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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.

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.

For applicants who want to do some initial exploration of ideas, we are also providing the opportunity to apply for seed corn funding.

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

Key dates


20 August 2019 Applications open for seed corn funding
1 October 2019 Applications open for submission of outline applications to the Strategic Fund
9 December 2019 Deadline for outline applications to be considered in the first funding 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

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 grants awarded


Project title  Researcher Institution
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

Get started

Applications are now open!

Application deadline is:
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

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