Each year we receive and evaluate around 1,500 applications for funding from a wide range of research organisations. The outcomes of our decision processes are a rich source of information, useful to ESRC, applicants and research organisations.

What we share

We make available data on the number of applications submitted by, and awards made to, each research organisation each financial year. We also include information on applications and awards based on ESRC disciplinary classifications over the same period. We do not share information on outcomes for individual applicants.

When we share it

We will report application and award data, and analyses of them, for full financial years (1 April – 31 March) by the middle of the calendar year following the end of the financial year. The most recent data set is below.

Detailed funding decisions are reported within a few weeks of the completion of the competition.

What it tells us

Application and award data contain useful information on demand, success rates and organisational or disciplinary behaviour.

For an overall summary, read our:

The key findings from the latest analysis are:

  • Application volumes, and demand for ESRC funding, fluctuate considerably across years, though they are in general reduced from their pre-2012-13 levels. The average number of funding decisions made per year over the last five financial years is around 1,400, but with a range of around ±200.
  • Success rates are, unsurprisingly, inversely related to demand for funding. 2016-17 saw a decrease in decision volumes, causing success rates to rise to about 24% from 2015-16's figure of 18%.
  • In general, median proposal sizes continue to increase across all areas of ESRC activity.
  • Few research organisations have success rates which differ meaningfully from the ESRC average, either within the 2016-17 year or across longer time periods.
  • Some disciplines appear to have success rates which are systematically lower than others, and some consistently outperform the rest, in the sense of having meaningfully higher success rates. But the great majority of proposals on which a decision was made related to disciplines which have success rates near the average.

We have also published analysis on: