RCUK Demand Management week on the blog! ESRC and demand management

Welcome to RCUK Demand Management week on the blog! Today’s focus is on the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and their views on, and actions around, demand management. Over the summer the ESRC consulted with the sector on a range of proposed demand management options/ sanctions. The results, published last month, indicated that 68% of respondants favoured individual researcher sanctions. You can read the full details of the consultation and its outcomes on the ESRC website here.

Will the ESRC be introducing demand management procedures? – The ESRC will not be introducing any demand management procedures YET. However, it they do decide to introduce individual researcher sanctions at a later date these are likely to be much tougher than those introduced by EPSRC. The ESRC would ban any researcher who had two unsuccessful outline or full proposals in 24 months which failed to reach an alpha grade equivalent from submitting further applications for 12 months. Failed applications would also be counted against both PIs and Co-Is, and a sanctioned researcher would be banned from submitting any applications as either a PI or Co-I over the next 12-month period. Ouch!

What are the ESRC doing instead of individual researcher sanctions? In June the ESRC introduced a number of changes to existing peer review practises and submission policies to help reduce the pressure on resources, and it is hoped that these changes along with self regulation from the research community (such as institutional peer review schemes) will be enough reduce demand.

I am interested in applying to the ESRC. How can I make sure my application stands the best chance of being funded? – BU has established an internal peer review scheme (Research Proposal Review Service) which has been up and running in its current form for almost 12 months now. The scheme is managed by Caroline O’Kane and a whopping 21 proposals have been reviewed since July. If you are submitting an bid to EPSRC then I strongly encourage you to work with Caroline through the RPRS. You can also check the Blog to see what proposal writing sessions are running at BU. For example, on 23 and 24 November Dr Martin Pickard will be visiting BU to run sessions specifically focusing on writing and preparing applications for Research Council funding – read more and book a place here. Martin’s sessions are excellent and always well received, and I would encourage anyone considering applying for research funding to attend.