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30th April, 2020

Funding Call – Special Research Grants: COVID-19

The British Academy is inviting humanities and social science researchers to bring their specific insights to bear on the global health pandemic resulting from COVID-19. Across health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts, the COVID-19 pandemic affects individuals, communities, and society in the UK and globally.  The economic, social and cultural effects are far reaching.

The deadline for applications is 5pm (UK time) on Wednesday 27 May 2020 and outcomes will be notified by 30 June 2020.

Purpose of the scheme
The insights to be brought to bear by researchers in fields covered by the British Academy are wide-ranging and there is a clear role for both humanities and social sciences research to play to inform and enrich our understanding and response. From literature, drama, history and languages, to political sciences, psychology, economics and sociology it is the humanities and social sciences that make sense of the world around us. The potential for researchers to understand, compare, and inform the impact of COVID-19 that draws on and combines humanities and social science is extensive, and primary and secondary research can explore issues such as the:

  • ethical and behavioural issues raised by the pandemic;
  • implications of migration on disease transmission;
  • feasibility and effectiveness of policy responses aimed at preventing or containing COVID-19, including secondary impacts such as school closures, quarantine etc;
  • past experience of epidemics, pandemics and quarantine;
  • communication of risk to the wider public;
  • behavioural studies understanding how people have been affected, both mentally and physically by living through the pandemic;
  • community responses to crisis;
  • access and equity to essential services, including digital communications and technologies;
  • translation and analysis of information for multilingual populations;
  • role of arts and culture in community building, recovery and resilience;
  • strategies to combat misinformation;
  • impacts on socio-economically disadvantaged groups.

This subset of examples, which is not exhaustive, highlights the contribution that humanities and social sciences can offer and small research project funding is being made available by the British Academy to support research across our disciplines. Researchers should think creatively about how funding could best be used, with a view to making a significant contribution to the understandings of and range of responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find out more here.


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