COVID-19 Recovery: building future pandemic preparedness and understanding citizen engagement in the USA and UK

The British Academy (BA), the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and the Science & Innovation Network in the USA (SIN USA) are inviting proposals from UK and US-based researchers in the humanities and social sciences aiming to support around 10 in-depth transatlantic studies focused on UK-US vaccine engagements, including examples of community confidence and hesitancy.
Funding status
Closed for applications
Career stage
Early-career, Established researcher, Mid-career, Postdoctoral or equivalent research, Senior researcher
Earliest start date
27 Oct 2021
Scheme opens date
15 Sep 2021
Deadline date
06 Oct 2021 - 17:00 BST
Duration of award
Five months
Contact details

[email protected]

Funded by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

More about the programme

This programme invites UK and US-based researchers at any career stage, and active in any discipline within the humanities and social sciences, to submit proposals focused on UK-US vaccine engagement, including examples of community confidence and hesitancy.


COVID-19 is the most challenging health crisis we have faced for decades. Its impacts are changing lives, communities and economies, however, these challenges are not new. There are lessons we can learn from history and recent experience, such as the response to Ebola in recent years and research on other global vaccine campaigns like polio. Evidence from the social sciences and humanities is critical to our recovery and how we can shape a positive future.

Moreover, COVID-19 is not impacting individuals, communities, families, countries and other groupings in isolation. The experience of COVID-19 is taking place in differing and dynamic contexts; individuals and communities are living through their own social, moral, and material situations. For example, pre-existing and longstanding structural inequalities and historical injustices seem to be playing an especially important role in the impacts of COVID-19, the dialogues around vaccination, and the trustworthiness of those communicating in the current environment of uncertainty. There is good reason to believe that vaccine engagement is weaker amongst disadvantaged groups, and, crucially, that this is a logical consequence of structural disadvantage and discrimination.

This call follows a forthcoming initial pilot study and aims to scale that work further, building an evidence base allowing us to answer:

  • How does context specific to place, culture, social, political and economic factors shape people’s responses to vaccines?
  • How can we harness existing knowledge to develop, disseminate and employ community-engaged research which works for and with national and regional public health authorities and community actors and researchers, before, during, and after vaccine deployment programmes?

Projects on these issues must demonstrate a dedicated focus on place and context at local and community levels and indicate how they would incorporate a transatlantic view on the issues and questions.

Eligibility requirements  

The lead applicant must be a researcher from the humanities or social sciences and be based at an eligible UK university or research institute. The lead applicant must be of postdoctoral status or above (or have equivalent research experience) and the PI’s position must last at least the duration of the grant funded by the Academy.

Projects can involve up to three Co-Applicants and must include at least one named Co-Applicant who will be actively assisting in the direction and management of at least parts of the project. Collaboration between researchers in different institutions is encouraged where appropriate, and we expect to see Co-Applicants based in both the UK and the USA.

For more details about the programme and the eligibility requirements, please see the scheme notes.

Value and duration 

Awards of five months in duration and up to £100,000 are available.

Funding can be used to support the time of the Principal Investigator and Co-Applicants; research assistance; travel, fieldwork and related expenses; and networking costs. Awards are offered on an 80% full economic costing basis.

Projects must begin on 27 October 2021.

Application process  

Applications must be submitted online using the British Academy's Grant Management System (GMS), Flexi-Grant®

The deadline for submissions and UK institutional approval is 6 October 2021 (17.00 GMT)

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