ESRC/AHRC Call for proposals on Forced displacement (Global Challenge Research Fund)


ESRC/AHRC Call for proposals on Forced displacement (Global Challenge Research Fund)



The AHRC is partnering with the Economic and Social Research Council on a joint call for innovative, interdisciplinary projects focusing on the experiences of the forced displaced (both internationally and internally) whether due to poverty, war, conflict, persecution or human rights violations. Drawing upon funding allocated from the Global Challenge Research Fund, this call explicitly recognises the global and protracted nature of people displacement in the modern age.

Through this call, we aim to demonstrate the capability of the UK research community to respond to pressing international crises, and also to build interdisciplinary capacity to address complex challenges. The call is being managed to a challenging timetable which will require a rapid response from researchers, research organisations, our peer review community, and the Research Councils.

Proposals may focus from an interdisciplinary perspective on the breadth of cultural, economic, social, and legal challenges and issues facing displaced populations and their host communities, and should draw upon historical and/or contemporary perspectives.

This might include (but is not limited to):

  • The experiences, vulnerabilities and survival strategies of different people whilst on the move (e.g. women, children, elderly and disabled), as well as those based in different types of settlements for varying degrees of time (might, for example, include vulnerabilities and strategies for preserving health, wellbeing, identity, culture, and heritage etc)
  • Understanding the dynamics of the operational response including the challenge of inter-agency co-operation across humanitarian, development and human rights organisations
  • Specific strategies for reaching out and providing support for marginalised and hard to reach people (and particularly the most vulnerable in this category) living in urban and rural areas
  • Understanding the opportunities and limitations of re-engaging people in economic, social, and cultural activities and contributing to host communities, for example by enabling self-reliance, education and employment among the forcibly displaced
  • The relationships between displaced people and host populations including the roles of various actors involved in promoting trust, tolerance, integration, intercultural dialogue and social cohesion
  • New interventions in relief and protection – educational, vocational, artistic − aimed at promoting the dignity, human rights, and empowerment of displaced people
  • Understanding the international legal and political frameworks designed to give protection to the forced displaced – how they currently operate in practice and gaps in provision
  • How we can help humanise refugees and other forced displaced – challenging the construct of displaced people simply as beneficiaries or recipients of aid and resources
  • Approaches for building capacity in host communities to ensure adequate infrastructures are in place to meet the needs of forced displaced and their integration process, for example social service provision, cultural translation, education, language acquisition, re-skilling etc
  • Addressing policy concerns through contextualising the contemporary debate on forced displacement considering the cultural, theoretical and historical framing
  • Considering how both experiences of forced displacement and theoretical framings from the global south might address the more recent concerns of the global north in making sense of the contemporary situation.

These areas are given as examples only and applicants are invited to consider a breadth of issues within the remit of this call, bringing together the arts and humanities and the social sciences. Applicants are required to approach their work from an interdisciplinary perspective that should be clearly stated in the application. It may, for example, include developing innovative methodologies that deploy the tools of different disciplinary approaches that work across the social sciences and the arts and humanities. It can also include synthesising insights from the social sciences and the arts and humanities, drawing together traditions from historical, literary and philosophical considerations of the nature of forced displacement.

Funding is available for innovative, inter-disciplinary proposals of between 6 to 24 months duration, and up to a maximum funding amount of £300k (100 per cent fEC). The Research Councils will pay 80 per cent of the fEC, with the Research Organisation (RO) contributing the other 20 per cent.

Closing Dates

Closing Date: 20/07/2016

The closing date for the submission of outline proposals via Je-S is 4pm on 20 July 2016.

How to make an application

All proposals must be made through the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system, by the deadline. Full details of how to submit an application can be found on the call pages of the ESRC website

If you need any assistance to use the system, please contact the JE-S helpdesk by telephoning 01793 444164 or

Further Information

Further information on the call, including how to make an application can be found on the call pages on the ESRC’s website

Summary information on the Global Challenges Research Fund can be found on the RCUK webpages

All research funded through this GCRF Foundation Awards call will form part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA). Therefore, research proposals submitted to this call should clearly demonstrate that the primary purpose is to promote the economic development and welfare of Low and/or Middle Income Countries (LMICs) on the DAC list of ODA recipients as its main objective.


ESRC is leading on this call and queries about the specific requirements should be addressed to:

AHRC-specific enquiries related to this call should be sent to:

  • Paul McWhirter
    Strategy and Development Manager
    AHRC Histories, Cultures and Heritage Team
    Telephone: 01793 416094