The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (RISTEX) of Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), are pleased to announce a joint call for proposals exploring the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies on society and the economy. The call is now open and the deadline for applications is 17 July 2019. Successful awards will be announced in November 2019 and will be expected to begin in January 2020.

The total UK budget for this call is £2 million. UK applicants may request between £360,000-£500,000 (100% fEC) per project. If successful, UKRI will meet 80% of the full economic costs and the host institution is expected to support the remaining 20%. The total Japanese budget for this call is ¥180m. Japanese applicants may request up to ¥30m per project. Together we expect to fund between five and seven joint proposals for a period of three years. 

Please note that proposals will be funded under this call subject to the UK funding being secured from the Fund for International Collaboration.

Scope of the call

This call aims to foster collaboration between UK and Japanese social science, arts and humanities researchers around the theme of Artificial Intelligence and its impact on society. The call aims to promote interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and to position the social sciences, arts and humanities as an integral part of the process for developing and exploring AI systems, and ensuring that those systems provide the greatest benefit to people and societies. Ultimately, the call aims to contribute towards the development of a platform for effective and sustained dialogue and engagement between a range of researchers and other relevant stakeholders, eventually leading to practical implementation and policy recommendations.

Thematic areas

Thematic areas for the call are listed below and further details will be available in the call specification once the call is formally launched:

  • Impacts on humans and society
  • Economic implications, skills, work and education
  • Transparency, responsibility, governance and ethics.

Proposals are encouraged to use following approach to explore the themes:

  • Interdisciplinary approach exploring how to co-design the research with different disciplines within and beyond the social sciences, arts and humanities.
  • Collaboration with non-academic stakeholders such as policy makers, public, third sector and business
  • Comparative research looking at key similarities but also differences in the context of Japan and the UK
  • Use of innovative research design and methods.

Application process

Please note that applicants must submit two separate proposals per application. The UK proposal should be submitted via UKRI’s Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system and should detail all UK costs associated with the joint project. The Japanese proposal should be submitted via JST-RISTEX’s submission system and should detail all Japanese costs associated with the joint project. 

Detailed guidance on the UK submission is provided in the Je-S guidance notes (see link below). For further details on the Japanese submission please see the call page from JST-RISTEX or contact them at r-ecosystem@jst.go.jp

Eligibility

The call invites collaborative projects between Japan and UK researchers. A proposal should have a lead partner from each country. The lead partner from the UK should be listed as the PI on the UK submission and must be based at an eligible research organisation for UKRI funding

Call documents

Key dates

  • Call for proposal opens - 8 May 2019
  • Closing date for proposals:     
    • Submission to UKRI - 16:00 UK time on 17 July 2019
    • Submission to JST-RISTEX - 12:00 noon Japan time on 17 July 2019
  • Commissioning panel meeting - October 2019
  • Decision announced - November 2019
  • Grants start - 1-31 January 2020