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FYI. Nuffield Foundation funding: Education, welfare, justice.


The Nuffield Foundation has announced the latest round of its Research Development and Analysis Fund (Outline Stage), with a deadline of 14 March 2022. Please note that the scheme has now introduced an annual call for larger, strategic, interdisciplinary projects.

Nuffield’s Funding Priorities

The Foundation prioritises rigorous and impartial research, development, and analysis projects that:

  • Identify and explain the social and economic determinants of opportunity and risk across the life span, focusing in particular on early childhood adversity, transitions from adolescence to young adulthood, and social and economic well-being in adulthood and later life.
  • Improve well-being for society as a whole, while ameliorating negative distributional outcomes and the greatest harms.
  • Support the development of workable evidence-based solutions for policy and practice over the medium term.

The Foundation is committed to improving the design and operation of social policy, especially in those domains that they have always identified as underpinning a well-functioning society: Education, Welfare and Justice.

Please see the Guide to Applicants for further details, but priorities within each domain are as follows:

  • Education:  Early years education and childcare; Skills; Teaching quality; Young people’s pathways; Educational disadvantage
  • Welfare: Family dynamics and labour market outcomes; Social and economic welfare in later life; Geographical inequalities; Social and economic analysis to inform public debate
  • Justice: Family and youth justice; Decision-making; Participation and rights

In general, the Foundation awards grants to projects focused on the UK context. However, applications from UK-based organisations to carry out collaborative projects involving overseas partners (and/or exploiting data relating to other countries) are permitted  where findings are likely to benefit the UK.

Standard Research, Development and Analysis grants

Research, Development and Analysis (RDA) grants normally range in size from £15,000 up to £750,000, with most lying between £50,000 and £300,000.

The Foundation supports a wide range of project types, including:

  • Reviews and synthesis
  • Data collection and/or analysis, whether descriptive or designed to understand causality, or both
  • Pre-trial development work
  • Comparison or controlled trials or evaluations
  • Research translation

The Foundation occasionally makes smaller grants for work costing less than £15,000. There are options for assessing such applications on a quicker timetable than the standard one – potential applicants are asked to contact Nuffield to discuss such applications.

Larger strategic projects

In a change from previous funding calls, the Foundation has announced that it will also fund larger strategic projects as part of the RDA funding process. It welcome applications between £750,000 and £3 million for more strategic projects that take an interdisciplinary approach to addressing the most significant themes and developments that will shape the UK public policy and agenda and wider society over the next decade and beyond.

Applications at this level must also bring a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary approach to addressing the questions they examine, including proposals for working collaboratively across research, policy and practice. As with all the work support by Nuffield, they must be connected in some way to at least one of the three core domains, but it is likely they will cut across more than one of these three areas or extend beyond them, engaging with other social policy fields.

Whilst the call for standard RDA grants has deadlines in March and September, grants over £750,000 can only be submitted for the March date.