ESRC Launches Digital Society Network Plus to Explore People’s Relationships with Digital Technologies

The ESRC has launched a new funding call to develop a network to research people’s relationships with technology.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) will fund one Network Plus that is expected to start on 1 November 2022.

The Digital Society Network Plus will have a research agenda that explores people’s relationships with technology and how technologies influence people’s relationships (people as individuals and as part of broader society). It will:

  • Directly find and fund research projects that cross disciplinary boundaries via a flexible fund
  • Provide leadership development opportunities for mid and early-career researchers
  • Adapt in response to changing circumstances and drivers.

By doing all this it will contribute to building the research infrastructure for future research in digital society.

The ESRC has identified two optional themes that the Network Plus could look to support via the high-level research agenda, flexible fund, and collaborative activities:

  • Power and behaviour
  • Harnessing technology

ESRC also welcomes proposals exploring other themes, if they complement current investments without duplicating them and enable the network to address the desired outcomes listed below.

The network is expected to:

  • Generate insights into the relationships between people and technologies by carrying out and funding research
  • Build interdisciplinary capability
  • Bring people together across disciplines to connect researchers exploring people’s relationship with technology.

Applicants must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for ESRC funding.

Eligible projects must be social science-led and at least 50% within ESRC’s remit.

The full economic cost of the project can be up to £4 million. ESRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

The project can last up to five years.

This ESRC funding opportunity is being run as a single pilot application on the new UKRI Funding Service.

Applications must be submitted through the UKRI Funding Service by the deadline of 1 March 2022 (4pm UK time).

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)