Applicants are now able to identify relevant public and sector engagement activities in the classification of proposals. The qualifiers identify focus, other than Research Area, (disciplinary or subject area) and are grouped under the following headings:

  • Public engagement methodology
  • Public engagement audience
  • Project engagement by sector

You may select as many qualifiers as are relevant to your proposal. This will enable us to gain a more detailed understanding of your research proposal and associated engagement activities.

The list below highlights the research areas that fall within ESRC's remit by subject (bold) and then by topic (bulleted).

Demography and human geography

  • Demography
  • Human geography

Development studies

  • Area and development studies


  • Economics


  • Economic and social history


  • Education

Environmental planning

  • Environmental planning


  • Applied linguistics
  • Comput./corpus linguistics
  • Phonetics
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Languages and linguistics
  • Linguistics (general)**

Management and business studies*

  • Management and business studies

Political science and international studies*

  • International studies and relations
  • Political science


  • Psychology

Social anthropology

  • Social anthropology

Social policy

  • Social policy

Social work

  • Social work


  • Science and technology studies
  • Sociology

Law and legal studies*

  • Socio legal studies

Tools, technologies and methods*

  • Social statistics, methods and computing

* These subject choices include other research topic areas that fall outside of ESRC's remit. It is essential that your primary research topic area is in the social sciences. We strongly encourage inter/multidisciplinary working both within and beyond the social sciences, as long as at least 50 per cent of the proposed programme of research is within ESRC's remit.

** Linguistics (general)- this option should only be selected as the primary research topic area in cases where at least 50 per cent of the proposed programme of research is within ESRC's remit, but does not necessarily fall exclusively in one of the other Linguistic research areas. In all cases other topic areas can be chosen as secondary research areas.

The full list of research areas is available through the Research Councils' Joint Electronic Submissions system (Je-S).

If you are unsure whether your research is suitable for ESRC funding please refer to the UK Research and Innovation areas of research guidance (external website).

If you require further assistance please email