skip to content

Sociology Research


The notes below provide a brief guide to the four key steps in applying for research funding via the Department of Sociology.

If you have any specific queries about these steps, or if there is anything else in the course of an application which you are uncertain about, please contact the by phone or email to discuss.


1. Finding a Scheme

Information about different postdoctoral academic funding options is available from a number of sources. The Research Grant Administrator will routinely circulate information regarding new funding opportunities. A good general overview can be found on the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) research website, including a calendar of annually recurring grants. Research Professional is an external source of funding news and opportunities which can be configured to send you alerts for schemes meeting defined criteria. Please contact the Research Grant Administrator (above) to discuss any schemes you find here to ensure that they can be supported by the department.

2. Eligibility

Once you have identified a scheme you wish to apply for, check the funder's scheme notes to confirm that you and the project you wish to carry out are both eligible. Common eligibility criteria for candidates include: nationality/residency, employment status, and years of postdoctoral experience, but others may apply. Project eligibility criteria may entail restrictions on the types of expenses that can be claimed for and the type of activities that can be carried out. If you need help interpreting these, please contact the department Research Grant Administrator.

3. Approval

All research funding proposals must obtain approval from the Head of Department before being submitted to the funder. This applies as much to projects where Sociology is a collaborator as to where Sociology is the lead. If you are an external applicant for funding, you must obtain a letter of reference from a centrally-employed Sociology academic who is willing to sponsor you before seeking Head of Department approval.

To apply for a Head of Department support letter, or other confirmation of Departmental support for a research application, please complete the approval request form and send it to the Research Grant Administrator, including a copy of both your CV and draft research proposal or abstract. Different schemes will have different requirements, so it is strongly advised that you contact us as soon as possible to ensure that we have enough time to produce the required documents.

  • Please submit all request for signed Head of Department letters to the Research Grant Administrator at least ten days ahead of the date you need them by. If you require a letter from higher up (at School level, or pro-VC for Research level), then please allow 4 weeks for this to be completed.
  • Please note that participation in collaborations will require due-diligence background checks to be carried out on the project partners in order to ensure that there is no risk of financial or reputational harm to the Department or the University.
  • Any application with a combined Full Economic Costing of over £1 million (including partner contributions) will need to be cleared at School-level through the Million+ process. Submissions for this process must be made at least 4 weeks prior to the final deadline. Please be aware that the Full Economic Costing of applications may not be apparent until after the Research Grant Administrator has provided a calculation of Estates and Indirect costs.

4. Submission

After departmental approval has been obtained (and School approval where necessary), all applications to external funders (and some for internal Cambridge funding) must be submitted to the Research Operations Office for checking via both the funder's online portal and the X5 costing system. This must be done at least 5-7 days before the final submission deadline in order to allow time to address any errors or issues that are found. Please see the Research Operations Office page here for more details.

Please note that on most funder portals, clicking 'Submit' will not submit an application directly to the funder for assessment. Instead, it will first be sent to the Research Operations Office for Institutional Approval. They will then complete the submission after checking the application content against the X5 costing. If the portal submission is late, they will not submit it. Where funders receive applications directly, a copy of all application documents required should be sent to the Research Grant Administrator so that they can be sent to the ROO for checking along with the X5 costing.

The Research Grant Administrator handles all X5 submissions, and can provide support with the production of budgets and the costing of items. If necessary, this process can be started before departmental approval is obtained, on the condition that the application may be rejected by the Research Operations Office if approval is not confirmed in time for the final deadline.

Once a submission has been completed, the Research Operations Office will issue a "G" identification number which should be included in any further correspondence regarding the application. If an application is successful, you will be notified by the funder and provided with an award letter.