Knowledge Frontiers – International Interdisciplinary Research 2020

The programme supports projects which engage with questions concerning the relationship between expertise, public understanding and policy delivery, and highlight the importance of collaboration between communities of practice, disciplines, capacities and borders.
Closed for applications
Postdoctoral or equivalent research
1 Apr 2020
29 Jul 2019
23 Oct 2019 - 00:00 BST
24 months


The British Academy is inviting proposals from UK-based researchers in the humanities and social sciences wishing to develop international interdisciplinary projects in collaboration with colleagues from the natural, engineering and/or medical sciences, with a focus on hazard and risk, cultures of forecasting, and the meaning of resilience.

The purpose of each project will be to develop new international research ideas. Projects will need to also demonstrate an innovative and interdisciplinary partnership (between researchers in the social sciences or the humanities on the one hand and counterparts in the natural, engineering and/or medical sciences on the other). The Academy is looking to fund applications that break new ground in the collaborations – international and interdisciplinary - they support and the research they aim to undertake. The Academy particularly encourages applications led by scholars in the humanities.

Projects must relate to one or more of the following themes:

Hazard and Risk: Hazard and risk as concepts and lived experience are ripe for significant interdisciplinary and international collaboration, which the Academy hopes to encourage in applications. The direct impacts of hazard and risk, such as the economic and physical are well-known, however, they are often not linked with indirect impacts, such as mental health and people’s broader well-being. Applications that aim to re-imagine hazard and risk to help build preparedness and awareness and to create new co-produced knowledge collaborations and participatory approaches are particularly welcome. The Academy is keen to support the development of novel interactions, including with local communities, and/or new interfaces for the understanding and perception of hazard and risk that bring together different forms of lived experience, storytelling, evidence, data and models.

Cultures of forecasting: Uncertainty is not novel to our current time and neither is the desire and ability to forecast into the future. Understanding, however, of different cultures of forecasting in our current uncertain times needs further exploration. The Academy wishes to encourage applications that aim to bring together different communities of expertise – academic, professional, business, lay, community for example – to further understand the interactions between nature, culture and human endeavour that lead to contested futures in the present and further develop this contestation or could provide grounds for collaboration between, for example, faith, rituals, lived experience, modelling and data science.

Meaning of resilience: Resilience as a concept has gained considerable resonance in recent years but remains ambiguous in its meaning and thus lacking in utility. For too long, resilience has been thought of as a uniform social property, rather than as a collaboration between humans and non-humans, or as a situated cultural practice. The Academy wishes to harness new thinking on narrating human experience of resilience by exploring how meanings, values and cultural expressions shape societal interpretations of resilience as well as individual and community forms of preparedness to adversity in a variety of forms. The Academy aims to help improve understanding of how resilience is formed, or not, in different societies and how this is understood and embedded in culture, historical practice, and socio-technical infrastructures.

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. S/he must be of postdoctoral or above status (or have equivalent research experience).

Projects must involve at least one co-applicant from the natural, engineering and/or medical sciences. Collaboration between researchers in different institutions is encouraged, where appropriate, given the nature and aims of the programme, and applications may include co-applicants and other participants from overseas.

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

Value and duration

Awards of 24 months in duration and up to £200,000 are available.

Funding can be used to support research expenses and consumables; travel and subsistence; networking, meeting and conference costs; and research and/or clerical assistance (postdoctoral or equivalent). Awards are offered on a 100% full economic costing basis.

Projects must begin on 1 April 2020.

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 23 October 2019 at 17.00 (UK time).

Funded by

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