Research Funding Spectrum Widens: Innovative Research Projects Backed by Diverse Funders

A recent series of grants awarded to Social Sciences projects showcases a remarkable diversity of potential new funders. The awarded projects, spanning various disciplines like economics, and digital news research, have attracted support from a range of organisations including Google, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

Recently funded projects include:

  • Stefan Dercon's (Professor Of Economic Policy, Blavatnik School of Government) project examining African governance received a combined $1 million from the Open Society FoundationPolicy Group at the Centre for the Study of African Economies, and the Blavatnik School of Government. This collaboration between diverse entities underscores the potential for synergy across sectors.
  • Noam Angrist's (Academic Director of the What Works Hub for Global Education, Blavatnik School of Government) research on measuring the impact of interventions received a $1.98 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, showcasing the involvement of philanthropic organisations tackling global challenges.
  • Anders Kock's (Professor of Economics, Department of Economics) project on hypothesis testing secured a £1.3 million grant from the European Research Council (ERC), demonstrating the continued role of traditional funding bodies in supporting innovative research.
  • Federica Genovese's (Professor of Political Science and International Relations, DPIR) work on climate vulnerability received £910k from the Leverhulme Trust, emphasising the crucial role of SHAPE-focused funders in addressing pressing environmental issues.
  • Rasmus Nielsen's (Professor of Political Communication, Department of Politics and International Relations, and Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism) research on digital news, supported by both Google (£1.53 million) and the Laudes Foundation (£1 million), exemplifies the collaboration between industry and philanthropy in tackling contemporary challenges.

Heather Viles, Associate Head (Research) Social Sciences Division, shared her congratulations saying, ‘It is great to see these successes, which illustrate the hard work social science researchers put into making excellent grant applications.’

Looking Ahead: A Brighter Future for Research Funding

This diversification of funding sources brings several advantages to both our departments and the division. It broadens the range of research questions tackled, fosters interdisciplinary collaboration, and reduces dependence on any single funding stream. This, in turn, leads to increased research autonomy and potentially ground-breaking discoveries. It also presents a crucial opportunity for us to explore the research areas these funders, such as trusts and foundations, are investing in, reconsider how funding applications are presented, and be mindful of the research taking place across the division that could be of interest to them.

By celebrating these awards and recognising the evolving funding landscape, we can continue to pave the way for a more vibrant and impactful research ecosystem, one that benefits both academia and society.

Find out more

If you are interested in reaching more diverse funders, the Research, Impact, and Engagement team can support you. Get in touch with your Departmental Research Facilitator to discuss your ideas.