We are delighted to announce that we will be investing £2.8m in the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) over 5 years until 2024. Continuing into a new phase, the principal aim of the Centre will be to increase research methods capability in the social sciences and beyond through innovative training and capacity-building activities in the application of core and advanced research methods techniques.

The Centre will be responsible for the co-ordination of methods training funded by ESRC across its portfolio, acting as the first point of contact for social scientists seeking further information and training on research methods. It will also identify and share good practice and deliver a comprehensive programme of cutting-edge research methods training across the UK. This will be informed by an analysis of the training landscape and close engagement with key stakeholders with an interest in this area from within academia as well as business, government and the voluntary sector.

NCRM is delivered through a partnership of three internationally leading centres of methodological excellence: The Universities of Southampton, Manchester and Edinburgh. This partnership will be significantly enhanced and expanded to include strategically selected Centre partner institutions who will deliver training locally to ensure geographical and subject expertise diversity. The nine institutions are UCL, NatCen, WISERD, Bristol, Exeter, Essex, Leeds, Liverpool and Glasgow.

This new phase of funding for NCRM is part of ESRC’s ongoing commitment to methodological training and development in the social sciences. In addition, we will be announcing a new call in early 2020 for small development grants which seek to develop and facilitate new partnerships to address emerging methodological challenges in the social sciences. We expect bids to have cross-sectoral partnerships or demonstrate collaboration with researchers outside the social sciences.

These small development grants will be followed by a further open call which will fund larger, substantive methodological research projects. Details of this call will be released in late 2021/early 2022.