Nuffield Foundation Seed Corn Funding

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The Nuffield Foundation is making seed corn funding available in the form of small grants to enable work to develop bids for our Strategic Fund. This £15m Strategic Fund is intended to encourage ambitious, interdisciplinary research projects that will address some of the most important challenges facing UK society and the public policy agenda in the next decade. Through the Strategic Fund, we will make awards in the range of £1-3 million - increasing the scale, scope and influence of the research we fund. Details on the Strategic Fund are available here

Purpose of seed corn funding

Seed corn funding is intended to support the development of ideas for Strategic Fund applications. We recognise that applications of the scale and scope we are envisaging for the Strategic Fund will require extensive development. We do not expect every Strategic Fund outline application to require seed corn funding, and the award of such funding is not a prerequisite for submitting an outline application to the Strategic Fund. In other words:

  • Being successful in obtaining seed corn funding will not affect eligibility to apply for the Strategic Fund
  • Being successful in obtaining seed corn funding does not indicate favour towards the project or subject matter in consideration of Strategic Fund applications, or commit the Foundation to progressing work beyond the seed corn funding stage
  • Potential applicants to the Strategic Fund will not be disadvantaged in the process should they choose not to apply for seed corn funding

What will we fund? Any work that will clearly help to develop a potential application to our Strategic Fund. We anticipate that this might take the form of:

  • Convening an engagement event to support the development of a Strategic Fund proposal
  • Supporting an activity to build a consortium of expert partners to deliver a project of the scale and nature envisioned by the Strategic Fund
  • Reviewing the existing evidence base
  • Secondary analysis of existing data
  • New small-scale or pilot research

We will not fund work that is:

  • Part of an existing project (for example, topping up an existing grant)
  • Part of ongoing PhD-related research (either full, partial or follow-up funding)
  • A standalone project, with no follow-on plans
  • Writing up previous research activities
  • Being undertaken by students at undergraduate or masters level
  • Not related in major part to the UK (though we are open to international comparisons where findings are applicable to UK society)

We are highly unlikely to fund overseas travel or attendance at international conferences. Please read our Terms and conditions before submitting an application. The process Applicants should indicate the level of funding that they are seeking. We anticipate awarding grants in the region of £5,000 in most cases. We will make a decision on seed corn applications quickly: all funding decisions will be made within 20 working days of submission, but we will aim to respond to the majority of applicants within 10 working days. Requests for grants larger than £5,000 may take longer to process. The grant will be payable in a single, one-off payment on award.
After the completion of the work, seed corn grant holders submit a short report to the Nuffield Foundation.


Who can apply?

  • Anyone who is suitably qualified/experienced to undertake the work for which they are seeking funding
  • Applicants must be employed by (or have a formal affiliation to) a UK-based institution/organisation that has a track record in undertaking research