Humanities and Social Sciences Tackling Global Challenges 2020

This programme aims to support research projects that bring original interdisciplinary research ideas from the humanities and social sciences to bear on our understanding of the challenges and opportunities which people, cultures, societies, and economies face in the Global South.
Funding status
Closed for applications
Career stage
Postdoctoral or equivalent research
Scheme opens date
22 May 2020
Deadline date
01 Jul 2020 - 17:00 BST
Duration of award
24 months
Contact details

[email protected]

Funded by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (through the Global Challenges Research Fund)


The British Academy is inviting original, interdisciplinary research proposals from researchers in the humanities and social sciences, as well as other disciplines where appropriate, that will explore societal and economic issues faced by the Global South. Projects must seek to foster equitable research partnerships aiming to enhance our understanding and responses to global challenges related to:

  • Cities, urbanisation, urban settlements, (in)formality, urban living and practices, urban governance, urban infrastructure
  • Conflict, peace, (in)security, human dignity, violence, disasters, risk, crisis, fragility
  • Education, learning, early childhood, children, youth

There will be no priority given to research related to COVID-19, however, understandably given the current situation, the Academy warmly welcomes applications focused on COVID-19. COVID-19, and infectious diseases more broadly, know no borders and the profound social and economic challenges it poses indicate a clear need for research in the humanities and the social sciences.

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 applicant must be of postdoctoral or above status (or have equivalent research experience) and either be in a permanent position or have a fixed-term contract for the duration of the award. Equitable international collaboration is required to be detailed in any application and the Academy requires collaboration with institutions and partners in the Global South. Applications must demonstrate fully how researchers from the Global South will be involved as equal partners in the research proposed.

ODA eligibility criteria

This call is supported under the Global Challenges Research Fund and therefore will fund only ODA-eligible projects. Only research that has a primary objective which is directly and primarily relevant to the problems of developing countries may be counted as ODA. ODA eligibility is an essential criterion – projects will only be deemed eligible for funding if they can demonstrate that they satisfy ODA eligibility criteria.

The British Academy, with the other Global Challenges Research Fund delivery partners, have provided an additional ODA guidance document  for applicants.

Duration and value

Awards of up to £50,000 and for 24 months in duration are available. The British Academy welcomes submissions at all levels of funding up to £50,000, including below £10,000.

Projects must begin before 15 March 2021.

Funding can be used to support research expenses and consumables; travel and subsistence; networking, meeting, and conference costs, including costs associated with virtual meetings and collaborations; and research and/or clerical assistance (postdoctoral or equivalent).

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 Wednesday 1 July 2020 at 17.00 (UK time).

For more details about the programme and the eligibility requirements, please see the scheme notesand frequently asked questions.

Sign up to our email newsletters