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 (BST) on 31st March 2023. Applicants are strongly advised to submit applications well in advance of this deadline – late submissions will not be considered. If you ave any technical issues, please notify Stuart Wilson immediately.
Independent scholars from within Europe† are eligible to apply, and they will not hold an appointment – full-time or part-time, temporary or permanent – at an institution of higher education and research.‡
For the purposes of this competition, an ‘Independent Scholar’ is understood as someone, whether or not currently in (non-academic) employment, who is engaged in intellectual work of a nature and standard comparable to that of a professional academic scholar. Applicants will usually hold a PhD but other equivalent academic or professional qualifications may be considered. Evidence of scholarly achievement at a sufficiently high level can include publications in academic journals, edited collections and monographs, as well as pieces for professional journals and the popular media.
Independent Scholars intending to pursue or complete a piece of independent research and desiring an affiliation to an institution of higher education and research within Europe are eligible to apply. They may be in professional (non-academic) employment, including in the arts, full- or part-time, or in an unpaid occupation.
The awards are intended as providing a stipend to allow applicants support for academic research and relief from non-academic work (including domestic care) for a period of up to one year.
PLEASE NOTE: Eligibility for ISRF funding opportunities is 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, the proposed institutional affiliation must be with a European institution.
‡ Newly qualified post-doctoral scholars, as-yet unemployed in academia, are not considered Independent Scholars for the purpose of this competition.
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 research proposed may include, but is not confined to: initiation of a project or of research level work intended to draw on or contribute to one of the professions, completion of a project, or preparation of an article or monograph for publication, based on existing work.
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 directly from their current (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 2024.
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 €32,500 (or GBP equivalent)†. Within that sum, reasonable support for research 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 €32,500. 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. Awards will be conditional on the establishment of an institutional affiliation, to cover the duration of the proposed research project. Whilst the ISRF will take a lead in negotiating the terms of affiliation, it is the responsibility of the applicant to identify suitable institutions with which they would like to be affiliated. A short final report will be required, as part of a presentation of the Fellow’s findings, in-person, to the Foundation’s academic representatives.† 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 2023.
† 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. 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:
For example Research Proposals from previous Independent Scholar Fellows, see the project pages for Steve Graby, Alessandra Gribaldo, Larisa Jasarevic, Nina Moeller, Sarah Rosenberg-Jansen, Mike Waite & Joy White.
In support of the Research Proposal, applicants are also prompted to submit:
* The submitted bibliography will be appended to your Research Proposal, visible at all stages of the selection process.
** Your budget, prior publications/outputs and previous experience/qualifications will only be appended to your Research Proposal, and therefore visible to reviewers, if your application reaches the final, Selection Panel stage.
*** Your statement on your Independent Scholar Status will be reviewed separately to your Research Proposal to establish eligibility.
Finally, you are required to nominate two referees who may be contacted by the ISRF for a Letter of Support.
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.
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 5:00pm (BST) on 31st March 2023.
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 August 2023.