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Nuffield Foundation Strategic Fund in Focus

Al Innes, Research Development Officer writes about The Nuffield Foundation, a social wellbeing research funder and its £15-million Strategic Fund. Come to our funder workshop later this month to find out more.

The Nuffield Foundation funds a number of different areas of research. Most recently they were offering over £200,000 to Full Fact and the Institute for Fiscal Studies to support fact checking of the general election. More traditionally, they fund research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. It was with great optimism and much interest that Nuffield launched their Strategic Fund late last year. As an independent funder, Nuffield represent a chance for multidisciplinary research in the social policy and education space that is taking a new approach to funding streams.

The Strategic Fund

Nuffield first mooted they would be launching a Strategic Fund as far back as the launch of their 2017 Strategic Plan. When it launched in October 2019 it was aimed at “multidisciplinary projects with the potential for lasting and significant impact”, according to Nuffield Chief Executive, Tim Gardam. The core of the £15million Strategic Fund is intended to be spent across 2020 to 2022, with two deadlines per year.

It has also been paralleled, however, with a Seed Corn Fund with an open deadline. Gardam explained to Research Professional:

“We hope that allocating the odd £5,000 to, say, run a workshop or do some thinking or research means that the outline proposal, when it comes in, is the best version of itself. We included the seed corn funding because we thought the interesting ideas that we’re looking for may require a bit of extra work. It’s not essential to access the seed corn funding to apply for a larger Strategic Fund grant.”

The Strategic Fund itself is looking for applications of £1 million and 3 million. It is aimed not just at established academics, but to give opportunities to a new generation of research talent: as well as people in policy, practitioners in welfare, the voluntary sector, etc.

Workshop for researchers – 29 January 2020

If you are interested in applying to Nuffield Foundation schemes, not just their Strategic and Seed Corn grants, but also their Grants for research, development and analysis; I will be convening a workshop about the Nuffield Foundation, and their funding streams, on the 29th January 2020 – you can sign up here.

The Nuffield Foundation was established in 1943 by William Morris, Lord Nuffield, the founder of Morris Motor. They are the founders and co-funders of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory and the Ada Lovelace Institute.

About this author

Al Innes is a Research Development Officer in Edinburgh Research Office, University of Edinburgh.


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