Future-forming interdisciplinary research

2019/2020 Annual Call for Fellows


Putting the social into future-facing research


Applications are invited from academic staff and researchers at Lancaster University to join the Institute for Social Futures.  The ISF is a collaborative environment that fosters intellectual exchange between academics from different departments, research centres and faculties. It brings together experts in humanities and social sciences with others in all faculties across the campus. The focus is on future-facing cross-disciplinary work that builds in the human and social dimension.


We seek individuals who wish to combine their research techniques and skills and build links with colleagues elsewhere with a view to enhancing their research capability and making new funding and teaching


For 2019/20 two major research themes have been identified: “The Future of the Word” and “Everyday Environmental Futures”. The aim is to develop Lancaster’s research leadership in these areas and share and strengthen wider networks. We encourage not only individual applications but small project teams who can apply collectively.


We also welcome ‘open’ applications from colleagues (individually or collectively) who want to develop any project with a future-facing elements and who seek the time, resources and wider links that we can offer to add value to their research or (M-level) teaching proposals.


As a fellow you will be supported in your enterprise, meet weekly with around a dozen other annual fellows and some senior fellows to discuss your work, and have access to regular events, seedcorn funding and some admin support.


About the ISF


The ISF is led by Professor Rebecca Braun (Department of Languages & Cultures), Professor Richard Harper (School of Computing and Communications), and Professor Linda Woodhead (Politics, Philosophy and Religion). Founded in 2015, it has hosted fellows from FST, FASS, FHM and LUMS.


In addition to the annual team of fellows, some 270 Lancaster academics and researchers are active in ISF events and research activities. The ISF routinely collaborates with researchers in all three other Institutes and a large number of research centres (e.g. CASS, CeMoRe, Imagination, LEC, LUCC, The Pentland Centre, The Ruskin Centre, Lancaster Energy, LIRA, and others). Beyond campus, the ISF has established outreach into the wider region and internationally by way of its weekly Breakfast Briefings, its twice-termly Global Futures Lectures, its project-specific events, and its project plenaries. Its national advisory board comprises leading figures in politics, business and the arts. Its international profile is expanding with formal connections being developed with other futures institutes.


In October 2018, the Institute for Social Futures formed a collaborative partnership with the Material Science Institute to deliver the Lancaster University Leverhulme Doctoral Training Centre in Material Social Futures. This will operate for seven years and is developing a distinctive PGT offering.



Application procedure


To apply, please send a short (around 2 page) CV and a 250 word summary of your project-in-development and how it would benefit from the kinds future-forming, cross-disciplinary conversations that ISF facilitates.


The fellowship is for one year, beginning in late September (after that fellows can continue to participate in ISF on a voluntary basis). Fellows set aside one day a week in term-time to develop their projects and to meet together every Tuesday morning (in term-time). Fellows should be offered relief from other duties for one day a week by their departments, subject to the approval of the Head of Department or PI.


The benefits of ISF fellowship flow to departments as well as faculties and universities. All research funds and REF outputs obtained or enhanced by ISF flow directly into departments. Prior to applying please discuss this with your head of department, PI or supervisor as applicable.


If you have questions on the application, please contact one of the directors (Rebecca Braun r.braun@lancaster.ac.uk; Richard Harper r.harper@lancaster.ac.uk; or Linda Woodhead l.woodhead@lancaster.ac.uk). If you would like to be kept informed of ISF’s activities without becoming a member please subscribe to our newsletter by sending an email to isf@lancaster.ac.uk with the Subject Title: Newsletter Subscription.


Initial applications should be sent to isf@lancaster.ac.uk and received no later than March 22nd, 2019.


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