Funding

Strategic Fund

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 2019Deadline for outline applications to be considered in the first funding round
29 June 2020Deadline for outline applications to be considered in the second funding round
Summer 2020First round of awards from the Strategic Fund

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


In the run-up to the deadline for the first round of applications to our Strategic Fund, we made a series of seed corn grants for applicants to do some initial exploration of ideas. Given the likely difficulties faced by researchers in conducting such exploration during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to enable us to prioritise support for applicants and grant-holders in responding to the implications of the pandemic for their work, we have closed applications for seed corn funding until further notice.

Seed corn grants awardedResearcherInstitutionTopic
Citizenship in a networked ageDr Dominic BurbidgeCanterbury Institute
The Center for a Better WebAlex Krasodomski-JonesCentre for the Analysis of Social Media, Demos
Referendums and political legitimacy: evidence from four European countriesDr Sergiu GherghinaUniversity of Glasgow
Fostering multi-disciplinary approaches to evidence use across public servicesCat ScuttChartered College of Teaching
Improving the pathways for the uptake of robust evidenceProf. Stephen GorardDurham University
The impact of audit institutions on public sector performanceDr Thomas ElstonUniversity of Oxford
Risk: Interconnecting risks of mental health problems in today’s young peopleDr Julian Edbooke-ChildsAnna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
Universities and national security: Research and policy collaborationsProf. Liam Francis GearonUniversity of Oxford
Technology facilitated domestic abuse: Towards multidisciplinary enquiryProf. Elizabeth YardleyBirmingham City University
Investigating the impact of datafied child welfare servicesDr Joanna ReddenCardiff University
What do we need to do outside school to improve outcomes and narrow the gap?Jon AndrewsEducation Policy Institute
Access to advice: Size of the sector through secondary sourcesLindsey PooleAdvice Services Alliance
A social and data science approach to enhancing societal securityDr Susan AnsonTrilateral Research
Delegation and acceptance of decisions taken by algorithms or by humansDr Wolfgang LuhanUniversity of Portsmouth
Exploring well-being and engagement with the hidden children’s workforceDr Sarah ParryManchester Metropolitan University
Equipping society to negotiate the basis for confidence in applications of dataTracey BrownSense about Science
Trust and climate change: information for teaching in a digital ageDr Steven PuttickDepartment of Education
Social policy and race equality – a risk-based approachProf. Gargi BhattacharyyaSchool of Social Sciences
Transforming organisations from engines of inequality to incubators of inclusionProf. Kim PetersUniversity of Exeter
Digital administrative justice: co-designing an empirical research programmeDr Joe TomlinsonYork Law School
Behind closed doorsDr Su McanellyDepartment of Nursing Midwifery and Health

Get started

Next outline application deadline:
TBC
 “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

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Welfare | 2020 – 2022

Vulnerability, migration and well-being: experiences, perceptions and barriers

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Welfare | 2020 – 2021

How the COVID-19 crisis is affecting food security

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Education | 2020 – 2020

The impact of COVID-19 on mainstream schools in England

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The ‘common elements’ approach: improving outcomes in early childhood education

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Welfare | 2020 – 2022

Older people in England: the geography of challenges and opportunities

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

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Welfare | 2020 – 2022

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Justice | 2020 – 2021

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Older-man-reads-textbook-Assembling-data-jigsaw-Greater-Manchester-PROJ
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Welfare | 2020 – 2024

Assembling the data jigsaw: powering robust population research in MSK disease

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Medical-professional-massages-patient-knee-Understanding-joint-replacement-surgery-decision-making-for-older-patients-PROJ
In progress

Welfare | 2020 – 2023

Supporting older patients to make informed decisions about knee surgery

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Woman-medical-professional-treats-patient-impact-MSK-conditions-outcomes-other-illnesses-PROJ
In progress

Welfare | 2020 – 2022

The impact of musculoskeletal conditions on outcomes of other illnesses

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Female-nurse-sees-patient-in-office-Integrating-enriched-longitudinal-data-North-Staffordshire-Stoke-on-Trent-PROJ
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Welfare | 2020 – 2025

Enriched data integration for population musculoskeletal health intelligence

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Older-man-and-woman-walk-together-Geographical-mapping-prevalence-outcomes-MSK-conditions-Wales-Scotland-PROJ
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Welfare | 2020 – 2022

Mapping rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease in Scotland and Wales

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Welfare | 2020 – 2022

Older people in England: the geography of challenges and opportunities

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Education | 2020 – 2021

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Valuing data: foundations for data policy

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Welfare | 2019 – 2020

Revaluation and reform: bringing council tax into the 21st century

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Education | 2019 – 2020

A new mathematics GCSE curriculum for post-16 resit students

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Atlas of inequality: understanding the local nature of a global phenomenon

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Teaching reading: an integrated programme for deaf & hearing children

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Overview of the major ethical issues arising from data, algorithms and AI

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Justice | Welfare | 2018 – 2019

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Education | 2018 – 2019

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Improving survey representation of non-resident parents

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Welfare | 2018 – 2018

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Profile

COVID-19 response

Nuffield-funded social scientists are conducting COVID-19 research in real-time, to capture people’s experiences of the social, cultural and economic impacts of the pandemic.