Ethics Statement

The ISRF exists to promote and support research in the social sciences which is ‘innovative, interdisciplinary, challenges existing frameworks, and may be otherwise hard to fund.’ 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.


Responsibilities of individual (Foundation Board, Academic Advisory Board, and Executive Team) members, accountability and control of financial management, academic direction and general administration are carried out within a tripartite structure.

The Foundation Board has its offices in Amsterdam, where the Foundation is registered. The Foundation Board conducts the Foundation’s financial business and registers yearly accounts of the Foundation in compliance with Netherlands law. 

The Academic Advisory Board of internationally distinguished academics meets yearly to consider the Annual Report of the Director of Research, and advises both the Foundation Board and the Director of Research. 

The direction of the academic work of the Foundation and the general administration which supports it (the Executive Team) are the responsibility of the Director of Research, who reports to the Foundation Board and, through the Annual Report, to the Academic Advisory Board. 

The ISRF complies with all UK workplace legislation. Policies/policy statements are in place to cover: equality; confidentiality, data storage security; intellectual property; financial control and correct use of funds (travel etc); professional relations in the workplace (harassment and conflict resolution). The ISRF insists on grantees’ compliance with accepted research ethics in their field, as well as with their institution’s own ethics of research requirements. Proper regard is paid by all those at the ISRF to potential conflicts of interest, which are declared, discussed, and dealt with as deemed appropriate.

Values of Academic Decision Making

The ISRF applies the obligation to respect academic values in academic activity and decision-making both to those whose work it funds, and to the ISRF’s own Board members and employees. In particular the ISRF emphasises the value and values of: critical appraisal, appropriate advice-seeking (in case of uncertainty over judgement or fact), respect for difference, open discussion, rational argument and consensus in decision making, and intellectual autonomy. 

Funding Principles

The ISRF is committed to funding excellent research that meets its objectives, published criteria and terms, and to using only selection procedures which demonstrate and ensure independence, fairness and transparency. 

Individual scholars are normally funded competitively, through grants competitions, on a basis of expert peer assessment which both ensures confidentiality and takes account of potential conflicts of interest, on the part of assessors. 

Funding may be allocated non-competitively:

– in partnership with organisations such as academic institutions, journals, or non-academic research-commissioning bodies. This requires Academic Advisory Board approval, and compliance with the ISRF’s partnership protocol which specifies financial and academic governance requirements 

– as small awards to individuals or groups for projects such as workshops or publications. This may be at the discretion of the Director of Research from a budget held for the purpose of supporting or ‘pump-priming’ research that: falls within the specific areas of interest of the Foundation; falls within areas that the Foundation may from time to time advertise; or which are otherwise judged to meet the Foundation’s stated aims.