Innovation Fellowships Scheme 2023-24 Route B: Policy-Led (Central Government) Scheme Guidance Notes

The following Scheme Guidance Notes set out the eligibility and application process of the British Academy’s Innovation Fellowships Scheme – Route B: Policy-led (Central Government) 2023-24 competition, in partnership with the Cabinet Office (CO); His Majesty’s Treasury (HMT) and the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) – joint hosts for this scheme; the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Please read these Scheme Guidance Notes carefully. Any application which is incorrectly submitted will not be eligible.

Aims and purpose of the scheme

The British Academy has been funded by the UK Government, Department for Science, Innovation & Technology (DSIT, formerly known as BEIS) to continue its support for the Innovation Fellowships scheme.

This scheme provides funding and support for established early-career and mid-career researchers in the Humanities and Social Sciences (the SHAPE disciplines) to partner with organisations and businesses in the creative and cultural, public, private, commercial, or policy sectors that have a base in the UK, to address challenges that require innovative approaches and solutions that are relevant to the UK. Through the Innovation Fellowships, our researchers in the SHAPE community are supported to create new and deeper links beyond academia, enabling knowledge mobilisation and translation, as well as individual skills development.

This call will enable researchers to partner with a range of central government departments for 12 months. Successful applicants will work within specific policy areas set out by the departments. These policy areas broadly correlate to the British Academy’s own policy programmes of work, which cover similar themes.

Features of the scheme

The Innovation Fellowships scheme is a dual route scheme, consisting of Route A: Researcher-led and Route B: Policy-led. This call is for the Innovation Fellowships – Route B: Policy-Led (Central Government).

Route B: Policy-led Innovation Fellows will work with policy partners specified by the British Academy. For this call, these partners are:

  • The Cabinet Office (CO).
  • His Majesty’s Treasury (HMT) and the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) – joint hosts for this scheme.
  • The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Henceforth the term ‘partner departments’ signifies information applicable to all four government departments. Information that refers to a specific partner department is signified by the relevant acronym.

Applying to the Scheme

For Route B: Policy-led Innovation Fellowships, applicants should apply to work with one of the British Academy’s partner departments, as above, and select one policy area specified by the department they wish to apply for – e.g. an applicant for DCMS should apply only to DCMS, and must choose one of DCMS’ policy areas. They should set out how their experience and proposed work meets the requirements of the partner department, and how it relates to and would help bring innovative ideas to the policy area they are applying for.

The researcher’s employing institution must be a UK-based Higher Education Institution (HEI) or Independent Research Organisation (IRO). The partner department, as outlined above, must be separate to the researcher’s employing institution. If successful, the relationship with the partner department will be managed by the researcher, i.e. the Lead Applicant, with responsibility for the success of the award residing with the Lead Applicant’s employing institution and be conducted in line with the Terms and Conditions of Award. Applications are welcome from researchers who consider themselves to be early-career or mid-career researchers.

Only one application for this Route B: Policy-led call may be submitted. Applicants are permitted to apply for both Route A (Researcher-led) and Route B (Policy-led) Fellowships, but they cannot hold an Innovation Fellowship for both Route A and Route B simultaneously.

Person Specification

Applicants must be an early or mid-career researcher based at a UK institution (e.g. a Higher Education Institution or Independent Research Organisation) with expertise in a Humanities and/or Social Science discipline. A range of methodological approaches or perspectives may be appropriate – the requirements of each partner department are listed below.

Through the Innovation Fellowships scheme, you will have the opportunity to work in a deeply embedded way with policy and analytical teams, which will enable you to develop outcomes that enhance our understanding of, and response to, societal challenges, and offer solutions to shape policy and practice. You will be able to draw on the expertise and insights of policymakers and practitioners, and benefit from their continued engagement in the project. This is an opportunity for all participants to form new collaborations and draw on the insights these bring to inform and influence future policy and research.

Applicants should be open-minded, and willing to explore new perspectives and innovative approaches. They will have an appetite for working across academia and policy. They will be challenge-driven and receptive to integrating the perspectives, needs and priorities of the partner department.

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