ESRC Business Engagement Scheme, Creative Industries – deadline 31 March 2008


Central Government initiatives have been developed to position the UK as an economy able to deliver unique value in global business markets. In line with these initiatives the ESRC has developed its Business Engagement Strategy. The Creative Industries are a success story within the UK economy, and have been identified by the ESRC as a key sector to help develop. How do we sustain our position as a creative nation? How do funders, universities and creative entrepreneurs map the way forward, or do we trust the existing infrastructure to inspire innovation?

This call focuses on business engagement and provides opportunities for social science researchers to engage with the creative and cultural industries, to encourage knowledge transfer and exchange to assist business sustainability. The ESRC encourages engagement with business through a tailored package of new and additional activity. Funding of up to £100k per successful application is available for a combination of activities, ideally with co-funding partners.

The call aims to:
• promote the transfer and exchange of knowledge between social science researchers and the creative industries and staff within them
• respond to the knowledge needs of business through a range of knowledge exchange mechanisms
• expand networks for business sectors into academia and vice-versa
• provide business sectors with research-informed evidence to develop and review operational and management practices
• enable all parties, including the ESRC, to develop their understanding of the interaction between research and the development of operational and management practices within business sectors
• contribute to the delivery of the Government’s Science and Innovation Investment Framework.


The call is open to social scientists based in UK Higher Education Institutions or similar organisations. The ESRC welcomes applications from more than one department in addition to the principal applicant.


A package of activity should be developed, comprising the following elements:
• Impact generation: projects which demonstrate the impact of research by engaging with the creative or cultural industries.
• Placements: funding to permit academics working on projects in a business setting and business individuals to do likewise in an academic unit for a short period – of at least one month, not necessarily in one block of time.
• Seminars: funding for at least two seminars aimed at encouraging interaction between researchers and potential users of research within the chosen sector or group.

Placements must be co-funded to demonstrate user engagement. It is expected that each of the other activities in the package will also attract co-funding where possible. Favourable consideration will be given to such applications.
It is expected that successful awards start on 1 June 2008.


The package is expected to yield at least: one impact project; four placements; two seminars/workshops. However, applicants may suggest how they intend to vary this combination in response to identified business needs.
• Final reports for placements will be submitted within one month of the end of the Fellowship with a short report detailing any longer-term impact 12 months later.
• Final reports for Impact generation will be submitted by 1 October 2009.

Closing Date

Applications should be sent to The Registry, ESRC in hard copy with an electronic copy to lesley.lilley[at] by Monday 31 March 2008.

For an application form and guidelines contact knowledgetransfer[at]

**Associated Funding Opportunities for the Creative Industries**

The Research Councils and the Technology Strategy Board are keen to collaborate and to coordinate their support for the Creative Industries.

The Technology Strategy Board launched a new call for the Creative Industries in partnership with the Research Councils on 30 January 2008. This call will pilot two new initiatives to run alongside the more traditional collaborative R&D scheme: Feasibility studies; Fasttrack projects; and Collaborative R&D

Further information is available at: