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This month's highlights

HEFCE awards LSE £32m UKRPIF funding

HEFCE has awarded LSE matched funding of £32 million to develop world-leading research in the study of inequalities. Read more.

ESRC Brexit Priority Grants

Support a range of activities including research synthesis, user engagement and new short-term research activity related to the process of the UK leaving the EU. Closes 25 January 2017Read more

Dr Michael Muthukrishna

Michael is Assistant Professor of Economic Psychology and Technical Director of the Database of Religious History. Read more.

HEFCE awards LSE £32m UKRPIF funding to develop world-leading research in study of inequalities

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has awarded LSE matched funding of more than £32 million through its UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), which is designed to enhance the research facilities of higher education institutions (HEIs) undertaking world-leading research. The Atlantic Philanthropies’ donation of £64 million last year provided double-match funding for the grant.
The funding will contribute to the development of the Centre Buildings, which will house the International Inequalities Institute (III) and its programme supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies gift, enabling them to expand their activities and to work with other research centres and LSE departments within a new capital development project that is central to the School’s campus regeneration programme.

This is wonderful news for LSE. The School is the first social sciences institution to be awarded UKRPIF funding, a clear indicator that our exceptional research is recognised as world class.


LSE awarded three research projects under ESRC GCRF Strategic Networks call 

ESRC have announced funding for 22 new research projects under the ESRC Strategic Networks call with £3 million funding allocated from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). LSE received funding for three projects, more than anyone else, with congratulations due to Dr Kirsten Ainley, Professor Christine Chinkin and Dr Rajesh Venugopal.

The successful projects will support novel, interdisciplinary and international collaboration between researchers and non-academics to identify substantive research agendas and shape the future direction of GCRF funding. The high quality networks funded through this call have strong potential to benefit the economic development and welfare of developing countries.

Strategic networks will bring together novel combinations of perspectives to identify key areas for future research, inform thinking on how these might be addressed, and build the capacities and relationships required to support this. 


2017 Researchfish submission period opens soon 

Heads up for RCUK-funded PIs who have held an award within the last five years. Submissions for the next RCUK Submission Period on Researchfish need to be made between Monday 6 February 2017 and 4pm, Thursday 16 March 2017

This month, Researchfish will be contacting those PIs who need to make a submission. If you have forgotten your Researchfish login details, please contact

If you need any help with your submission, contact Amanda Burgess in Research Division.


LSE Works 2017 

In 2017 LSE is delighted to continue the success of LSE Works with a fourth series of ten public lectures that will showcase some of the latest research by LSE's academic departments and research centres. In each session, LSE academics will present key research findings, demonstrating where appropriate the implications of their studies for public policy.
The first lecture takes place today and will be given by Dr Valeria Cetorelli of LSE’s Middle East Centre on ‘Documenting Genocide: survey evidence on ISIS violence against Yazidis’


Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme 

The UK Parliament is piloting an Academic Fellowship Scheme that will offer academic researchers at every stage of their career the rare opportunity to work on specific projects from inside Westminster’s walls.
The Parliamentary Academic Fellowship Scheme delivers opportunities for researchers to forge useful and lasting connections with decision makers in Parliament. The Programme has been welcomed in academia as an effective pathway to impact.

The Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for researchers to learn about how research feeds into practice and the challenges faced by decision-makers, as well as increasing opportunities for researchers from all disciplines to engage and connect with people in Parliament.

Further information on the Scheme's benefits and the two application routes is available here

Successful fellowships will be funded through LSE's ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) which is managed by Research Division. Before submission, applicants should discuss their application with Dr Tina Basi, Knowledge Exchange Manager (



The supply and demand of funding grants

Alex Hulkes is Strategic Lead for Insights at the ESRC. In this ESRC blog piece he highlights some of the key points of a recent analysis of ESRC’s demand management policy which was published this month.


The funding opportunities highlighted here are a selection of upcoming calls, for a full list of funding opportunities view our Find a funding opportunity web page and follow us on Twitter @LSE_RD


UK-Colombia networking workshop 2017: calls for expression of interest

NERC and the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), jointly with the Colombian Administrative Department of Science Technology & Innovation (Colciencias), expect to issue a joint call for research proposals in spring 2017. In preparation for the call, NERC and AHRC are inviting expressions of interest for eligible UK researchers to attend a two-day workshop on 22-23 February 2017 in Colombia to explore UK-Colombian opportunities for collaboration.

The aim of the workshop is to facilitate new collaborative working relationships between UK environmental and arts & humanities researchers and Colombian researchers, and to inform researchers about the scope of the call and the evidence needs of the supporting Colombian departments (regions).

Selection of the participants will be made by the respective funding agencies - NERC and AHRC in the UK. Those who wish to attend should register their interest by completing the expression of interest form on SurveyGizmo.

Deadline for UK researchers to submit an expression of interest form: 16:00 on Friday 13 January 2017.


ESRC UK in a Changing Europe: Brexit Priority Grants 

These aim to support a range of activities including research synthesis, user engagement and new short-term research activity related to the process of the UK leaving the European Union. Up to £300,000 (100% fEC) for up to 18 months can be claimed.
Proposals must be policy-focused and centre on the implementation of Brexit and its consequences under one or more of the following priority areas:

  • Changing political contexts in Europe and the positions of other member states
  • Citizens’ expectations on Brexit outcomes
  • Brexit and UK party politics
  • Legal issues and the transfer of competencies (e.g. environmental/climate, energy, agricultural and fisheries policies etc.)
  • Implications for migration
  • Economic impact of Brexit and future trade arrangements. This includes the impact on the economy overall or particular sectors of the economy or regions (e.g. on UK cities, rural areas, devolved administrations).
Deadline: 16:00 on Wednesday 25 January 2017

The Leverhulme Trust: Philip Leverhulme Prize 

Philip Leverhulme Prizes recognise the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising. Every year the prize scheme makes up to thirty awards of £100,000 across a range of academic disciplines.

The selected subject areas for the 2017 round are:

  • Biological Sciences
  • History
  • Law
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Sociology and Social Policy

Institutions may only submit up to three nominations per subject area. Further details on the internal selection process in place for this call are available here.

Deadline for internal selection: 12:00 on Monday 6 March 2017


ESRC: Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (SDAI) Department for Education (DfE) Highlight Notice 

Funding for this highlight notice is being provided by the Department for Education in order to produce insight into policy areas of interest to the Department and to promote the use of relevant datasets. The highlight notice provides up to 18 months funding for grants with an overall limit of £200,000 (100% fEC). It is expected to fund around two projects in 2017.

Deadline: 16:00 on Friday 10 March 2017


ESRC: Sustainable Urban Global Initiative (SUGI)/Food-Water-Energy Nexus 

This call is jointly established by the Belmont Forum and the Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe. It aims to develop more resilient and applied urban solutions that bring inter- and trans-disciplinary research and innovation together from across the globe, to benefit a much wider range of stakeholders including cities, civil society and business. The rapid urbanisation of the world’s population underscores the importance of this focus.

Applicants located in the following countries are eligible to apply as Main Applicant or Co-applicant, irrespective of their nationality: Argentina, Australia (to be confirmed), Austria, Belgium, Brazil (state of São Paulo), Chinese Taipei, Cyprus, France, Germany, Japan, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Slovenia, South Africa (to be confirmed), Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Applicants from other countries may participate as a Co-operation Partner.

Pre-proposals will be submitted via the Austrian Research Promotion Agency and full proposals via ESRC.

Deadline: Wednesday 15 March 2017


Upcoming events from RISe, Research Division's Research Development Programme

Learn key information about funding opportunities and clarify understanding around REF and KEI. Interact with experts face to face, improve your working practice and become inspired by your peers and success stories. For more information, email


Funding Information Day (FInD)

Opens at 09:45 for registration and tea/coffee

10:00 - 11:00 Session I: Research funding landscape: fellowships for established researchers

11:30 - 12:30 Session II: Research funding landscape: fellowships for emerging researchers

13:30 - 14:30 Session III: From Brussels with love: state of play in research funding

15:00 - 16:00 Session IV: Research and KEI funding at LSE

Book individual sessions

Academic Staff, Professional Services Staff


Funding roadmap for researchers

12:00 - 14:00                  

Academic Staff


Research Division clinics

12:00 - 14:00

Academic Staff, Professional Services Staff

View the full calendar for 2016-17.

For daily updates, follow us on Twitter @LSE_RD


Other research-related events

Topical issues in research ethics (PhD Academy)
This term will see the start of a series of five sessions on topical issues in research ethics to be held in the PhD Academy between January and June:

  • Conducting sensitive interviews: Thursday 26 January 2017
  • The use of deception in research: Thursday 16 February 2017
  • Ethical issues in research: a discussion with the Chair of the Research Ethics Committee: Thursday 9 March 2017
  • Ethical issues when conducting research in developing countries: Thursday 4 May 2017
  • Ethical and other legal issues of using social media data in research: Thursday 1 June 2017

All sessions will be 12.00-14.00. Click here for more information
Data management, data protection, and research ethics surgeries
If you have any questions regarding data management, data protection, and research ethics you can come along to one of the fortnightly drop-in sessions. Please book in advance if you can (dates for January will be listed very soon) or just drop in. If you can’t get to the surgeries please email either  or with your questions.


Professor Karen Smith, International Relations

This Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Network will bring together established academics in the field of EU-UN relations to promote research on and the study of EU-UN relations by encouraging exchange of academic best-practice and creating a thematic trans-national research group. The Network’s dual objective comprises the stimulation of students’ and researchers' interest in the EU-UN interactions and the forging of a broader common public space for informed analysis, comment and broader debate of current EU-UN issues. Network partners include the Athens University of Economics and Business, the University of Leuven, and Albert-LudwigsUniversität Freiburg. 


Professor Christopher Alden, International Relations 

Awarded funding from Corporacion Andina De Fomento to support the project "CAF-LSE Partnership: Towards a New Agenda of South-South Cooperation: Latin America, Asia and Beyond" with the purpose of promoting the investigation and the creation of knowledge in Latin America including the delivery of an international academic conference, as well as funding support for postgraduate students and visiting fellows. 

The IV Annual CAF-LSE Conference: Globalization in Crisis: Implications for the Global South will take place at LSE this Friday, 13 January 2017. Organised by the LSE Global South Unit, attendance at the event is free but pre-registration is required. To register click here and to view the conference programme click here


Professor Ron Anderson, Systemic Risk Centre 

Awarded funding by ESRC and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) for a collaborative research project that seeks to develop and deepen understanding of the Chinese financial system and its crucial role in supporting the future development and continued growth of the Chinese economy.

The project, on Building debt capital markets in China, will provide a comprehensive view of Chinese debt markets with a particular emphasis on fixed income securities, fixed income derivatives, and securitisations. The aim is to produce original theoretical and empirical, policy-oriented research on the growth of debt markets in China since 2008 and on its future development over the next five years. The research will help to provide answers to pressing questions being asked by Chinese policy makers, business practitioners and the public generally on the sovereign debt market, corporate bonds, and the sub-sovereign debt market. The project will be undertaken in collaboration with Professor Xuebin Chen, Fudan University.


Dr Mylene Lagarde, LSE Health and Social Care 

Awarded ESRC funding to explore how the interactions between providers and patients influence inappropriate antibiotic prescribing for upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) in public and private primary care in South Africa. In collaboration with the Centre for Health Policy at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, the project will explore providers’ and patients’ perceptions of antibiotic prescribing for the treatment of URTIs, assess the relative importance of clinical and socio-economic factors, and test the impact of insurance status and patients' demands on prescribing decisions.

Dr Charles Palmer, Geography and Environment

Awarded funding from the Environmental Defense Fund to create durable, large-scale economic incentives for forest protection, through government policies and corporate commitments and build the institutional capacity and strong forest governance needed to respond effectively to those incentives.


Research staff are invited to take part in a focus group (small discussion group) about ORCID, organised by the Library. This will give you a chance to learn more about ORCID identifiers and what the Library is doing to support researchers. We are interested in hearing your thoughts on ORCID iD, whether you already have one or not.
Your views will be used to help us develop an advocacy and support strategy, as part of a Library project to promote awareness and use of ORCID iDs among researchers
There are two sessions to choose from:
Wednesday 18 January 2017: 15:00 – 16:00 
Monday 23 January 2017: 10:00 – 11:00
Location: NAB 8.01
Please book online here and let us know which session you can attend.
The focus group should last no longer than one hour.
Tea, coffee and cake will be provided, and in return for your time we can help you set up your ORCID account and add your publication records.
For more information contact Bea Caballero at


Ensure your work is included in the REF: send your accepted manuscripts to


Dr Michael Muthukrishna, Assistant Professor of Economic Psychology 

You are Technical Director of the Database of Religious History (DRH), the world's first comprehensive online quantitative and qualitative encyclopaedia of religious cultural history. Tell us about the project. 

The DRH is a “spatio-temporal” database, which is a fancy way of saying that it's a database that allows historians and religious studies scholars to enter data about groups and events, but actually captures this data at a variable level in time and space. 
Basically, the goal is to know what people believed and did anywhere on the globe at any point in history. We’re a long way from that, but we’re starting with the history of religion and will eventually expand to the rest of human history. Like our data, our staff and contributors span the globe from Harvard to Hong Kong, from Toulouse to Toronto, from Aarhus to Auckland, from Sichuan to Stanford, Berkeley, Brown, and British Columbia. You can join the effort as a historian or religious studies scholar, an analyst, or just a Wikipedia-addict who wants to browse or visualize history.

The DRH began as a database to test cultural evolutionary theories for questions such as “what predicts the rise of large-scale civilization?” We had theories, but not enough data to definitively test these theories. It wasn’t that the data didn’t exist; it was just trapped in thick texts and in the heads of historians and religious studies scholars. The challenge was two-fold: (1) to design a platform that could store this data in a format amenable to statistical analyses and (2) to convince the subject-matter experts that they should contribute. We had to create value for both camps, and the result is an unusually (perhaps uniquely) successful science-humanities collaboration.

The John Templeton Foundation has recently provided the Database of Religious History with its first major grant. How will this funding further the project’s development? 

The DRH started as a side-project while I was in graduate school. It never had independent funding. It was largely built on my volunteered time on the technical side, and the volunteered time of our Project Director, Ted Slingerland (a brilliant scholar at the intersection of Chinese philosophy and cognitive science) and his graduate students and postdocs on the recruitment side. In hindsight, it’s actually astonishing what we achieved given the shoe-string budget and time. The generous assistance of the John Templeton Foundation secures the future of the project. We’ve now partnered with the technology firm, Pieoneers and already revamped the user interface to make it even easier to use. We now have enough money to improve the Browse, Visualize, and Analyze features. A big thanks to LSE’s Research Division for helping put the grant together!

Congratulations on winning the 2016 CGS/ProQuest® Distinguished Dissertation Awards in the Social Sciences for your dissertation The Cultural Brain Hypothesis and the Transmission and Evolution of Culture. How does it feel to receive this recognition for your work?

Thank you! Winning the top social science dissertation award in the US and Canada was as much of a surprise as it was an honour. More than anything, it felt like a validation of my research agenda and my general approach to research. My dissertation, and a large part of my current research agenda, is working toward a formal and general “Theory of Human Behaviour”, grounded in our biology and evolutionary history. What I and my collaborators are looking for is the equivalent of the Periodic Table for Chemistry or natural selection for Biology—a theoretical framework that reorganizes the human sciences so that suddenly everything makes sense. My approach to this research is non-disciplinary (or undisciplined!); a focus on the questions, bringing to the table whatever tools can best help answer those questions, regardless of the tool’s disciplinary origin. Being at the LSE, I’m reminded that “social science” doesn’t describe or limit our approach, methods, or toolkit; it’s a description of our primary area of interest – the social world.
Do you have any advice for your fellow colleagues in applying for a grant?

I’m a young faculty member and new to the LSE and I think it would be hubris to start offering advice to my colleagues! But I would encourage new faculty to take advantage of the grant writing workshops that the Research Division has put together – they’re very useful!
Do you have anything else you would like to share? 

One project I’m particularly excited about is an online tool that allows you to quantify the “cultural distance” between societies (or companies) and to determine the dimensions along which they differ. The tool makes accessible a technique drawn from the biological sciences for measuring genetic differences, applying the technique to large surveys of cultural values. Stay tuned!

Who was your hero when you were growing up?

I had at least a couple of heroes growing up (the first is a bit cliché!) – Richard Feynman and Alan Alda. Among many things, both had (and have; Alan’s still with us!) lives well lived, valued the truth over convention, and were willing to go against prevailing wisdom without taking themselves too seriously.

Relevant to the Templeton grant, as an undergraduate, before I knew anything about the Templeton Foundation, John Templeton was actually an investment hero of mine. Now that I think about it, it was for similar reasons as Feynman and Alda…

Which book shaped your childhood?

I can’t pick one – I was and remain addicted to reading. These days I mostly read the work of other scholars, but I read a lot of hard science fiction as a child – Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov were my favourites. I have no evidence, but I’m convinced that hard science fiction—sci-fi grounded in good science, but that imagines the possible—teaches children to see the world not just as it is, but how it could be. Sci-fi inspired many of those children to work towards that imagined world. Someone should look into that! In an early award-winning video about the DRH, I was able to pay homage to Asimov and his idea of psychohistory (which, in some sense, is what we’re trying to achieve with the DRH). Check out the video here.

Modern, globalised lifestyles fuelling obesity epidemic

A new LSE study suggests that our 21st century, globalised lifestyles are fuelling the rise of obesity.   

The study, published in Food Policy, compared the link between globalisation and obesity, measuring two kinds of globalisation; economic, which leads to lower food prices and increased trade, and social, which has led to increased sedentary recreation activities. 


A study of the British Army: white, male and little diversity

It is one of the last bastions of power and hierarchy. New findings from LSE suggest the British Army is also a strong defender of white, male privilege with little evidence of diversity.


Russia's state of the art media strategy

As Russia has pursued an increasingly aggressive foreign policy in recent years, a new study argues that media monitoring can shed light on the Kremlin’s opaque decision-making and help explain Russian president Vladimir Putin’s tight grip on power, despite domestic economic woes.


New LSE research could provide a critical breakthrough for job seekers with Asperger’s syndrome

Job interviews rate as one of the most stressful situations that people face in their lives, but imagine that stress amplified tenfold. That’s the reality for people diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.


Timeframe for writing a research grant proposal

The longer you have to prepare your proposal the greater your chances of submitting a winning application. Early consultation with RD's Research Development team and your head of department is essential. 

The Research Development team require a minimum of 2 weeks to review your proposal prior to the submission date. This amount of time should be allocated in addition to the time allocated to writing your proposal.

Suggested timeframe for preparing a proposal:

Large grants/fellowships/networks e.g. ESRC, European Commission 3 - 6 months  
Small grants e.g. Nuffield, British Academy 1 - 3 months
Research Division to review your proposal  Minimum 2 weeks before deadline

Contact the Research Development team for help at any stage of writing your proposal. 

To develop your grant writing skills, come along to Research Division's Fundamentals of grant writing clinic, 09:30-17:00, Friday 10 March 2017. Previous workshops have been fully booked so early booking is advised. BOOK NOW


Get in touch

The next edition of Research Briefing is on Tuesday 7 February 2017. If you would like to feature a research story, award, or opportunity in this newsletter, contact Amanda Burgess in the Research Division by Friday 3 February 2017.
Research Briefing is emailed on the first Tuesday of every month throughout the academic year.  

Contact us
+44 (0) 20 7106 1202  I
Visit our website for more information and a detailed list of funding opportunities.

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