The ISRF Annual Workshop provides a platform for ISRF Fellows to report on their research projects, and also to contribute to conversations and discussions around a theme.

Book Launches

A series of events celebrating the publication of books by former ISRF Fellows, hosted by ISRF Director of Research Chris Newfield.

Beginning with the inaugural Annual Workshop in May 2013 event, the ISRF has run and funded a number of events with the aim to provide a platform for ISRF Fellows to report on their research projects, and also to contribute to broader conversations and discussions across the social sciences.

Since launching in 2013, the ISRF Bulletin has provided information on the interdisciplinary research of ISRF Fellows.

Recent posts include:

The Road to a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

Fossil fuels – coal, oil, and gas – are the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Yet governments around the globe are on track to produce 120 per cent more than is compatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement. If those stocks are to be kept in the ground, an alternative approach is necessary.

Read On…

Read More interdisciplinary articles in the ISRF Bulletin.


Dr Lars Cornelissen
Academic Editor


Stuart Wilson

Independent Social Research Foundation

62 Bayswater Road
London W2 3PS

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7262 0196

Please note that the ISRF does not respond to unsolicited grant applications.

If you are considering an application to one of our Fellowship competitions, please check the Frequently Asked Questions before contacting us directly.