School of Social and Political Science

ESRC New Investigator grants


The ESRC New Investigator grant scheme is to support early career researchers in their transition to becoming an independent researcher.

The call is open to high-quality candidates who are at an early stage in their research career. The scheme is designed to allow newer researchers to gain experience of research leadership and management and to formulate their plans for their research careers. Applicants who technically meet the eligibility criteria but hold a professorship will not be eligible to apply as there is an expectation that they have already obtained these research and management skills.

Grants will usually be between two and three year’s duration and within an overall limit of £300,000 (100% full economic cost).

The ESRC plans to fund up to around 30-35 grants a year.

For more information on the scheme, please visit the ESRC website.

Points to note

The New Investigator Grant is for early career researchers who have an established publication track record and who are at a point in their career where they are looking to step forward and lead a research project. In acknowledgement of this, the School requires applicants to have at least two peer-reviewed academic publications which are deemed of high quality, and which they had a leading role. If you would like further guidance on whether your CV and publication track record is suitable for this scheme, please speak to your mentor in the first instance and/or your subject area Research Convener.

Application process

The ESRC expects to see only a limited number of proposals from a single research organisation, and these must be of the very best quality. Therefore all applications will be put through an internal review process at both School and College level and only a limited amount of applications will be allowed to be submitted to the ESRC.

SPS has three deadlines annually. In 2021/22 the next three deadlines are:

  • 29th November 2021
  • 19th April 2022
  • 16th August 2022

SPS requires a mentor (SPS core staff) for all early-career fellowships. In order to apply, you must first identify, contact and have an agreed mentor for your proposed project application. The project must have Head of Subject Area approval, your mentor can help to obtain this before submitting your application to the School.

Please sent your completed Joint electronic submission form (Je-S - electronic grant services, you will need to register), Case for Support (6 pages, Arial 11 minimum and 2 cm margins for all documents), Eligibility and Career Develpoment Plan (2 pages), CV (2 Pages) and brief statement from your mentor (1 page) to Please note, no budget information is required for the SSPS panel round.

The comments will be provided within a few weeks of the above deadlines to support further development of successful proposals.

There will also be a comprehensive review at College level on the final draft of the application. This will take into account the School's view on the quality of the application as well as how the feedback from the initial School panel has been integrated into the final draft application. The College panel aims to notify applicants of their decision with 10 working days but please be advised that further review may be required. It is recommended that the applicant plan for College panel review about 3-4 weeks before final intended submission date to the funder.

If you plan to apply for this scheme and would like to get extra comments or discuss your project in more details, please feel free to submit 1 page summary of your application alongside your CV at any time to