We are pleased to announce the call for proposals for Trust and Global Governance Large Grants. Trust and global governance in a turbulent age is one of our seven key research priorities and we will be investing £5 million to take forward this exciting research agenda. We expect to fund two or three large grants under this theme.

These large grants will represent a major ESRC strategic investment. We are looking for innovative and methodologically ambitious proposals that link foundational research on the nature and dynamics of trust and trustworthiness, with new empirical research on the relationship between trust and global governance. We actively encourage proposals characterised by interdisciplinarity both within and beyond the social sciences, and would particularly welcome proposals that include a significant international comparative component.

Four priority areas for research have been identified under this call. Whilst proposals may exclusively focus on one area, we would strongly encourage applicants to explore a range of questions within and between each of these cross-cutting priority areas:

  • Trust in a world of inequalities
  • Trust and the future of democracy
  • Identity, community, and the social and psychological foundations of trust
  • Trust, ethics and international security


In November 2017 we held an expert workshop to explore issues of trust and the consequences for global governance in more detail. The workshop confirmed that the contemporary dynamics of trust and its connections to global governance is ripe for further research.

How to apply

All proposals to this call must be between £1 million and £2.5 million at 100% fEC (with the ESRC contributing 80% fEC). Successful grants should start from 1 March 2019 for a period of 36-60 months. 

Proposals must be led by a researcher at an eligible UK research organisation, and will need to be submitted through the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system no later than 16:00 on 28 June 2018.

There are no demand management measures in place for the Trust and Global Governance Large Grants call.

Assessment process

Applications will be assessed by at least three expert academic peer reviewers. Applicants will have the opportunity to respond to anonymised reviewer comments before proposals of sufficient quality are considered by a commissioning panel and funding recommendations are made.

Call documents


  • Closing date for proposals - 16:00 on 28 June 2018
  • Peer review - July-September 2018
  • PI response - October 2018
  • Commissioning Panel meeting - November 2018
  • Decisions to applicants - December 2018
  • Grant start date - 1 March 2019