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Phase III Research Specification

For the full Phase III Research Specification

For the formal Call for Proposals and the "Guidelines and advice for applicants" on the ESRC website -

Research in Phase III will focus on post-compulsory education, work-based learning and lifelong / adult learning. The remit also covers people moving between learning in different sectors, including transitions from school, and teacher / trainer education.

Approximately 9 million is available to support research projects under this Call for Proposals. Applications are invited for projects led by researchers based at Higher Education Institutions and independent research institutes recognised by the ESRC in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As with earlier phases of the Programme the core objective will be to support research which focuses on improving outcomes for learners. This will be pursued through partnerships between practitioners and policy makers with researchers in all stages of developing research projects, so these generate processes and outcomes which address the needs of policy and practice. Building research capacity will also feature strongly.

The Programme envisages supporting a number of major research projects (up to 1.25 m each) plus a range of complementary smaller projects (over 100,000 but below 500,000) which include a significant element of research capacity development in under-researched areas. Projects are expected to start from mid-2003 onwards and to run for up to five years until the current scheduled end-date of the Programme in December 2008.

B. Timetable

Those interested in bidding for Phase III funding will need to submit Outline Proposals by 15 April 2002. The timetable for Phase III is expected to be as follows:

15 April 2002 Deadline for submission of Outline Applications
early June 2002 Shortlisting decisions announced
mid October 2002 Closing date for Full Applications
January 2003 Applicants respond to peer review comments
April-May 2003 Final funding decisions announced
Summer 2003
Phase III projects commence

C. Workshops

Four Workshops for intending applicants were arranged for January 2002.

York 15 January
Cardiff 22 January
London 24 January
Edinburgh 30 January

These Workshops were designed to brief those considering leading bids for Phase III funding. They were invitation-based events as numbers at each venue are limited, so only one member of each team should normally have participated.

The new Programme Directors will also be happy to discuss research proposals / ideas with individual potential applicants, without prejudice to the Steering Committee's final decisions:

Professor Andrew Pollard
01223 369631,

D. Consultation reports

An extensive process of consultation throughout 2001 informed the development of the Research Specification for Phase III. All these are available for downloading as Word documents:

Six Consultation Seminars were held (click for reports from Edinburgh, York, Belfast, Birmingham, London and Cardiff) A Questionnaire was sent to a wide range of interested organisations, groups and individuals (a Summary of Questionnaire responses will be available here) 13 Focus groups were held with groups of hard-to-reach learners (a Report on the Focus Group Discussions, including detailed appendices of anonymised quotations from group members will be available here). A Summary of these responses was published in our October 2001 Newsletter. Two Capacity Building Seminars were also held (Report)

E. Review of pedagogic research

As a part of the development process the Programme has also commissioned a "Review of Current Pedagogic Research and Practice in the Fields of Post-Compulsory Education and Lifelong Learning". This is being undertaken by a team from the Tavistock Institute led by Dr Elliot Stern (020 7417 0407,   Click here for the Tavistock report.

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