Kick start grants

As part of its support for early career researchers, The Sociological Review Foundation has allocated an annual budget of £30,000 for ‘kick start’ grants.

The scheme is designed to support individuals or small teams of early career researchers pursuing field-based sociological research. We support discrete research projects and/or ‘pump-priming’ activities (e.g. pilot studies, developing networks for larger grant proposals). Project proposals must have clear, well-defined and independent outcomes. The grant is for new research projects only and cannot be used to subsidise an existing project. We typically expect to fund projects at £3,000-5,000 but accept applications for up to £10,000.

The call for the next round of applications will be announced in late 2019.


  • Applicants must hold a PhD in Sociology or a closely aligned discipline (e.g. Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Human Geography, Socio-Legal Studies).
  • Funding is only available to early career researchers, defined as within 4 years of being awarded their PhD. Adjustments will be made for career breaks (e.g. maternity leave and periods of unemployment).
  • Projects must be demonstrably sociological in their orientation, and aligned with the Sociological Review Manifesto.
  • Applicants must be affiliated with a UK Higher Education Institution. We accept applications from candidates (including independent and international researchers) whose affiliation is ‘visiting’, ‘honorary’ or similar (i.e. who are not in formal paid employment).
  • Grants are available to individuals and small teams, but a single PI responsible for managing and delivering the grant must be identified.
  • Individuals can only make or be part of one application per call.
  • The Sociological Review Foundation must be the sole funder for the proposed research. We will not co-fund or subsidise projects with other research councils. Support (financial or in-kind) from a host institution is permitted and welcomed.
  • Projects must be no longer than 12 months in duration. This is a maximum and we welcome shorter projects.
  • Awards cannot be made retrospectively.
  • Lead Applicants are expected to have published (or have had accepted) at least 1 sociological paper as lead or sole author.
  • Funds can be used for travel, subsistence, data collection and ad hoc temporary research assistance. Funds cannot be used to cover salary costs.
  • Applicants must secure the support of a senior colleague to mentor the project. Mentors do not need to be based at the same institution as the applicant.

Applications must include

  • A completed application form
  • A grant proposal (max. 1500 words) detailing: the background to and justification for the proposed research, clearly defined aims and objectives, key research questions, and the research design and methodology. A list of references should be included (but this does not count towards the word limit).
  • A short supporting statement (500 words max.) from the project mentor.
  • Two referee statements, at least one of which should not be based at the lead applicant’s institution.

Criteria to assess applications include:

  • Quality of the proposed research and potential contribution to sociological debate.
  • Fit with The Sociological Review Manifesto.
  • Value for money.
  • Planned outputs.
  • Future plans.

Conditions of the award

  • All research must be carried out ethically and in accordance with the Social Research Association ethical guidelines. Funding for primary field research is conditional on securing ethical approval from the host institution.
  • Grants must be taken up within 6 months of being awarded.
  • Award-holders are expected to produce at least one piece of content for the Sociological Review Blog during the life of the grant.
  • All award-holders are to consider publishing some of their project outputs in The Sociological Review, for example by giving us first refusal on 1 publication. This does not constitute an obligation for TSR to publish the research.
  • The SRF’s support should be acknowledged in all publications and outputs.
  • Within 3 months of completion, award-holders must produce a 2-page report detailing the results and outputs of the grant. A 200 word abstract, images, and a final budget statement should accompany this report.
  • A final budget statement must be submitted within 3 months of completion and any unspent funds must be returned to the SRF.
  • Material from the reports may be used on the Sociological Review website and you may be asked to provide additional content to promote your work.
  • Successful grant holders cannot apply or be part of an application to the scheme for a 3-year period after completion of their project.