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UKRI-SBE Lead Agency Opportunity

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The Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) of the US National Science Foundation (NSF) are pleased to announce their continued support of international collaboration under the SBE-UKRI Lead Agency Opportunity. The goal of this activity is to promote transatlantic collaborative research by reducing some of the barriers to conducting international research that researchers may encounter. The SBE-UKRI Lead Agency Opportunity allows US and UK researchers to submit a single collaborative proposal that will undergo a single review process.


Proposals will be accepted for collaborative research in areas at the intersection of NSF/SBE and UKRI’s remits. The primary UK Research Councils participating in this activity are the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Proposers should review the programmes supported through NSF/SBE and through the relevant UK Research Council(s) for further information on what areas of research are eligible for support through this activity. Please see the ‘Specific guidelines’ below for more information.

Collaborative research proposals may be submitted in any disciplinary or interdisciplinary area which falls within the remit of the AHRC, BBSRC and/or ESRC, and NSF/SBE. Please see the SBE website for more details on which SBE programs are eligible.


Proposals are expected to adhere to the proposal sizes and durations for the relevant UK Research Council(s) and SBE programme(s) from which funding is sought. Please see the ‘Specific guidelines’ or the Je-S Guidance below for more information on funding levels available.

Closing Dates

Open - No Deadline

Where AHRC is the lead agency this scheme operates to open deadlines. Where NSF is the lead agency please refer to the NSF webpage for information on specific programme deadlines.

How to make an application

There is a two-stage application process. Stage 1 (Expression of Interest) must be completed prior to Stage 2 (Full Proposal). Please allow ample time (at least three to four weeks) prior to your intended proposal submission target date. Please see the Guidelines below for full details of the submission process and use the Expression of Interest (EOI) template provided below.

This Lead Agency Opportunity is two-way and as such proposals may be submitted to either NSF/SBE (via FastLane) or one of the three participating Research Councils (via Je-S, depending on the remit of the proposed research).

The lead agency should be decided on the basis of where the largest proportion of research lies (financially). Where the AHRC is the lead agency, applicants are required to submit proposals via Je-S in accordance with the requirements outlined in the AHRC Research Funding Guide and according to the Je-S guidance found below.

Further Information

Should you wish to submit a collaborative proposal to the NSF, please see the NSF website.

For further information on the agreement and guidance on submitting a proposal to the AHRC:


For questions not answered in the above information, and to submit Expression of Interests, please email sbeleadagency@ukri.org

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