Deadline for expressions of interest is 16:00 on 15 November 2019, and deadline for outline proposals is 16:00 on 12 December 2019.

ESRC, on behalf of UKRI ISCF, is pleased to announce a call for proposals for a Social Science Hub+ as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Digital Security by Design challenge. The DSbD challenge aims to overcome existing market failures and radically update the foundation of the insecure digital computing infrastructure that currently underpins the global economy.

Funding available of up to £3 million is available (80% FEC UKRI contribution for the main hub, and 100% FEC for the devolved research budget), to end by March 2024.

ESRC is inviting applications from small teams to lead a social sciences-focused Hub+. The Hub+ is expected to develop a multidisciplinary network of academics and stakeholders seeking to understand the behavioural and adoption challenges in digital security, to investigate what it means to be secure and the commercial challenges of moving beyond the current security paradigms. It will have a devolved small project research budget to fund commercially-focused social science research on barriers to adoption.

The scope of the broader challenge includes implementation, verification and proof of an updated hardware architecture, development of the software and system development tools that will run on it, and demonstration in at least two industry domains. More information is available on the Digital Security by Design page, while a related call focusing on the technical challenges was issued by EPSRC: ISCF Digital Security by Design Research Projects.

Initial expressions of interest to state your interest in applying for this call should be submitted to, to be followed by an outline proposal submitted through Je-S. Please note the EoI is not for assessment purposes – it is intended to assist ESRC in planning potential engagement events, peer review and panel arrangements.  Further information on the call and how to submit a proposal can be found in the call guidance documents below:

ISCF DSbD Call Specification (PDF, 307Kb)

ISCF DSbD Je-S Guidance (PDF, 331Kb)

Video presentations and talks from two collaborator workshops (26 September and 22 November 2019) are available.

Commissioning timetable

  • Call opens 15th October 2019
  • Deadline for Expressions of Interest 15 November 2019
  • Deadline for Outline Proposal 12 December 2019
  • Invitation to submit Full Bid 30 January 2020
  • Deadline for full proposal 26 March 2020
  • PI responses to Peer review – 11 May 2020
  • Interview panel 28 May 2020
  • Confirm Award Week of 8 June
  • Start no later than 8 September 2020