Each funder has different funding priorities and objectives. The information below should provide you with some indication of where to find out about the funding priorities of the main research funders. Click on the links to find out more information. For each funder, check the eligibility criteria for each specific call or scheme.

British Academy:

Details about the British Academy objectives for funding can be found here.

These objectives state: “The Academy's research funding strategy is focused on providing support for individuals through the award of Fellowships and small-scale grant funding. Its aim is to foster high-quality research and to help develop research capacity through a framework of responsive-mode programmes.”

Leverhulme Trust:

For further information see “Our Approach to Grant Making” which is accessible here. This includes information about the criteria used by the trust to assess applications.

The first set of criteria are:

“Originality—the research achieves more than the incremental development of a single discipline 
Importance—the work will enable further research or enquiry
Significance—the proposed research has relevance outside a single field, and is able to excite those working in other disciplines
Merit—the quality of the research design and methodology, and the suitability of the researchers and institution for the realisation of the proposed research objectives.”

The second set of criteria relate to the values of the Trust. They state that they welcome applications which:

“Reflect an individual’s personal vision, aspiration, or intellectual curiosity
Take appropriate risks in setting and pursuing research objectives
Enable a refreshing departure from established patterns of working – either for the individual, or for the discipline
Transcend disciplinary boundaries.”

Nuffield Foundation:

The Law in Society grants pages have information about the foundation’s priorities specifically relating to this scheme. 

This states: “We are interested in how law functions in society, and in law as a social institution. We currently have four substantive areas of interest: family justice;administrative justicemental disability and other vulnerabilities; and wider legal system design.”

More information about each of the areas mentioned can be found by clicking on the links.


Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC):

Detailed information about the AHRC’s funding strategy can be found in the AHRC Strategy 2013-2018. The quotes below are taken from these guides and highlight the priorities of the AHRC:

“The AHRC is committed to excellent research through the people we fund.” (pg.18)

The AHRC also list one of their aims as to: “develop the impact of arts and humanities research on public policy and the quality of public life.” (pg. 24)

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC):

The ESRC Research Funding Guide has information about the different funding schemes run by the ESRC and the councils remit and priorities (see page 5 and page 18).  See below for an extract from this:

 “The ESRC funds excellent research. The primary criterion is scientific quality. The ESRC expects its portfolio to include a diverse range of research encompassing, amongst other things, work based on single disciplines, research which combines disciplinary approaches, research focussing on advancing scientific theory, and research aimed principally at developing practical applications.

As part of this portfolio, we encourage research applications which demonstrate one or more of innovation, interdisciplinarity and impact.” (pg. 18)

ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA):

The ESRC IAA funds knowledge exchange activity. On the IAA website the eligibility criteria is stated as follows:

Eligibility: Oxford academics carrying out social science research (fundable under theESRC’s remit) which fully engages external partners.”

European Research Council (ERC):

The ERC states:

“scientific excellence shall be the sole criterion on which ERC grants are awarded.”

“The ERC shall operate on a ‘bottom-up’ basis without predetermined priorities.” (From the ERC work programme ERC Work Programme, pg. 8)

As the Research Services factsheets highlight these schemes aim to fund “ground-breaking, high-gain/high-risk research.”

ERC factsheets from the university’s Research Services can be found here. Further information about the priorities of each scheme can also be found on the ERC website.

European Commission (EC):

For information about the Horizon 2020 funding programme and priorities see the university Research Services pages and factsheets. For more detail see the EC pages about Horizon 2020.

The John Fell Fund:

The aims of the fund are stated as follows:

“The Fund is intended to foster creativity and a proactive approach to research opportunities in all subject areas, and particularly interdisciplinary fields.”

In particular the Fell Fund likes to support early career researchers and projects/ pilot studies which may lead on to larger funding applications to external funding bodies. Further information about the John Fell Fund can be found here.

Wellcome Trust:

The Wellcome Trust Society and Ethics programme:

“The Society and Ethics programme supports research that explores the social and/or ethical aspects of biomedical research and health, with the ultimate aim of achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health.”

More information can be found here.