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Funding

Strategic Fund and seed corn funding

Our Strategic Fund is a rare opportunity for researchers to develop original and challenging ideas, to work collaboratively across disciplines, and to influence social policy in a period of rapid change and uncertainty for our society.

Strategic Fund information


Through the Strategic Fund, we will make awards in the range of £1-3 million – increasing the scale, scope and influence of the research we fund. We encourage applications from universities, research institutes, think tanks and voluntary organisations. Our priorities are for multidisciplinary projects with the potential for lasting and significant impact. We will work with our grant-holders to make that happen.

Applications opened on 1 October 2019 and funding will be phased over two years, with applications accepted at any point during that time. We will have fixed points during this period for assessment and shortlisting of initial outline applications.

We encourage applications relating to a number of broad themes. These themes include the impact of digital technologies and the fourth industrial revolution, the future of education in a digitally-driven society, and interventions that might promote opportunity and reduce adversity at different life stages and between generations. Our listed themes are not exhaustive, and we welcome applications on other themes that align with our mission to advance social well-being.

We are looking for applications that demonstrate a rigorous approach to research while at the same time articulating distinctive questions that will connect with a range of audiences. We want to give opportunities to a new generation of the best research talent, to encourage innovative methods and involvement with people outside academic research in policy, frontline service delivery, and the voluntary sector.

If you are interested in applying to our Strategic Fund, you should first read the guide for applicants and check your eligibility online.

Before submitting an outline application, you must check that our Terms and Conditions are acceptable, both to you and your host institution.

Key dates


9 December 2019 Deadline for outline applications to be considered in the first funding round
6 April 2020 Deadline for full applications in the first Strategic Fund round
20 April 2020 Deadline for outline applications to be considered in the second funding round
Summer 2020 First round of awards from the Strategic Fund

Applications open for seed corn funding ongoing.

Please note that the timetable above is provisional. Subsequent 2020 and 2021 dates and funding rounds to be confirmed. For updates on the Strategic Fund, including key dates please register your interest.

Seed corn information


For applicants who want to do some initial exploration of ideas, we are also providing the opportunity to apply for seed corn funding, by which we are making available small grants of up to around £5,000. These grants might support some preliminary analysis or review work, or initial workshops to generate ideas and partnerships

Seed corn grants awarded Researcher Institution Topic
Citizenship in a networked age Dr Dominic Burbidge Canterbury Institute
The Center for a Better Web Alex Krasodomski-Jones Centre for the Analysis of Social Media, Demos
Referendums and political legitimacy: evidence from four European countries Dr Sergiu Gherghina University of Glasgow
Fostering multi-disciplinary approaches to evidence use across public services Cat Scutt Chartered College of Teaching
Improving the pathways for the uptake of robust evidence Prof. Stephen Gorard Durham University
The impact of audit institutions on public sector performance Dr Thomas Elston University of Oxford
Risk: Interconnecting risks of mental health problems in today’s young people Dr Julian Edbooke-Childs Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
Universities and national security: Research and policy collaborations Prof. Liam Francis Gearon University of Oxford
Technology facilitated domestic abuse: Towards multidisciplinary enquiry Prof. Elizabeth Yardley Birmingham City University
Investigating the impact of datafied child welfare services Dr Joanna Redden Cardiff University
What do we need to do outside school to improve outcomes and narrow the gap? Jon Andrews Education Policy Institute
Access to Advice: Size of the sector through secondary sources Lindsey Poole Advice Services Alliance
A social and data science approach to enhancing societal security Dr Susan Anson Trilateral Research
Delegation and acceptance of decisions taken by algorithms or by humans Dr Wolfgang Luhan University of Portsmouth
Exploring well-being and engagement with the hidden children’s workforce Dr Sarah Parry Manchester Metropolitan University
Equipping society to negotiate the basis for confidence in applications of data Tracey Brown Sense about Science
Trust and Climate Change: information for teaching in a digital age Dr Steven Puttick Department of Education
Social Policy and race equality – a risk-based approach Prof. Gargi Bhattacharyya School of Social Sciences
Transforming organisations from engines of inequality to incubators of inclusion Prof. Kim Peters University of Exeter
Digital Administrative Justice: Co-designing an Empirical Research Programme Dr Joe Tomlinson York Law School
Behind Closed Doors Dr Su Mcanelly Department of Nursing Midwifery and Health

Get started

Next outline application deadline:
20 April 2020
 “The Nuffield Foundation champions rigorous research that influences public policy and improves social well-being and individuals’ lives. We want to encourage really ambitious projects that require the perspectives of different academic disciplines to re-frame the social policy agenda in the next decade. As an independent funder, our strength lies in our ability to give talented thinkers the freedom to develop original research ideas.” Tim Gardam, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Foundation

Explore our projects

New

Welfare | 2020 – 2023

Public expenditure planning and control in complex times

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New

Education | 2020 – 2022

Comparisons of cognitive skills and educational attainment across the UK

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New

Education | 2020 – 2022

Competitive effects of free schools on student outcomes in neighbouring schools

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New

Welfare | 2020 – 2022

How UK welfare reform affects larger families

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New

Education | 2020 – 2022

Teacher supply, shortages and working conditions in England and Wales

View project
Teenage-pupil-wearing-woolly-hat-writes-on-whiteboard-The-influence-of-headteachers-on-their-schools-PROJ
New

Education | 2020 – 2022

The influence of headteachers on their schools

View project
Two young girls being taught fractions and decimals, learning from a school workbook together
New

Education | 2020 – 2021

Teaching fractions and decimals to children aged 3 to 11

View project
New

Education | Welfare | 2020 – 2020

Measuring the disadvantage attainment gap in 16-19 education

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Two teenage male pupils study a science lesson as part of their post-16 options
In progress

Education | 2019 – 2021

Post-16 pathways: the role of peers, family background and expectations

View project
man reading picture book to baby
New

Education | 2019 – 2022

Do infants learn new words from educational picture books?

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In progress

Education | 2019 – 2022

The SWAN game-based approach to learning foundational number language

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In progress

Justice | 2019 – 2022

Understanding criminogenic influences on youth offending

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New

Education | 2020 – 2022

Comparisons of cognitive skills and educational attainment across the UK

View project
New

Welfare | 2020 – 2023

Public expenditure planning and control in complex times

View project
Two young girls being taught fractions and decimals, learning from a school workbook together
New

Education | 2020 – 2021

Teaching fractions and decimals to children aged 3 to 11

View project
Teenage-pupil-wearing-woolly-hat-writes-on-whiteboard-The-influence-of-headteachers-on-their-schools-PROJ
New

Education | 2020 – 2022

The influence of headteachers on their schools

View project
Young-child-blurred-in-background-plays-with-abacus-in-foreground-Early-years-employment-pathways-PROJ
New

Education | 2019 – 2020

A systematic review of early years degrees and employment pathways

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New

Education | 2020 – 2022

Teacher supply, shortages and working conditions in England and Wales

View project
man reading picture book to baby
New

Education | 2019 – 2022

Do infants learn new words from educational picture books?

View project
New

Welfare | 2020 – 2022

How UK welfare reform affects larger families

View project
New

Education | 2020 – 2022

Competitive effects of free schools on student outcomes in neighbouring schools

View project
New

Education | Welfare | 2020 – 2020

Measuring the disadvantage attainment gap in 16-19 education

View project
Two teenage male pupils study a science lesson as part of their post-16 options
In progress

Education | 2019 – 2021

Post-16 pathways: the role of peers, family background and expectations

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 – 2020

Education priorities in a forthcoming general election

View project
New

Welfare | 2020 – 2023

Public expenditure planning and control in complex times

View project
New

Education | 2020 – 2022

Comparisons of cognitive skills and educational attainment across the UK

View project
New

Education | 2020 – 2022

Competitive effects of free schools on student outcomes in neighbouring schools

View project
New

Welfare | 2020 – 2022

How UK welfare reform affects larger families

View project
New

Education | 2020 – 2022

Teacher supply, shortages and working conditions in England and Wales

View project
Teenage-pupil-wearing-woolly-hat-writes-on-whiteboard-The-influence-of-headteachers-on-their-schools-PROJ
New

Education | 2020 – 2022

The influence of headteachers on their schools

View project
Two young girls being taught fractions and decimals, learning from a school workbook together
New

Education | 2020 – 2021

Teaching fractions and decimals to children aged 3 to 11

View project
New

Education | Welfare | 2020 – 2020

Measuring the disadvantage attainment gap in 16-19 education

View project
Two teenage male pupils study a science lesson as part of their post-16 options
In progress

Education | 2019 – 2021

Post-16 pathways: the role of peers, family background and expectations

View project
In progress

Welfare | 2019 – 2022

Ethnic inequalities in later life

View project
man reading picture book to baby
New

Education | 2019 – 2022

Do infants learn new words from educational picture books?

View project
In progress

Education | 2019 – 2022

The SWAN game-based approach to learning foundational number language

View project
Maths resit students taking exam
Reported

Education | 2019 – 2020

A new mathematics GCSE curriculum for post-16 resit students

View project
Reported

Education | 2018 – 2018

GCSE and A-level results day project

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Reported

Welfare | 2018 – 2018

Interdisciplinary conference on evidence use in policy

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Reported

Welfare | 2018 – 2018

Council tax support schemes’ impact on claimants & local authorities

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Reported

Welfare | 2018 – 2018

Improving survey representation of non-resident parents

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Reported

Education | 2018 – 2019

Developing a sustainable intervention for disadvantaged children

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Reported

Education | 2017 – 2018

Growing up digital

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Reported

Justice | Welfare | 2017 – 2018

Addressing the ‘care cases’ crisis: a sector-led review

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Reported

Justice | 2017 – 2019

Immigration judicial reviews

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Reported

Welfare | 2017 – 2018

Vulnerable migrants and well-being: A pilot study

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Reported

Welfare | 2017 – 2018

Benchmarking transparency in government’s use of evidence

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Reported

Welfare | 2017 – 2017

General Election 2017

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