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The University of Southampton
Public Policy|Southampton

Areas of Research Interest New Things Fund 2024

Applications for the New Things Fund 2024 are currently closed.

What is the New Things Fund?

The New Things Fund (NTF) is an internally awarded programme designed to stimulate policy engagement on Government Areas of Research Interest, an impactful system through which to have policy impact.

We aim to distribute ten awards of up to £5000 each – for collaborative, policy-related projects – to be delivered between March and August 2024. Extensions beyond this date will not be possible. The NTF is funded via the University of Southampton’s allocation of the UKRI’s Policy Support Fund.

Policy Themes and Key Challenges

Areas of Research Interest (ARIs) are specific topics or issues that the government is interested in and indicate areas where government organisations are keen to hear research evidence or insights. These areas are wide-ranging covering anything from economic and social policy to international relations and national security. They ensure that research efforts are targeted where evidence is most needed to inform policy decision, help solve problems and improve government performance.

For academia, they allow targeting of research to specific government evidence needs and a clear hook for engagement with departments. A searchable database of ARIs is available here.

Some arms length bodies and local government organisations have also published their own ARIs, including the National Archives, Health and Safety Executive and Food Standards Agency. We welcome applications for research matching an ARI from any UK or devolved government organisation.

Possible Policy Activities

Your project should support the overall aim of policy impact against an Area of Research Interest but could be shaped in numerous ways, for example:

If you have any other ideas which aren’t included in this list, please feel free to reach out and discuss them by emailing us.

A NTF award does not have to bring about immediate policy impact, but your project should be actionable. It should be treated as a building block for wider initiatives that develop relationships with evidence users, create pathways to impact, or lay the foundations for future engagement by raising awareness.

*Note: it typically costs £23.87 per hour to hire a research assistant (Level 4).

Support and Evaluation

If awarded, your project will be supported by Public Policy|Southampton (PPS), with bi-monthly update meetings and guidance on achieving policy impact. This could include support with creating and editing policy briefs or executive summaries, providing guidance on stakeholder outreach, or offering connections and networks. We will also organise two open sessions (one online, one in-person) giving awardees the opportunity to network and gain insights from each other’s work.

Six months and twelve months after your award has ended, we will contact you to learn about the impact which your project has had, and to find out how the award has supported your policy engagement journey. We are also keen to explore further ways in which PPS can support your policy work beyond the completion of your project

Application and Funding Requirements

Application deadline: Thursday 29th February 2024 at 11.59pm.

We held a briefing call on 14th February. View the slides here and watch the recording here .

Your application can include several people and/or organisations. You may wish to include letters of support and any offers of in-kind contributions as part of your application. Please also consider how you will evaluate and monitor the progress your project, as well as your approach to equality, diversity and inclusion .

If successful, we require you to complete a short end of project report in August 2024, followed by short impact reports in January and July 2025, after your project has ended. We will give you guidance as to how to complete these.

The academic lead will be the budget holder for the project, or someone in the University needs to act as the budget holder on your behalf. Please ensure you have support from any required authority such as the Head of School before applying.

To view the questions in advance, please see the PDF of the application form here .

FAQs Read Professor Sebastian Stein's New Things Fund blog

Previous Projects

New Things Fund 2023/24 projects NTF 2023/24 on Centre For The South
New Things Fund 2022/23 projects New Things Fund 2021/22 projects New Things Fund 2020/21 projects
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