British Academy funds humanities and social sciences research to tackle impact of COVID-19

28 Apr 2020

Credit: Polly Thomas / Getty Images News / Getty Images

The British Academy, the UK’s academy for the humanities and social sciences, today announces a round of Special Research Grants for researchers examining the impact of COVID-19.

Researchers from the humanities and social sciences, which includes subjects such as economics, politics, history and philosophy, can apply for a Special Research Grant to look at the impacts of COVID-19 on people, societies and the economy.

The funding will enable researchers to contribute to a targeted response to COVID-19 and enhance the government and public’s understanding of key challenges arising from the pandemic.

Following an accelerated assessment process, the British Academy will grant a minimum of 20 awards in this round, funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Like the Academy’s Small Research Grants, the COVID-19 awards will equip researchers to undertake individual or collaborative research projects with identifiable outcomes. The insights from these research grants will inform and enrich our understanding and response in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in a variety of ways, from exploring complex, international, and interdisciplinary dimensions of their research to increasing the scope for practical applications.

Professor Sir David Cannadine, President of the British Academy, said:

“It will take the full depth and breadth of research expertise to restore safety and, in time, certainty to our everyday lives.

“The humanities and social sciences’ critical examination of the difficult challenges that lie ahead will be vital in ensuring a fair and effective strategy for responding to COVID-19.”

Hetan Shah, Chief Executive of the British Academy, said:

“There is growing recognition that the virus is a social, ethical, political and economic challenge as much as a medical and epidemiological one. The humanities and social sciences are therefore a critical part of an effective response.

“The Academy has tried and tested mechanisms to identify the very best researchers in these disciplines and we have applied these to develop this new scheme.”

Professor Simon Swain, Vice-President for Research and Higher Education at the British Academy, said:

“The British Academy stands for excellence in humanities and social sciences research. We expect that our community of scholars will respond quickly, conducting rapid reviews of the evidence and up-to-the-minute ideas that can swiftly progress to the next stages of research.”

Applications for this funding call are open today and are scheduled to close on 27 May. Outcomes will be notified by 30 June 2020.

The new funding round follows the announcement that the British Academy is supporting the Government and scientific counterparts, launching a steering group to apply insights from the humanities and social sciences to support the nation’s efforts to respond to COVID-19. This will draw on specialist expertise and existing research to respond to issues such as health equity, urban wellbeing, and organisational and economic resilience during the COVID-19.

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