Innovation & Enterprise


Apply to run an event for ESRC’s Festival of Social Science 2024

8 July 2024

Applications are now open for UCL researchers to run events as part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science.

Logo for the Economic and Social Research Council's Festival of Social Science

The ESRC Festival of Social Science (FoSS) will run from 19 October to 9 November 2024.

If you want to run an event as part of the festival, you’ll need to complete the expressions of interest form by 29 July 2024.

You can apply for up to £1,000 to help run your event.

All events which are part of the festival will be listed on ESRC’s Festival of Social Science website.

Who can apply

Academic staff from all disciplines are welcome to apply. You don't need to be a social scientist to participate, as long as your event has a close alignment to the festival theme and a social science component.

Applications are welcome from any member of staff at UCL, regardless of career stage. 

About the Festival of Social Science

The festival is an annual, national event that showcases leading social science research or social science-related events.

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.

Target audience

The ESRC is keen for the festival to increase its reach with public and youth audiences. Events listed as being for these audiences must be tailored to them and engaging for attendees.

At least 80% of events hosted by UCL should be targeted at public and/or youth audiences. A maximum of 20% should be targeted at other non-academic groups such as policymakers, professionals, businesses or third-sector organisations.

Festival theme: Our Digital Lives

The theme of this year’s festival is ’Our Digital Lives’.

Events can cover any aspect of the relationship between humans and digital technology.

How to apply

Before you apply, you should read the Festival Event Leader Pack (pdf). The pack contains further information on the aims of the festival and criteria for events.

To apply, please complete the Expression of interest form and submit it by noon on 29 July 2024.

Your application will be assessed by UCL’s FoSS planning group and you’ll be informed of the outcome by 5 August 2024.

After you’ve started to fill in the form, the information is saved as long as you do not change browsers or log out of your Microsoft account. Note that only one person can access the form as it's accessed through your UCL Microsoft login.

Information you need to provide

On the form you’ll need to provide:

  • event title and description
  • location, date, timings and capacity (if known)
  • a list of who will be involved in the planning, development and delivery of the event
  • estimated cost breakdown

You’ll also need to explain:

  • how your event aligns with the theme of this year’s festival
  • who you want to engage with through your event, and what they’ll gain from attending
  • how you’ll engage audiences/attendees, including how you’ll work towards removing potential barriers they may face in attending/participating in the event

What costs can be covered

Eligible costs which can be covered by the funding include: 

  • capacity building
  • external support
  • transport to events for those who might otherwise be unable to attend (for example bus hire for schools or transport costs for those from low-income backgrounds)
  • any type of engagement activities that directly support the festival objectives

The following costs are not supported:  

  • Salaried staff costs. (However, we can pay hourly invoiceable/ ‘timesheet’ type costs, provided that an auditable trail is kept that shows why the costs are justifiable in terms of creating value for the public.)
  • Alcohol, and substantial food and beverage offerings. (However, light refreshments such as tea, coffee, juice and biscuits can be covered.)
  • Goody bags or substantial giveaways. (However, modest value items where appropriate, such as prizes for a young people’s competition, are OK.)

There are some acceptable payments for an individual's time which can be found in the Festival Event Leader Pack.

Criteria applications will be assessed against

When assessing your application, the UCL’s FoSS planning group will be looking for:

  • Consistency with the festival’s strategic objectives and aims
  • Awareness of public concerns and topical relevancy
  • Targeting of specific audiences, particularly the public and young people
  • Innovative and interactive events
  • Realistic costing estimates and value for money
  • The event must take place within the festival dates (19 October to 9 November 2024)