Social Sciences Division Interdisciplinary Hubs

Social Sciences Division Interdisciplinary Hubs: Round 3

The Social Sciences Division is pleased to invite applications for up to three Interdisciplinary Hubs to commence in November 2024 (and no later than 1st December 2024). Funding for these hubs is provided by the OUP John Fell Fund.

Overview of the scheme

The SSD Interdisciplinary Hubs (SSDIH) offer up to £40,000 of funding for up to 18 months to promote activities that will establish, organise interdisciplinary communities, and/or to put them in a position to apply for significant external research funding in the relevant subject area.

Researchers from other divisions and universities/research organisations can participate in the hubs, however, the PI or Hub Lead must be based in one of the Social Sciences Division’s constituent departments.

Hubs are expected to:

  • include links to external priority areas or themes that are likely to attract significant funding;
  • draw together Oxford's research community in a large common area in a comprehensive and representative manner;
  • develop links with stakeholders and/or policymakers with a view to “planning for Impact”, i.e., promoting and exploring engagement opportunities and knowledge exchange. Engagement with businesses is also encouraged;
  • develop a web page to act as a single point of information for people inside and outside the University to connect and collaborate across disciplines;
  • include an indication of the potential for facilitating significant external funding in the next two to five years, specifically listing potential sources/schemes. This should also include a plan describing how the hub’s community and activities will be sustained after the hub award ends;
  • provide a final report outlining the activities of the hub, and the issues/topics and/or research questions and methodologies around which a community of academics has been built.

Guidance and how to apply

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Hub Lead/PI eligibility

A suitable academic ‘Hub Lead’ or Principal Investigator who will invest significant time should head each hub. Specifically, Hub Leads are expected to have a publication record of ‘internationally excellent’ research, and demonstrate prior experience of research leadership, and a track record of securing external research funding.

Hub Leads must be based in a Social Sciences department and be permanent members of staff.

If not a permanent member of staff, the PI must be an established researcher whose contract outlasts the hub, and has the support of their department. In this case, the hub must include a co-I who is a permanent member of staff based in a Social Sciences department.

Please see the application form (“Mandatory attachments”) for further details.

Co-I eligibility

Co-Is can be on a permanent contract or a fixed-term contract, and they can be based in any division. However, if the Hub Lead is not a permanent member of staff, the condition in the previous paragraph applies.

Theme eligibility

Whilst all themes that can be led by a PI based in a Social Sciences department are of interest to this call, for an application to be competitive, the theme to be explored should be relevant and timely. Also, the theme would be likely to attract and bind a wide and interdisciplinary community of researchers, and would appeal to potential external funders. Hubs should be inter-disciplinary in nature and should include collaborators based in different departments/divisions. Collaboration outside the Social Sciences Division, and Oxford, is encouraged.

Awards will be for up to £40,000. Example costs that can be requested include website development, administrative support, workshops/meetings and PI buy-out (up to £5,000 in total can be allocated to PI buy-out).

PI buy-out: If it is requested, the applicant should clearly justify this, including details of what the time will be bought out from. The PI’s department must confirm in writing, at the time of application, that the buy-out has been agreed with the department. If the PI is a fixed-term researcher working on another investigator’s grant, written confirmation for the buy-out, from the grant holder, is also required.

Please see the application form (“Mandatory attachments”) for further details.

Depending on the needs of each hub and the availability of the Divisional Research, Impact and Engagement (RIE) Team, funded hubs will receive support for their networking activities and external funding applications from the RIE team.

Up to three applications per department are allowed.

Applicants must approach their departments to discuss relevant departmental requirements, selection process and departmental submission deadlines.

Please combine the application form and all other mandatory attachments into one PDF, and submit via IRAMS by 25 September 2024, 12 noon. NB: the application form can be downloaded from IRAMS once an application has been started.

A panel chaired by a senior member of the divisional Research Strategy Group , and consisting of senior academics from across the division, will select the successful proposals.

The panel will include the following criteria in their assessment of applications:

  • Quality: excellence of the plan to facilitate interdisciplinary activity and systematically form new connections.
  • Link with potential future funding calls: potential for the network to address areas likely to receive significant external funding support in the next few years.
  • Value added: the benefits the network will bring, potential to form a step-change.
  • Critical mass: demonstration that there is a constituency in need of coordination.
  • Breadth: covers all relevant areas or departments/Divisions (including matching support) and is connected to relevant stakeholders and/or policymakers.
  • Leader and core team/steering group: the ability of the team to achieve the objectives of the proposal and the strength of the leadership.
  • External representation: the extent to which the activity will generate high-quality externally-focused web content.

This is the third time the division has run this scheme. Click here for details on the awards from the inaugural round.

For any further information about the SSDIH scheme, please get in touch with the Social Sciences Senior Research Facilitator, Kanza Basit: