Jordan – UK El Hassan bin Talal Research Chair in Sustainability

The Jordan – UK El Hassan bin Talal Research Chair in Sustainability is a joint initiative between the British Academy and the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan (RSS). Its aim is to enhance the research and innovation capacity of Jordan for long-term sustainable development.
Funding status
Closed for applications
Career stage
Established researcher
Earliest start date
1 Sep 2020
Scheme opens date
4 Mar 2020
Deadline date
03 Jun 2020 - 17:00 BST
Duration of award
Four years
Contact details

Prospective applicants should contact [email protected] if they have any questions about the RSS and its strategic goals.
All other queries should be sent to [email protected].

The Jordan – UK El Hassan bin Talal Research Chair in Sustainability is a joint initiative between the British Academy and the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan (RSS). Its aim is to enhance the research and innovation capacity of Jordan for long-term sustainable development. The initiative is supported by the Newton-Khalidi Fund. The British Academy and the RSS are inviting applications from established scholars in any discipline within the social sciences and humanities who are recognised internationally for their expertise in the area of sustainability, have an outstanding track record of supervising early career researchers and are interested in taking up a full-time four-year appointment at the RSS in Amman, Jordan (with up to three months each year spent at higher education or research institutions in the UK).The available award is up to £240,000 per annum over 4 years. This includes the Research Chair’s salary and research expenses (inclusive of costs related to any periods spent in the UK) as well as financial support for a number of early career scholars who will be appointed by the Research Chair and be based at the RSS as a part of their research team.

Overview of scheme

  • The Jordan – UK El Hassan bin Talal Research Chair in Sustainability is a new collaboration between the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan (RSS) and the British Academy initiated in 2020 and supported by the Newton-Khalidi Fund.
  • The availability and supply of highly skilled researchers capable of driving excellent research and innovation is of the utmost importance for the sustained growth of the Jordanian economy and for improving its competitiveness in a world economy that is increasingly becoming knowledge based. This programme is aimed at increasing research capability in Jordan through the development of human capacity and the generation of new knowledge in an area that is of strategic relevance to Jordan. It is also intended to support the realisation of Jordan’s transformation into a knowledge economy in which scientific knowledge translates into socio-economic development.
  • The specific objectives of the programme are to:
    • Expand research and innovation capacity within the social sciences and humanities in Jordan with a particular focus on the area of sustainable development and issues of relevance and importance to the local context;
    • Improve Jordan’s international research and innovation competitiveness while responding to socio-economic challenges in the country;
    • Attract and retain excellent researchers;
    • Create career pathways for early career scholars, with a strong research, innovation and human capital development trajectory;
    • Support institutional capacity strengthening for research and innovation within RSS and nationally; and
    • Promote increased and sustained research collaboration between Jordan and the UK.
  • The programme is geared towards developing researcher, institutional and systemic strength in Jordan in a simultaneous and mutually reinforcing fashion. It will help to enhance the ability of individuals and organisations to research, analyse and put forward innovative solutions for addressing sustainable development challenges in Jordan and more broadly while expanding and further supporting the body of local researchers and institutions working on these challenges from a social science and humanities perspective. This will serve to strengthen existing research and diversify the research undertaken in this area, introducing new insights and developing novel methodologies whilst supporting durable, equitable partnerships and the creation of a research environment that will outlast the duration of the Research Chair appointment.
  • There is a vital need to foster a growing and vibrant research community in Jordan which is capable of addressing the challenges of sustainable development and which has the skills to take a full part in international research networks and collaborations. Effective approaches to ensuring sustainability are critical to the future of Jordan and can only be developed with deep and textured knowledge of local society. This is exactly the type of knowledge that the social sciences and humanities are able to offer.


  • This call is open to applicants with established expertise in any area relevant to the challenges of sustainability, particularly in the context of Jordan. Such areas could relate to but need not necessarily be limited to food security, water, energy and the environment, cities and infrastructure, climate change, sustainable livelihoods, health and well-being, migration and displacement, inequalities, and education. Applicants will be expected to justify in full why they are opting to focus on any given area and how this is pertinent to local development needs.
  • The Research Chair will be expected to add significant value to the research and institutional strength of the RSS and play an active role in developing the research capacity, profile and sustainability of the institution. The British Academy and the RSS view the Research Chair as an opportunity to foster an internationally-oriented research culture, develop excellent research and further capacity for research (particularly among early career scholars), embed effective and long-lasting institutional practices for the benefit of the hosting organisation, and maximise opportunities for impact with policymakers and practitioners.
  • The successful candidate will be expected to dedicate at least 80% of their time to conducting research and supervising early career researchers. Approximately 20% of their time will be spent on ensuring the sustained viability of the RSS programme/department within which the Research Chair will be based. The successful candidate will furthermore be expected to spend up to 3 months each year at UK higher education or research institution(s), developing research networks, exchanges and collaborations and facilitating learning on the part of the early career scholars supported as part of the Research Chair appointment. Developing links between Jordan and the UK is an important element of the Research Chair’s activity. Short-term research visits elsewhere in the world will also be permitted.
  • The Research Chair is a full-time position which cannot be combined with any other salaried positions held concurrently in Jordan, the UK or any other country. The position is for 4 years and can be taken up as a secondment provided that the award is held full time during the 4-year period.
  • As part of the 20% spent ensuring the sustained viability of the RSS programme / department within which the Research Chair will be based, the Research Chair will be expected to apply for additional funding for research and human capital development in Jordan from other funders and donors.
  • Applicants must clearly set out in their proposal how they plan to embed and integrate the Research Chair with its associated research opportunities (research assistance, postdoctoral fellowships and doctoral students) as a whole within the Chair, the host institution (RSS) and also beyond the institutional setting to the broader research, innovation and policy landscape nationally, regionally and internationally, including engagement with UK higher education or other research institution(s).
  • The remit of the programme does not include primarily practice-based outputs such as in musical composition and performance, visual practice, creative writing, and filmmaking. These areas of research will be considered to fall within the programme’s remit only when they form part of an integrated project of demonstrable critical or historical significance.
  • Successful applications will be likely to employ a variety of research methods and may (but need not necessarily) be interdisciplinary in nature. In all instances it is for the applicants to demonstrate the feasibility of their proposed research methodology. Applicants should also demonstrate the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of their proposed programme of research and other activities.
  • The onus is on applicants to make the case that their projects will bring genuine added value to individual, institutional and system capacity strengthening in Jordan and will help to address Jordan’s sustainable development challenges.
  • Research outputs should include peer reviewed work for academic publication as well as more targeted briefings for policymakers. This may include but need not be limited to: publications in peer-reviewed open access journals, reports, policy briefs and other written outputs such as evidence summaries or online blogs specifically targeted to relevant policymakers or other non-academic audiences, and oral presentations at conferences and meetings with relevant stakeholders.
  • All proposals must include relevant plans for the appropriate communication and dissemination of research findings. This should include how applicants will engage with policymakers, practitioners and other target audiences. Applicants will be expected to engage with their target audiences from the outset and also show how the research once completed will be disseminated to, and taken up by, policymakers and others.

Eligibility requirements

  • Applicants must be established researchers who hold a doctoral degree (or have equivalent research experience) in a discipline within the social sciences or the humanities.
  • Applicants must currently hold, or have recently held, the position of Professor – including Associate Professor. They should be outstanding and innovative researchers whose accomplishments have made a major impact in their field. They should be recognised internationally as leaders in their field and/or have received substantial international recognition for their research contributions. They should also have a strong track record of attracting and supervising postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows, taking into account the practices of their subject area.
  • There are no restrictions on the nationality of applicants. It is desirable, albeit not essential, that applicants have a working knowledge of Arabic.
  • Applicants should have proven close contacts and collaborations with researchers and higher education or other research institutions in the UK, as the strengthening of bilateral cooperation between Jordan and the UK is a key objective of the Research Chair.
  • The awarding of a Research Chair will not be made retrospectively: this means that the work for which support is requested must not have commenced before the award is announced. However, an existing partnership or programme of research that could be taken into a new phase with this award may be considered.
  • The CV provided in support of any application should be no more than 4 pages long.
  • Duplicate applications for the same purpose to more than one British Academy funding programme will not be accepted.

Official Development Assistance (ODA)

Applicants must ensure they have considered existing advice on ODA eligibility. Any queries about the ODA eligibility of projects should be raised with the relevant delivery partner as early as possible. Find out more about the ODA and the OECD.

There are guidelines to ODA eligibility as mentioned above, but slight differences in context and detail could mean that an activity would or would not be ODA eligible. Therefore, when trying to decide whether an activity is ODA eligible, it is important to focus on the questions which would typically be asked for by the OECD. Questions you may wish to consider regarding your project’s ODA eligibility include:

  • Is the project addressing the economic development and welfare of the country in question?
  • Are the countries involved on the DAC List of ODA Recipients (the Development Assistant Committee of the OECD)
  • Is there a development need that my project or activity is addressing?
  • Is this credible or is there evidence of the need?
  • How would this project or activity be applied in the country?
  • What would the impact of my project or activity be, and who would benefit?
  • How does my project or activity contribute to sustainable development?
  • Would this lead to a reduction in poverty in a developing country?
  • What would success for this activity look like?
  • How would success or impact be measured?

Value and duration

  • The award is expected to run for 4 years from a starting date to be agreed with the British Academy and the RSS on or prior to 1 September 2020.
  • The available award is up to £240,000 per annum over 4 years. This includes the Research Chair’s salary and research expenses (including costs related to any periods spent in the UK) as well as financial support for up to five early career scholars who will be appointed by the Research Chair and will also be based at the RSS.

Application process

Applications must be submitted online using the British Academy’s online grants management system, Flexi-Grant. For the assessment criteria please see the detailed scheme notes.

Application timetable

Scheme opens

4 March 2020

Deadline for applicants

3 June 2020 (17:00 BST)

Final award announcement expected

August 2020

Earliest award start date

1 September 2020

Funded by

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