As part of the RCUK Global Uncertainties Programme, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) wish to commission new, multi-disciplinary and innovative research projects to develop greater understanding of how questions of ethics and rights play out in a security environment, with a focus on governance. The ESRC is therefore launching a call on Ethics and Rights in a Security Context, going live on 19 August 2013.

The call is organised around a number of key issues relating to the topic, leaving scope for researchers to define innovative and multi-disciplinary approaches. The particular focus is on governance viewed through seven broad research themes, which are:

  • Legitimacy
  • Jurisdiction
  • Autonomy
  • Temporality
  • Surveillance
  • Protection
  • Agency

The distinctive nature of this call is that it does not seek to be prescriptive about themes, other than the emphasis on governance. We invite applicants to look at ethics and rights from any perspective.

The commitment to run this initiative is outlined in Global Uncertainties Strategic Plan, 2011-16. It is intended to bring a greater focus to ethics as a framework which can enable and empower policy rather than hinder it.

Applications are invited from collaborative research groups which address a minimum of two of the three Councils’ remits to ensure adequate consideration of the full scope of multi-, inter-, cross-, and trans-disciplinary approaches and research perspectives. This initiative provides an opportunity for social scientists, physical scientists, and arts or humanities researchers to develop proposals to develop a greater understanding of how ethics and rights are related to challenges and risks at different levels of analysis.

The total investment for this call is £2 million – £2.5 million. Closing date for full applications is 16.00 on 21 November 2013. It is anticipated that eight to ten research grants will be awarded; research grants of up to £250,000 (100 per cent fEC) will be available for up to 24 months in duration. These limits are set in terms of the fEC of the grant as estimated using the fEC procedures. The funders will only fund 80 per cent of this cost, or £200,000, and the balance must be guaranteed by the research organisation. We expect all research grants to commence on 1 September 2014.

More information about the call is available here including the full specification