Applying to take part in the Festival

How do I apply for funding?
First check to see if your HEI is one of our partners. If so, you will need to apply directly to them. If not, you can apply online via our website once the call is open.

What is the difference between sponsored and non-sponsored events?
A sponsored event is where you apply for financial support for your event (up to the maximum of £1,000) from ESRC. An unsponsored event is where you apply to be part of the Festival with access to Festival branding and our support, but your event is fully funded by an alternative source.

How much can I apply for?
The maximum you can apply for is £1,000 towards the cost of running your event. Applications requesting more than this will not be considered.

What are eligible costs?
You can apply for a maximum of £1,000 to contribute to the cost of running your event. This can be for things like materials, printing, venue hire, transport and refreshments. We will not cover the cost of overseas travel, alcohol or food for events of half a day or less (tea, coffee and biscuits are acceptable).

Can I apply to run an event with a collaborator/partner?
Yes. You should include details of any committed collaborators/partners in your application. 

I am not an ESRC-funded researcher, can I still apply for funding?
Yes. Your event will need to include social science research and at least one social science researcher. We may be able to help you contact a researcher relevant to your event.

Are there things that I can't apply for to be covered by the funding?
We will not cover:

  • the cost of food for half-day events (only light refreshments can be covered, for example tea, coffee, juice and biscuits/cake)
  • alcohol for any events
  • goodie bags or giveaways such as pens or notepads
  • overseas travel (except in exceptional circumstances)
  • accommodation (except in exceptional circumstances)
  • payments to staff.

What happens next?

What happens if I am awarded funding?
If your application is successful you will receive an email advising you of the funding awarded. Where this is lower than your requested amount a reason will be given.

I have received a conditional offer, what is this?
This occurs when the panel assessing your application feel that the general idea is sound, but want clearer information on one or more aspects of your application, before confirming funding. However, you will be given an idea of how much funding is being offered. Once you have responded to the queries a confirmation of your award will be sent to you.

What happens if I am unsuccessful in being awarded funding?
You will receive a letter explaining why your application was not successful. You will also be offered the chance to still participate in the Festival if you are able to fund your event via other sources.

What are the next steps?
Once you have received confirmation of your participation in the Festival, either funded or unfunded, you will be sent a link to an online details and materials form. This is where we ask you to provide the final information for your event. It is very important that you complete this form before the deadline given, as failure to do so will exclude you from our printed brochure and could affect payment of any funds awarded to you.

Please add to your safe senders list to avoid important updates and information going to your spam.

Publicising your event

What publicity does ESRC do for the Festival and for my event?
We will promote the Festival and your event on our website, which is publicly available. We press release the Festival, along with a selection of events, but we are unable to cover all events, so please work with your in-house  communications team.

We also use social media (Facebook and Twitter) so please use our hashtag #ESRCFestival in any tweets you send and we will retweet as many as possible.

Your event will be included in our printed programme, which is sent to you and all other organisers to circulate in your local area.

Please ensure you do your own promotion in the local area to groups or parties that you feel would be interested in your event.

There is further guidance on advertising your event in our organisers' guide.

I have had to change the date/time/location of my event. What do I do?
Provided that your event still falls within the Festival week, this will not be a problem. Just notify us at as soon as possible, so that we can amend the brochure (if it has not gone to print) and our online programme of events.

When will I receive copies of the programme and posters to circulate?
Your confirmation letter will advise you of the timelines and deadlines for this year. However, as a general guide we aim to send them out by early September.

Materials for your event

When will I receive the evaluation forms, banner and other items?
These are usually sent two weeks before the event to the address you have provided on your details and materials form. An email will be sent confirming the despatch, so please ensure that  is added to your safe senders. A checklist will be included showing what should be in your pack. If anything is missing please call us on 01793 413068 or email so that we can rectify this.

I have not received my materials yet
If you have not received them a week before your event, please call us on 01793 413068 or email  so that we can advise further or arrange replacements.

Can I amend the evaluation form?
No. The evaluation forms must not be amended as they are calibrated to a scanner which reads the results. Altering the form will lead to it being unreadable.

After your event

Where do I return the evaluation forms and banners to?
These should be returned to: Sue Haydock, Festival Manager, ESRC, Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon, Wiltshire SN2 1UJ. A returns label will be included in your materials pack.

Do I need to provide a detailed breakdown of costs on my invoice?
No, you only need to ensure that your invoice includes our purchase order number (which will be provided before the Festival) and the total expenditure, up to the agreed funding limit. You will need to retain details of the individual costs in case of any queries during auditing.

I was awarded funding but have not received my purchase order.
If you or the person you nominated to process the finances has not received a purchase order by the start of the Festival, please contact  (quoting your event title and reference number) and we will be able to supply the PO number or advise of any issues. Once you have the PO number, invoices and queries relating to payment, should be referred to