Skip to main content

Blog Innovate UK

Innovate UK
Innovate UK

New European £2.3 billion research fund for social sciences/humanities

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Funding, International, Support

A new 7-year European research and innovation programme called Horizon Europe has launched this year, including funding for research into democracy, governance, cultural heritage, cultural and creative industries, and social and economic transformations. This programme is the largest transnational funding programme in the world with a budget of at least €95.5 billion.

Image © European Commission

Horizon Europe is open to participation to all kinds of organisations – be it universities, industry, charities, museums, civil society or government departments. The programme provides unprecedented opportunities for cultural and creative sectors and industries to help solve the challenges arising from the pandemic. The UK is associating to Horizon Europe, meaning that UK organisations can continue to access European funding: they will have equivalent participation rights to organisations from EU Member States with some minor exceptions.

The UK is historically very successful in European funding, with UK organisations taking part in projects over 16,000 times (including 2,800 times by UK SMEs) in the previous programme, Horizon 2020. In social sciences & humanities specifically, €111.5 million of funding was awarded to the UK (11% of the total funding in this programme area), and there were 337 participations by organisations in the UK.

Image: ©Getty Images

Opportunities for social scientists and humanities researchers

Funding for advancing scientific knowledge in the fields of social sciences and humanities falls under Cluster 2 – ‘Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society. This Cluster funds collaborative, challenge-led research within the following research areas:

  • enhancing democratic governance and citizens participation,
  • safeguarding and promoting cultural heritage, and
  • responding to and shaping multifaceted social, economic, technological and cultural transformations.

However, the expertise of social scientists and researchers from the humanities will be required in every part of the programme to effectively address a number of societal challenges and to increase the economic and societal impact of research. The other research Cluster themes with upcoming calls for proposals are:

How do I find out more?

Every two years the European Commission publishes ‘Work Programmes’, which detail each call topic. The 2021-2022 Cluster 2 Work Programme will fund around 130 new projects, the Work Programme is available here to check for opportunities.

At least €420 million of funding is available for Cluster 2 proposals submitted in 2021 and 2022 with opportunities in a variety of research fields in the social sciences and humanities. There will be further opportunities in the remaining years of the 7-year funding programme and also in other parts of Horizon Europe outside of the Clusters (including some funding open to all research and innovation areas).

Image: ©Getty Images

How to find support

A team of about 20 National Contact Points (NCPs) have been appointed by the UK government to help you to apply to Horizon Europe funding opportunities. We provide a free helpdesk service and can answer questions about any aspect of Horizon Europe funding, including:

  • Navigating funding opportunities and choosing where to apply
  • Finding partners (for most Horizon Europe Health projects you would apply as part of an international consortium of organisations from at least 3 different countries)
  • Proposal preparation and the application process
  • Admin and finance questions

If you are new to European funding, this introduction to Horizon Europe or this overview of Cluster 2 may be useful.

Other Horizon Europe opportunities

There are a further three opportunities that may be of interest to researchers in the social sciences & humanities:

  • The European Institute of Innovation & Technology will launch a new Knowledge and Innovation Community focusing on the Cultural & Creative Sectors and Industries (CCSI). This EIT KIC aims to support these sectors and industries and create new opportunities for innovation, education, business creation and acceleration.
  • EU missions are commitments to solve some of the greatest challenges facing our world like fighting cancer, adapting to climate change, protecting our oceans, living in greener cities and ensuring soil health and food. Mission areas, with future funding opportunities, will include:
    • cancer
    • adaptation to climate change including societal transformation
    • healthy oceans, seas coastal and inland waters
    • climate-neutral and smart cities
    • soil health and food
  • The New European Bauhaus initiative connects the European Green Deal to our living spaces. It calls on all Europeans to imagine and build together a sustainable and inclusive future that is beautiful for our eyes, minds, and souls. Specific calls for proposals will support new European Bauhaus pilots from autumn 2021.
Vertical forest view of apartments with greenery hanging over the balconies.
Image: ©Getty Images

If you would like to access the funding opportunities, solve grand research challenges, collaborate with world-leading organisations, influence research policy and access cutting edge technologies, infrastructure and talent - don’t hesitate to get in touch. Twitter: @HE_CCIS_UKNCP

Blogs in the Horizon Europe series:

'Follow Us' and 'Contact Us' wording shown with images of a table, a laptop and a smart phone.
Image: ©Getty Images

Sharing and comments

Share this page

Leave a comment

We only ask for your email address so we know you're a real person

By submitting a comment you understand it may be published on this public website. Please read our privacy notice to see how the GOV.UK blogging platform handles your information.