Professor James Wilsdon, Director of the Nexus Network and Dr Hannah Collins, Deputy Head of the Economic Performance and Environment Team at the Economic and Social Research Council, ESRC, co-chaired the workshop session on ‘The funding landscape for nexus research’ at the Nexus Network conference on 19 November 2015.
This blog post is a summary of the session by Edwin Cristancho Pinilla, a Doctoral Researcher at the Science Policy Research Unit SPRU, University of Sussex.
One of the aims of the Nexus Network is to create a social science, interdisciplinary research capacity in the nexus space. Activities such as the conference and the series of networks have helped to create this, but what opportunity do researchers have to win funding for further, more in-depth work in these areas?
The Nexus Network is funded by the ESRC and links to other ESRC-funded initiatives such as the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity, CUSP, which Professor Tim Jackson spoke about at the conference.
With the current uncertain picture regarding the UK government budget and how this will affect the UK Research Councils, it is not clear how much funding will be available for similar initiatives in the future.
James suggested that the broad scope of Nexus gives broad opportunities in the search for funding and presented some current options which could be of interest to Nexus Network members:
- Welcome Trust: which has a new strategy to spend up to £5 billion over the next years, including in new priority areas, such as health and the environment.
- A bilateral agreement between the United States of America and the United Kingdom, on behalf of the National Science Foundation, NSF, and the Research Councils UK.
- Newton Fund: with £75 million available each year. Began in 2014 and will be available for the next 4 years.
- European Union Science and Technology Program Horizon2020: Ithe biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020).
However, the very interdisciplinarity of the nexus approach can make it difficult for this type of research to be financed by a single program. In conclusion, the workshop recognized that researchers pursuing nexus-type interdisciplinary research challenges would need to be increasingly innovative and entrepreneurial in how they identify funding sources, both from the Research Councils and other funders.
Main image credit: with thanks to Kyle Wood on flickr.
Photo of Dr Hannah Collins and Dr James Wilsdon, with thanks to Edwin Cristancho Pinilla.