Social Sciences Division Interdisciplinary Hubs

Social Sciences Division Interdisciplinary Hubs

The Social Sciences Division is pleased to invite applications for up to three Interdisciplinary Hubs to commence in October 2021. Funding for these hubs is provided by the OUP John Fell Fund.

The guidance below is also available in PDF format here:

Overview of the scheme

The SSD Interdisciplinary Hubs (SSDIH) offer up to £30k of funding for up to 18 months to promote activities that will establish, organise and/or catalyse interdisciplinary communities ready to apply for significant external research funding in the relevant subject area. Example activities include workshops, seminar series, symposia and any other similar exercises.

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 Science 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.
  • include a web interface and single point of contact for people inside and outside the University to link with researchers in a specific field and to provide presence in the global research community;
  • outline actual future funding proposals and/or clear plans to apply for funding at some point during and/or after the end of the award, including 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 is willing and able to invest significant time should head each hub. Specifically, Hub Leads are expected to have a publications record of ‘internationally excellent’ research, and demonstrate prior experience of research leadership and securing external research funding.

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

If not a permanent member of staff, the PI must have a contract that outlasts the hub by a few months, and be based in a Social Science department. Also, the hub must include a co-I who, in addition to being a permanent member of staff, is based in a Social Science department too.

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 hub must include at least one co-I that is a permanent member of staff and is based in a Social Science department.

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 be appealing to potential external funders. In addition, 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 £30,000. Example costs that can be requested include website development, administrative support, workshops/meetings and PI buy-out (up to £5k in total can be allocated to PI buy-out). 

PI buy-out: If PI buy-out will be requested, the applicant should clearly justify this, including details of what the time will be bought out from. Also, 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 are advised to approach their departments to discuss the possibility of applying and any relevant departmental requirements, selection process and departmental submission deadlines.

An application form and the required attachments listed on it must be submitted via IRAMS by Monday 09 August 2021, 5pm. NB: the application form can be downloaded from IRAMS once an application has been started.

A panel chaired by the division’s Associate Head (Research), and consisting of senior academics from across the division, will select the successful proposals.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application in September 2021.

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.

If you require any further information about the SSDIH scheme, please get in touch with the Social Sciences Division Senior Research Facilitator: armando.romanzozaya@socsci.ox.ac.uk.