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Digital Societies Grow House Fund

Please note - round 1: Fast Start Projects are now closed.

The opportunity to develop meaningful connections and build relationships to establish collaborations and a coherent proposal for funds to support research, is a major task. We are keen to shift toward a longer timeframe for planning and writing of proposals, especially as many Calls now require significant external stakeholder involvement alongside academic coordination. The Digital Societies Grow House Fund is now available to support the building of collaborative relationships between colleagues and external organisations, and to foster some longer term research ambitions focused on better understand and improve our Digital Societies.

The Digital Societies Grow House Fund provides a capacity building opportunity to strengthen links across the College, University and beyond and to give us a platform for future grant success in the area of Digital Societies. Colleagues are invited to apply for funds to create or develop collaborations with the aim of enabling tangible research benefits on the 1–3yr timescale.

The Digital Societies Grow House Fund supports activities related to understanding the digitalisation of societies.

Projects may focus on areas including:

  • Data Justice (e.g. implications of data and digital technologies for the law, human rights, education, politics, work, economy, and infrastructure and citizenship; access (& not) to justice; digital forensics; citizen-led initiatives),
  • Data studies, ethics, and governance (analysis of the processes and implications of digitalisation and studying of data practices, algorithm bias, explainability and accountability)
  • Methods (e.g. new methods for social science and the study of human behaviour with a focus on understanding the digitalisation of societies), and more.

Applications should cover activity toward two or more of the following, relating to the ‘digital societies’ theme:

  • strengthen an existing network that has clear potential for future income generation to support research;
  • build a new interdisciplinary network in an area relating to the ‘digital societies’ theme;
  • design a programme of cross-discipline research to cover a 1-5year timeframe;
  • formulate specific research funding plans among a group of researchers in more than 1 Department;
  • preparatory work toward readiness to bid for a known future grant opportunity (e.g. recurrent schemes such as ESRC Centre Grants);
  • production of a ‘gap analysis & future research needs’ report in a priority area.

Applications should describe the proposed activities that will enable their research agenda and the potential value to be gained by the activity.

Suggested activities can include, but are not limited to:

  • Networking meetings, workshops, ‘awaydays’ and other events to develop sustainable strategies, partnerships and projects
  • pump-priming projects to generate preliminary data for future grant applications
  • research assistance e.g. to produce literature reviews; scope data sources; reanalyse available data
  • collaborative writing of a planned bid where a Call has already been identified and/or is known to be forthcoming
  • production of a ‘research needs’ report.

For Fast Start projects, colleagues may want to engage students, phd students and existing researchers to support delivery in a quick timeframe.

Colleagues can apply for up to a maximum of £5,000 (applications over this amount may be considered). Colleagues must describe and justify the resources requested. Activities which can be funded include research assistance (eg research assistant/postdoc time), travel, networking meetings, workshops and ‘away days’. Academic (E&R, E&S) staff time is not an eligible cost.

Successful applicants may be requested to modify costs.

Collaborations can involve any disciplines but should include at least one SSIS PI/CI. They can include both internal (cross-University) and external partners.

The applications for the Digital Societies Grow House Fund are now closed. If you are interested in applying to future rounds, please contact

Applications will be reviewed by a Panel. Successful applicants will be notified as soon as possible.

Applications are expected to be no longer than 5 pages. The application form for the Round 1, Fast Start Projects May 2022 can be viewed here.

  • Research excellence, creativeness, and timeliness
  • Interdisciplinarity and alignment with ‘digital societies’ theme
  • Appropriateness of the proposed research methodology
  • Potential for academic impact and knowledge exchange

plus the proposal’s potential to support one or more of the following:

  • sustainable new areas of research/network/group
  • future external partnerships
  • early career colleagues
  • applications to future funding opportunities
  • REF-returnable impact generation
  • research culture
  • responsible research and Innovation