We’re looking to fund a leadership team to act as a ‘hub’ to develop the UK’s national capability in behavioural research.
ESRC is inviting proposals to support the development of a National Capability for Behavioural Research. This will be part of a wider £15 million initial investment in this initiative over the next four to six years.
The overarching aim of the national capability is to harness, connect, and extend the UK’s existing capacity and capability to research fundamental questions about how and why people, organisations and groups behave in the way they do to inform policy and practice.
We take a broad definition of what ‘behavioural research’ encompasses which goes beyond individualistic approaches to behaviour change. We require a range of disciplinary perspectives to be involved in the investment. We expect understandings of behaviour to be situated within wider societal and economic contexts. Outputs from the investment should be targeted towards addressing major societal challenges.
National capability objectives
The key objectives of this national capability are to:
- facilitate evidence-based decision making through timely, high impact and independent research on human behaviour that meets the needs of policymakers, industry, and civil society
- enhance national capability by building a critical mass of researchers with the knowledge and skills to transform our understanding of human behaviour. Researchers may apply for a range of relevant methods such as data science, human-centred design, and experimental methods. This objective will be achieved in part by a Centre for Doctoral Training Plus (CDT+).
The ‘hub’ will sit at the heart of a ‘hub and spoke’ model and be complemented by a series of ‘spokes’ (or centres of excellence) that will be established to deliver key elements of the programme.
The interdisciplinary leadership team will be responsible for the core management and running of the ‘hub’. The ‘hub and spokes’ will be expected to work together to achieve the overarching ambition of the initiative.
The ‘hub’ does not need to be based in a single location, and therefore members of the leadership team do not need to be co-located.
Requirements for the ‘hub’ are likely to include:
- working across a diverse set of partners to co-create and promote a vision for behavioural research
- delivering a core research programme operating at the global frontier of research and methods
- providing agile funds for exemplar projects
- providing strategic direction by coordinating, connecting and facilitating across different stakeholders
- signposting and synthesising evidence for use in policy and practice
- promoting and maximising value from existing and novel data.
The full specification for the funding opportunity will be released in September 2022.
Specific requirements will be made available once the full opportunity is posted. Until that time, details are subject to change.