Please note: the competition listed on this page has closed. The ISRF will not be running another First Book Grant competition in 2023. Recently graduated PhDs may consider applying to the ISRF’s Early Career Fellowship competition, which is set to launch in January 2023.
The Independent Social Research Foundation wishes to support recent PhD graduates in their effort to turn their PhD thesis into a publishable book.
Researchers may apply from across the social sciences and the humanities. The awards are intended to provide a research stipend (to cover living costs plus reasonable research expenses) for a period of up to twelve months.
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 6pm CET on 4th February 2022. Applicants are strongly advised to submit applications well in advance of this deadline. If you have any technical issues, please notify Stuart Wilson immediately.
Scholars from within Europe† are eligible to apply. Candidates must have been awarded their PhD and should be within three years of PhD award at the time of application (career breaks, such as periods of medical leave, parental leave, or caring commitments, will be taken into account), and should not already hold a permanent position within academia.‡ The awards are intended as providing a stipend to allow applicants full or partial support for the conversion of their PhD thesis into a book,* and relief from non-academic work (including domestic care) for a period of up to one year.
A final publication contract need not be in place at the time of application. However, applicants should have developed a specific publication plan, and describe any of their preliminary inquiries to publishers (see Plan of Publication below).
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 nominated home institution is not within Europe. We will accept applications for books written in languages other than English.
‡ Early career scholars who hold a permanent academic position are eligible for our Early Career Fellowships.
* This may include the creation of new material, or a re-focusing of your expertise on a contemporary, real-world problem. However, this award is not intended to fund new research. Applicants wishing to embark upon substantially new research should apply for an Early Career or Independent Scholar Fellowship depending on eligibility.
The ISRF is looking for innovative research that 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 a stipend to allow applicants full or partial relief from non-academic duties, for a period of up to one year; alternatively, the award may be sought by those who wish to be bought-out from a non-academic employment contract (in whole or partially), with the prior consent of their current employer. The award period must begin no later than the end of December 2023, and awardees would be expected – by the end of the award period – to have produced a manuscript for submission to publishers.
The amount of an award will depend on individual circumstances – the ISRF expects applications for grants up to a maximum of €34,000 (or GBP equivalent).† Within that sum, reasonable support for copy-editing expenses will be considered. Reasonable childcare or other domestic costs may be considered.
† PLEASE NOTE: Applicants seeking an affiliation in the UK must apply in GBP (£), up to the limit of £28,750. Applicants seeking an affiliation elsewhere in Europe, including non-Eurozone countries, must apply in EUR (€), up to the limit of €34,000. 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 of no more than 500 words will be required. Award holders will be expected to present their findings in person at one of the Foundation’s regular academic events. 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 2022.
The competition is open to individuals only. Joint/group applications will not be considered.
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. Assessors will be asked to pay particular attention to the feasibility of your Work Plan and Plan for Publication. Our Assessment Procedure is set out online.
In order to be considered for the award, all applications must comprise the following:
† Your thesis will be treated confidentially and will only be seen by ISRF academic staff. If, for whatever reason, you cannot upload your thesis as part of your application please contact Lars Cornelissen to discuss alternatives.
Please nominate a referee (ideally your external examiner). Your referee will be contacted to write a statement of support only in the event that your project is shortlisted. The statement of support will be asked to speak to:
Where applicants wish to be bought out from existing employment (either wholly or in part) they must confirm that their employer is aware of their application, and should provide the contact details for the relevant contact. Should your application progress, this contact will be asked to confirm, on behalf of your employer, that:
It is therefore advisable that you ensure that your Employer is in agreement with the content 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 6pm CET, 4th February 2022.
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 June 2022.
Please consult the FAQ’s before contacting us directly.
Academic queries (including questions of eligibility) should be directed to Dr Lars Cornelissen (Academic Editor) at [email protected].
Queries relating to the Terms & Conditions of award, or about the online application system, should be directed to Stuart Wilson (Administrator) at [email protected].