So what's the deal this time?

Research budgets are shrinking, public sector teams are shrinking - both leading to a reduction in both capacity and capability to undertake research in-house or commission research. Because of this, we are noticing that many organisations are not pursuing projects or commissioning a service or starting a campaign without any (or a lack of) evidence or insight. We are big advocates of insight for change programmes so we are pushing for more people to do the research first before jumping straight to solutions but we know how hard this is when budgets and teams are shrinking and there is a need to get things done quickly.

So that's why we are launching the research competition again. We want to prove that strong and actionable insights can be generated without the need for huge budgets. With the right skill sets, experience and team, you’re able to achieve powerful insight that can be used to influence campaigns, policies, programmes and services. You, us - we can make this happen.

Last year’s winners, Design Council, will be using the insight from the research we have delivered to begin facilitating discussions that will break down the barriers to creating healthy places to live and work. The research will be out this autumn so watch this space.

The competition has now launched and entries will close on the 1st October at midnight. We have changed it a bit this year so please have a look at what we are asking this year. Please note: If you require an extension to ensure that you are able to source the match funding required, please contact us so that we are aware of this as we can take this into consideration when evaluating proposals.

What’s different this year?

This year, the competition will work on a match funding basis. We will be providing £5,000 worth of resources towards the research project, but we will require organisations or partnerships to match fund and provide £5,000 worth of funding. Entering this competition will allow you to deliver a project that’s valued at £10,000 for half the cost.

Here’s how you can apply.

In no more than 500 words, applicants must provide a proposal that answers the following:

  • What is the research question? Try to keep this succinct and not too broad.
  • Who is your target audience or who are you trying to influence or reach?
  • What do you want to find out?
  • What is the anticipated impact of the research or what are you trying to achieve or change?

If you want to see the winning bid put in by Design Council last year then click here.

Each question will be marked against an evaluation criteria.

To enter the competition, send your proposal to our senior researcher: ammar@social-change.test. The closing date has been extended to 20th October at 23:59.

Why are you offering match funding?

Not a lot of people know this but we are a social business, this means we re-invest profits back into the company to help it grow, create new jobs and opportunities and invest in training. We also provide free training and knowledge transfer to the public sector and third sector. We also allocate a percentage of our profits to conducting un-commissioned and impartial research into topics and issues that will lead to positive social change.

Questions and answers

Q) What is the equivalency of the capacity for this competition?

A) A qualitative research project within this resource (£10,000) allows for the design, recruitment, facilitation, transcription and analysis of four focus groups (each lasting two hours). Or a mixture of focus groups/ workshops and telephone interviews. The budget covers expenses associated with the project, such as travel and venue hire, incentives for participants as well as analysis, interpretation that will lead to an insight pack with recommendations.

A quantitative research project within this budget allows for the design, recruitment, data collection, analysis and write up of a survey with up to 2,000 responses and some qualitative research such as in depth telephone interviews and group workshops or co-creation. The budget also covers expenses associated with the project (such as travel and venue hire) and an infographic based report with recommendations.

Q) I need to carry out research with a community that doesn't speak English as their first language. Is this included in the £5,000 budget you will be allocating to the project?

A) The £5,000 budget is the time spent designing and delivering the research as well as project management. We would anticipate using the £5,000 match funding you provide to fund translation and interpretation if needed. However, we will provide facilitation services and interviewers. This is something that must be factored into your proposal.

Q) How will incentives be funded?

A) Incentives will also be funded from the £5,000 matched by the organisation. We have extensive experience in carrying out research and understand that people require an exchange in order to take part in research. We have found that incentives of £25 to £35 per person attract enough participants for focus groups.

Q) How will the successful applicant be notified?

A) We will get in touch with all applicants regarding the outcome of their submission. If you are successful, we will arrange for a Skype or telephone call with yourself to discuss the aim of the project and clearly identify the research outcomes and methodology.

Q) What will happen if my submission is successful?

A) Following the initial consultation, we will pull together a project plan and begin working on delivering the project. Our lead researcher will arrange bi-weekly email reports with the successful applicant, updating on the progress of the project and next steps. Upon completion of the research and write up of the report, we will work with yourself to sign-off a final version of the research report and arrange a meeting to present the findings and recommendations to your team.

Q) Can I submit a joint proposal with another organisation?

A) Of course! Partnerships are welcomed.

Q) Who will own intellectual property of the research and insights?

A) As this will be co-funded, intellectual property will be co-owned by Social Change UK and the winners of the competition and will be presented as a joint programme of research.