Expressions of Interest for the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2021

Applications are now open for researchers from across all disciplines to deliver public engagement events throughout November

We’re pleased to share that Expressions of Interest are now open for the ESRC Festival of Social Science (FoSS) 2021. The festival is an annual event that showcases leading social science research or social science-related events to engage and inspire public audiences and young people as part of a wider programme of events taking place across the UK. The aim is to reach non-academic, public audiences to increase awareness of the social sciences and highlight the value that the social sciences and/or social science research bring to our everyday lives. This high profile, UK-wide event is an excellent opportunity to promote your research to new audiences, build your reputation and gain valuable public engagement experience.

Unlike previous years, this will be a month-long event, from 1-30 November 2021. This year’s festival is particularly aimed at general public and/or youth audiences.

Last year’s festival was a digital-first event hosted entirely online. Researchers delivered a variety of events focusing on important societal themes, including COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, climate action, activism and food insecurity. This also included Leeds Social Sciences Institute’s public lecture with Hetan Shah, Chief Executive of the British Academy. A full list of previous events is available on the website for the 2020 festival. The events which took place specifically at Leeds are available on the LSSI website.

Who can take part?

Researchers from all disciplines are welcome to apply and you do not need to be a social scientist to participate, as long as the research has a social science component or collaborating partner. Applications are welcome from any researcher at the collaborating institution, regardless of career stage. Applications from outside of the University, such as by a third sector partner, are also welcome as long as they are submitted with a collaborating partner at the University of Leeds.

There’s no need for events to centre around ‘live’ research projects, or to showcase a specific project. If you are showcasing social science research this does not need to be ESRC funded either. Any connection to social science is acceptable. For example, for an arts or cultural event, participants might take part in a craft workshop or view an artwork/performance inspired by a social science topic. Or, for example, an activity with a particular group aimed at improving an aspect of their wellbeing might be based in psychological research but not necessarily a specific piece of research that is being worked on right now.

What are we looking for this year?

This year the Festival of Social Science will coincide with COP26 to include a festival strand connecting the audience and aims of the festival to an environment and climate change theme. The aim is for 40% of events to align with themes of climate change and environment. Please note that the environment theme can include Expression of Interest relating to non-climate-change topics, such as the relationship between wellbeing and green spaces.

Event delivery

This year the festival will offer a combination of online and in-person events, subject to following national and local COVID-19 guidance that applies at the time. All event types are welcome, including talks, exhibitions, quizzes, performances, craft activities, debates, pop-up stalls.

How to apply?

The following documents contain further information relating to the aims and criteria of this year’s festival:

ESRC Festival of Social Science Information and Guidelines

Expression of Interest form

Please complete an Expression of Interest form and return by email to Camilla McCartney, LSSI Engagement Officer,

If you have any questions or would like to know more please contact Camilla McCartney.

The deadline for submitting an application is midday Tuesday 10 August.