Strategic Fund, including seed corn funding

We are calling for applications to our new £15m Strategic Fund for ambitious, interdisciplinary research projects that will address some of the most important challenges facing UK society and the public policy agenda in the next decade.

This 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.

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.

Phased applications and seed corn funding

Applications for the Strategic Fund are now open. Before applying please read the Strategic Fund guide for applicants and terms and conditions

We will phase funding 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.

The deadline for outline applications to be considered in the first funding round will be 9 December 2019.

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

Strategic Fund themes

We encourage applications relating to a number of broad themes, set out in our call for applications. 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.

Guidance for applicants

If you are interested in applying to our Strategic Fund, you should first read the call for applications, and then register your interest to receive email updates and reminders about key dates and other information, including publication of full guidance for applicants in September. 


20 Aug 2019

Applications open for seed corn funding

Sept 2019

Full guidance published for applicants to the Strategic Fund

1 Oct 2019

Applications open for submission of outline applications to the Strategic Fund

9 Dec 2019

Deadline for outline applications to be considered in the first funding round 

Spring 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.