COVID-19: our response

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder and our aim is to support the social science research community to deliver successful projects that have a positive impact on people’s lives.

Our priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic are to support our staff, our grant-holders and the young people who participate in our student programmes, as well as to fund research that addresses the wider social significance of the pandemic.

Addressing the social implications of COVID-19

We have awarded £1.6 million for research on the social implications of the COVID-19 emergency as they emerge in real time, including how best to mitigate the impact on those who are worst affected such as families on low incomes.

COVID-19 projects


Education | 2020 – 2020

The impact of COVID-19 on mainstream schools in England

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Welfare | 2020 – 2021

Social cohesion in the context of COVID-19

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Welfare | 2020 – 2021

COVID-19 and families on a low income: poverty in the pandemic

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Welfare | 2020 – 2022

COVID-19 social study

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Justice | 2020 – 2021

Law and compliance during COVID-19

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Education | Welfare | 2020 – 2021

Growing up under COVID-19

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Welfare | 2020 – 2020

How the UK public gets information about COVID-19

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Education | 2020 – 2022

The effects of COVID-19 on families’ time-use and child development

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In progress

Education | Welfare | 2019 – 2022

Contemporary fathers in the UK

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Information for grant-holders

We understand that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the uncertainty and disruption it creates may have an impact on your ability to deliver your Nuffield-funded project as originally proposed. If you find this is the case, please get in touch with us at the earliest opportunity and we will work with you to determine the best way we can support you to achieve the objectives of your project. We fund a diverse range of projects and will respond to each enquiry on a case-by-case basis rather than by issuing generic guidance. We will endeavour to be flexible wherever possible and to respond promptly to all enquiries.

Applications to our Research, Development and Analysis Fund

We will continue our assessment of all funding applications currently underway, including outline applications submitted by the 16 March 2020 deadline. We will be in touch with applicants if we have any questions about the likely impact of the pandemic on their application or if the disruption leads to a delay in our timetable.

The next deadline for outline applications is September 2020, but we will keep this under review as the longer-term implications of the pandemic become clearer. We will continue to listen to the views of the research community and should it be in the best interests of applicants to extend the deadline then we will do so.

To keep in touch with our work, including any alterations to application deadlines, please sign-up for our e-newsletter.

Applications to our Strategic Fund

We will extend the deadline for the next round of outline applications to our Strategic Fund to Monday 29 June 2020 to take account of the challenges currently faced by applicants. This will also give applicants sufficient time to consider the implications of the pandemic for their proposals in terms of focus, research questions, design and timetable. If you are working on an application to our Strategic Fund and this extension has implications you would like to discuss, then please get in touch at

Given the likely difficulties faced by researchers in conducting immediate exploration of ideas for the Strategic Fund, and to enable us to prioritise support for applicants and grant-holders in responding to the implications of pandemic, we will close applications for seed corn funding until further notice.

To receive the latest news on our Strategic Fund, please sign-up for updates.

Applications to the Oliver Bird Fund

Between 2019 – 2029, we are dedicating up to £12.5m on research into musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions.  We have made a number of grants from the first round of funding, the details of which can be found on the Oliver Bird Fund page.  The fund is currently closed to new applications and we are unlikely to have a second funding call during 2020.

Changes to our events programme

We have cancelled all events at the Nuffield Foundation until further notice. During this time, we will explore ways we can continue to convene our audiences, and to engage them with our work, without having face to face meetings and events.

Nuffield Research Placements, summer 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nuffield Research Placements will not take place in 2020. Instead, we are providing an exciting alternative, online only programme – Nuffield Future Researchers.

The Nuffield Future Researcher programme will provide a meaningful and rewarding research experience where students will develop essential science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills by working with a professional researcher on a live research question and embark on new and innovative ways of working within a virtual learning environment.

Applications are now closed for summer 2020. If you have applied for a Nuffield Research Placement in 2020 you will automatically be considered for the new programme. If you have any questions, please contact your local coordinator.

We are looking for employers who can provide supervised research projects for students to undertake independently. There are many benefits to providing a project – if you are interested please contact your local coordinator.

We are grateful to the following organisations for their support in Nuffield Future Researchers: British Science Association; BP – Business in the Community; Gatsby Foundation; National Numeracy; Q-Step universities; Skills Builder Partnership; and UKRI.