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Institute for Social Justice

Apply for a Community Research Grant 2023

Information about application criteria and how the application process works.

On this page:

Application process  |  Criteria  |  Delivery  |  FAQs

We are inviting proposals from voluntary, charity and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to our 2023 Community Research Grant programme.

The programme will provide funding for University academics to work with VCSE organisations on research co-designed with those organisations. Through this process we hope that the research will be relevant and impactful.

By research we mean the generating of new knowledge or understanding about the world. This might include generating evidence about impact, reviewing best-practice, engaging with participants/stakeholders, co-designing new activities, mapping case studies, conducting organisations reviews and more.

We are seeking proposals from VCSE organisations in the Yorkshire and Humberside region and also in East London for collaborations with the University's London Campus. Please see the FAQs for more details of eligible boroughs.

The Institute for Social Justice will then select a number of these proposals and 'match' them with University-based researchers, who will be funded to work in partnership to undertake the research.

You can apply now through our application form, or read more about the programme and application process below.

Apply now for Community Research Grant 2023

Application process

We appreciate how much time can be spent on writing funding bids. We are therefore keeping the proposal stage light touch and will host briefing events to ensure clear understanding of the scheme and its objectives.

2023 Community Research Grants are launched.

You can now apply through our application form.

Community Research Grant Application form

10.00am to 11.30am


Briefing event for VCSE organisations, hosted by Social Vision.

This open event gives an introduction to the scheme. It is an opportunity for you to ask general questions about the grants.

Book your place (Eventbrite)

10.00am to 11.30am

Microsoft Teams

Briefing event for VCSE organisations.

This open event gives an introduction to the scheme. It is an opportunity for you to ask general questions about the grants.

Book your place (Eventbrite)

10.00am to 11.30am

Microsoft Teams

Briefing event for VCSE organisations.

This open event gives an introduction to the scheme. It is an opportunity for you to ask general questions about the grants.

Book your place (Eventbrite)

10.00am to 11.30am


Briefing event for VCSE organisations, hosted by Social Vision. 

This open event gives an introduction to the scheme. It is an opportunity for you to ask general questions about the grants.

Book your place (Eventbrite)

We are not expecting VCSE groups to submit an 'academic' proposal, nor to frame research methodologies, nor to propose budgets. What we are looking for are themes, issues, questions that concern you along with a sense of how research into this would align with and benefit the purpose of your organisation.

The application form will ask you the following questions:

  1. Please outline the nature of your organisation, what do you do, how do you deliver it, and what is your community and social impact. (300 words)
  2. What do you want help with? What do you want to know more about, what questions/issue/theme would you like help researching? (300 words)
  3. How would you hope this research would benefit your organisation and your ability to delivery on your core purpose? (300 words)
  4. What support could you offer and how would you facilitate the research to happen? This might include in-kind support (space, time, contacts) that will make the research possible. (300 words)

Proposals will be matched with York St John researchers and allocated a budget.

This stage will have opportunities for discussion and meetings between VCSE groups and researchers before agreement is reached. We are looking for strong and genuine connections and understandings.

Projects undertaken. Light touch reporting and evaluation will be required. 


There are 3 main criteria for funding.

1. Benefit to VCSE organisation

We are looking for a clear sense of how the research and insights generated will benefit the VCSE organisation and through that support social justice. This might be through evidencing impact, developing best practice, expanding delivery, changing strategies or more.

2. Community and social justice impact

We want to support projects where research can have a strong community and social justice impact. We are looking for proposals motivated by the desire for greater equality and opportunity for all. We want to work with VCSE groups with strong community focus and that are community-led.

3. Potential for strong University / VCSE partnership

We will support projects where there is a good match with appropriate York St John research expertise and interest. We are looking for openness to partnerships and genuine connections between academic and community partners. Potential for ongoing collaboration and joint outputs will be advantageous.


Depending on proposals received, we anticipate that we will support 4 to 6 projects. The support will consist primarily of funding researcher time and expertise to work with your organisation, along with direct research expenses.

Projects can be a maximum of 10 months long.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

The Community Research Grant is new, so we may discover unanticipated issues as we go along. However, we have anticipated some FAQs that we hope are useful.

We are looking to support voluntary, charity and social enterprise organisations operating within Yorkshire and Humberside.

We are also looking for organisations in East London to work with our London Campus. This includes the boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, City of London, Greenwich, Hackney, Havering, Islington, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, and Waltham Forest.

Priority will be given to organisations that have a strong community-led ethos and/or incorporate significant community participation. We are particularly keen to work with smaller, local organisations.

Groups have to be formally constituted in some fashion and have a track record of delivery and social engagement.

The funding will be used by the Institute for Social Justice to support and undertake the research with your organisation.

Note that in the proposal stage you are not asked about budget, which will be developed in collaboration with the academic researchers. It is anticipated that the majority of the budget will be spent on researcher time, however additional costs incurred by your organisations in order to engage with the research are eligible.

This scheme allows you to initiate and commission a piece of research that addresses something of direct interest and benefit to your organisation.

This might relate to social or economic impacts, to developing best practice, or to expanding delivery. Proposals might be specific or fairly speculative, the important thing is that you have a genuine interest in the process and findings.

Often research is designed and initiated in universities or government. We are looking to open the process and operate in a more inclusive and democratic manner.

By bringing the process closer to the communities that are most impacted by the research we hope to ensure research is more relevant and impactful. We wish to challenge some of the hierarchical relationships between the researched and the researcher.

The Institute for Social Justice are working with Social Vision to gain input on all stages of the process from the perspective of a VCSE organisation. This ensures the programme is accessible, responsive and relevant.

We are keeping this broad – any activity that has a strong and clear community and social justice benefit is eligible.

The project will fund qualitative and/or quantitative research from across a range of academic disciplines (such as psychology, sociology, business, sports, arts, humanities, law, linguistics and more).

No priority is being given to a particular research area or methodological approach – research might use a range of approaches as required to address your proposal. We will select proposals where there is a strong match to academic expertise and interest at York St John University.

Proposals will be reviewed against the criteria. The strongest will be circulated to researchers at York St John who will be asked to develop a research proposal in response.

We will then set up conversations between the VCSE groups and researchers to ensure a good and genuine match. Only after this point will successful projects be confirmed.

It may be that your organisation already has a relationship with a York St John University researcher. That is fine, you are still eligible. However, this should not be taken either as an advantage or a disadvantage.

York St John University has made £50,000 available to the Institute for Social Justice to develop community engaged research.

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