SPA Opportunity Grants Open: Deadline Friday 3 March 2023

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The Social Policy Association’s Opportunity Grant programme for Spring 2023 is open for applications.

Deadline for applications: 3 March 2023   (Decisions to be communicated by 17 March 2023.)

This scheme is designed to enable events to happen which promote social policy by – for example –  helping to showcase research or teaching and learning issues, beginning conversations, making connections between different academic perspectives, and bringing together academics, students, practitioners, service-users, policymakers and others with a stake in social policy.  They may be UK-focused, or comparative between different national contexts.

For the Spring 2023 round, the grants will be split into two tiers:

Category A

Grants up to £1000

Up to 3 to be awarded in this round

Category B

Grants up to £5000

Up to 2 to be awarded in this round

Splitting them in this way is designed to help maximise the range of events, and – through Category A – to make it easier for smaller, early-stage exploratory projects to take their place alongside those whose scale necessitates a greater level of support (Category B).  Each of these can play a differently vital role in forging partnerships, sharing knowledge, setting agendas and bringing together different perspectives.  Hence we regard both categories as being of equal value.  Category B applications may involve a series of events rather than a single one – or (for example) the establishment and initial stages of a network.  The amount of funds provided under either category will depend on the distribution of applications received.



The subject-matter of the programme is open.  Events addressing any issue in social policy broadly construed will be considered.  However for this round, we have identified two priority areas:

  • Participation by early career researchers
  • Involvement of the third sector

While neither is a strict condition, preference may be given to applications which clearly incorporate these aspects.  Clearly third sector involvement will be more pertinent to some themes and topics than others.  We would suggest that all research-related applications would benefit from having reflected on how best to involve ECRs in the events they propose.



Applications should consist of a plan for the proposed event of no more than two pages.  The plan should include

  • The background and rationale for the proposed event
  • The content of the event
  • Details of planned participants
  • Any outputs or follow-on activity
  • The costs involved

Applications are assessed by members of the SPA executive.  We will apply these criteria:

  • Is this event well-planned and deliverable?
  • Is there clear evidence of the need or demand for this event?
  • Will this event have lasting or ongoing benefits or outputs?
  • Does this event align with the strategic goals and priority areas of the SPA?
  • Does the application offer value for money?

View past examples of successful applications



Recipients of SPA Opportunity Grants will be expected to

  • Publicise their event as widely as possible, including through SPA channels
  • Write a short report after the event for the SPA website
  • Use this as an opportunity to advertise the SPA to potential new SPA members (including marketing via other channels, distribution of SPA leaflets, use of SPA logo, etc.)
  • Make the event as inclusive as possible (attendance need not be limited to SPA members)
  • Raise the profile of the SPA to external agencies (government, independent sector, research centres, etc.) in the UK and other countries as appropriate
  • Share the outcomes of their event via blogs, podcasts and other appropriate media

For recipients of Category B grants, there are two additional expectations:

  • The grant holder is strongly encouraged to devise outputs based on their event(s) – for example articles for the Social Policy Review or any other of the SPA’s publications, or teaching-related materials to be shared via the SPA website
  • The event should be translated into a contribution to the SPA’s annual conference. (Part of the grant may be devoted to funding attendance, with a limit of £1000.)

Applicants must be members of the Social Policy Association

View reports provided by previous Opportunity Grant holders


It is expected that the applicant’s host institution will cover the cost of individual items involved in staging the event and will then invoice the Social Policy Association for this amount.  If this poses problems in your case, please contact the SPA grants officer prior to application.

Please send your application or any enquiries to the SPA Grants Officer, Gideon Calder, via email.

Deadline for applications: 3 March 2023   (Decisions to be communicated by 17 March 2023.)