ESRC intends to fund new research projects as part of the UK Research and Innovation response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Proposals are invited for short to medium-term economic and social research activity aimed at addressing and mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Proposals can be received under this call at any time and will be assessed on a rolling basis. Full details on how to apply, including links to a short application form, can be found at:

Proposals will be accepted from anyone who is normally eligible to apply for ESRC funding.

The role of the economic and social sciences

The impact of COVID-19 is vast and varied, complex and evolving. From major disruptions to the global economy through to the dislocation of normal personal relationships, no country, business, community, family or individual has escaped its impacts. In addition to the direct health impacts of the virus, the economic, social, demographic, environmental, psychological, behavioural, political and institutional responses to, and consequences of, the pandemic have been, and will continue to be, profound. The social sciences, individually or working with other disciplines, have a key role to play in understanding, addressing and mitigating the unfolding impacts of the pandemic.

The need for new research

ESRC is looking to fund new research projects and related data collection of up to 18 months duration which will extend the evidence base and make a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, COVID-19 and its impacts. These projects will address fundamental gaps in our knowledge and provide practical evidence that could be of use in considering ways of responding to or mitigating the pandemic and its impacts, with a strong emphasis on producing findings that can be used during the research as well as on its completion.

The focus of this call is set very much in the context of the national response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We do however see value in international comparative research which provides understanding of different responses to and ways of mitigating the impacts of the pandemic. However, the research must be directly relevant to the UK.

We welcome applications on any topics which can provide new and policy-relevant insights into the impacts of the pandemic.  Please note there is a further call under the UKRI/Department of Health and Social Care COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiativespecifically focussed on proposals with potential to directly deliver a public health impact in the next twelve months.  This includes projects with a social science focus.  Applicants whose proposals have a strong public health focus should consider applying under the UKRI/DHSC call.

Please ensure you are fully familiar with the details of the UKRI call, as set out here, before applying.

Application outcomes

Our aim is to ensure that, in most circumstances, applicants receive feedback on their applications within ten working days of submission.

Requests to switch existing ESRC award funding to address Covid-19 research priorities

UKRI has put in place a process to allow researchers to propose repurposing existing ESRC award funding to address COVID-19 research priorities. For further details go to

Contact details

For further details contact: