This call is now closed. The following is for information only.

ESRC, in collaboration with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), is pleased to invite proposals for new research grants that qualify for funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). This call aims to fund a portfolio of innovative and interdisciplinary research that provides social and cultural perspectives on mental, neurological, and substance use (MNS) disorders in developing countries.

GCRF is a £1.5 billion funding stream to support cutting-edge research which addresses the problems faced by developing countries. GCRF forms part of the UK's Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment, and as such funding under this call will be awarded in a manner consistent with official ODA guidelines

Funding is available for applications which fall under the remit of ESRC, or as cross-disciplinary proposals across the remits of both participating research councils. The ESRC has a total budget of £4 million allocated to this call. In addition, AHRC will make funds available for interdisciplinary projects which fall significantly within their remit. The councils expect to fund a balanced portfolio of proposals of varying sizes and ambitions, with a maximum grant value of £1.25 million at 100% full Economic Cost (fEC). The research councils will contribute 80% fEC on successful proposals. It is expected that the portfolio will include grants which are significantly smaller than the maximum value.

Proposals are invited for research grants of durations up to 30 months. Proposals must be led by a researcher at an eligible UK research organisation and should be submitted through the research councils’ Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

Thematic focus 

Proposals should address one of the following themes:

  • Socio-economic and cultural contexts of MNS disorders and people’s understanding of them
  • Living with MNS disorders in developing countries
  • Prevention, worsening of and resilience against MNS disorders

Further information on the themes can be found within the call specification.

How to apply

All proposals must be submitted through the Je-S system by 16:00 on 11 January 2018. Detailed guidance about how to apply is provided in the guidance below.

Standard ESRC eligibility rules apply. See the list of eligible organisations (external website).

Call documents

The call documents below have been amended to reflect changes to the international co-investigator costing policy.


  • Deadline for submitting full proposals - 16:00 on 11 January 2018
  • Panel meeting - 3 May 2018
  • Decisions to applicants - late May 2018
  • Start date for successful proposals - 1 September 2018