This week ESRC launches a new £2m research methods development grants call to address methodological challenges in the social sciences.

Maintaining our prominent global position in social science research methods is critical if we are to respond effectively to 21st century challenges, particularly in an increasingly digital society. This evolving research landscape necessitates further methodological innovation and development with major scientific discoveries likely to develop at the intersections between disciplinary and professional boundaries. The social science community needs to be appropriately skilled to work in this highly interdisciplinary environment and across sectors.

As a lead funder of social science research, ESRC continues to have a key role in developing the capabilities needed.  Our ongoing commitment to methodological training and development in the social sciences is highlighted in our Delivery Plan and we continue to make targeted investments in this area. In January 2020 we announced a further five years of funding for the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) and this new call represents an opportunity to develop the exploratory and incremental steps needed to advance methodological challenges and ideas.

Additionally, a later call is anticipated in late 2021/early 2022 which will fund larger, substantive methodological research projects. Collectively, these two calls offer a route through which researchers can continue to gain support in addressing current and future methodological priorities.

Beyond these new calls, applications for methodological research are always welcome via our responsive mode schemes. Our commitment to methods can also be seen through ongoing strategic investment within our Research Centres and Data and Infrastructure portfolio.