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. Applications must be submitted before 5pm (GMT) on 5th March 2021. Applicants are strongly advised to submit applications well in advance of this deadline. If you ave any technical issues, please notify Stuart Wilson immediately.
PLEASE NOTE: An Independent Scholar Fellowship (ISF8) competition is running concurrently. Applicants should consult the eligibility criteria for each competition before submitting an application. Applicants may not submit applications to both competitions, and duplicate applicants will be disqualified from both competitions.
Scholars from within Europe† are eligible to apply. Applicants will normally hold a full-time or part-time salaried position – which may be permanent or fixed-term – at an Institution of Higher Education and Research. Candidates should be within 10 years of PhD award at the time of application. Career breaks may 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.‡
PLEASE NOTE: Eligibility for ISRF funding opportunities will be unaffected by Brexit. We continue to encourage applications from scholars working within Europe (geographically defined – so, including those at UK institutions).
† There is no limitation on nationality – however, we are unable to consider applications from those whose home institution is not within Europe.
‡ Newly qualified post-doctoral scholars (as yet unemployed within academia) may apply, with institutional support from a European (including the UK) University which can commit to employing the applicant on (at least) a fixed-term basis for the duration of the award period.
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.
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 commence no later than end of December 2022.
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 €66,000 (or GBP equivalent)† 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 €66,000. These limits will not be adjusted in the event of GBP/EUR currency fluctuations.
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. The ISRF’s support is 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 2021.
† 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.
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, two types of joint application will be considered:
Co-applicants: whereby one application is submitted for a single project, with a total budget up to the limit of €65,000 (or GBP equivalent), wherein two applicants would work on the same project. In the event that the application is successful, both applicants would be awarded ISRF Fellowships. It is up to the applicants to decide how the budget will be split, and to detail this in the application – for example, a 50-50 split could see each applicant bought out for, say, six months. The total project duration should be no more than 12 months, but buy-out periods may overlap wholly or in part. The application should be submitted in the name of one of the PIs. CVs should be uploaded as one PDF file, and the Project Title should begin ‘CoApp’.
Co-investigators: whereby separate applications are submitted, for discrete contributions to an overall project. The budget for each application may be up to the limit of €65,000 (or GBP equivalent). The applications will be considered independently of each other, and neither, one or both may be awarded. Each individual project may last up to 12 months, and award periods may overlap wholly or in part. Each application should have the same Project Title, beginning ‘CoInv’.
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 applicants will be expected to provide the following details as part of their proposal:
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. To make the assessment procedure as fair as possible, we ask applicants to ensure their proposal has been anonymised. It may contain references to the applicant’s previous work but these should not be identifiable. Our Assessment Procedure is set out online.
In order to be considered for the award, all applications must comprise the following:
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:
It is therefore advisable that your Head of Department be aware of your application before you submit.
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 5th March 2021.
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 July 2021.
† An Independent Scholar Fellowship (ISF8) competition is running concurrently. Applicants should consult the eligibility criteria for each competition before submitting an application. Applicants may not submit applications to both competitions, and duplicate applicants will be disqualified from both competitions.
Please consult the FAQ’s before contacting us directly.
Academic queries should be directed to Dr Lars Cornelissen (Academic Editor) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Queries relating to eligibility, the Terms & Conditions of award, or about the online application system, should be directed to Stuart Wilson (Administrator) at email@example.com.