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Closed: Funding call: improving equality, diversity and inclusion

Call for applications for funding for research on improving EDI within modern slavery research in the UK.

Published: 21st April 2022

The Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre (Modern Slavery PEC) has issued a funding call for research on improving equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within modern slavery research in the UK.

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are important values for the Modern Slavery PEC, as outlined in our EDI Strategy and Action Plan. We are committed to ensuring that people with different experiences, backgrounds and expertise have fair and equal access to opportunities the Centre provides. We aim to embed EDI across all our work, including our operations, the research we fund, networks we develop and participate in, and across all the activities we deliver.

Improving EDI within the UK research sector is a priority for many research funders, as set out in strategies and action plans across the sector. However, the scale and nature of EDI, including barriers and opportunities for improvements in modern slavery research, have not been systematically researched and analysed. In their Action Plan, the UK BAME Anti-slavery Network (BASNET) highlighted that modern slavery and human trafficking research is insufficiently informed by people affected by modern slavery, including people from ethnic minority backgrounds, recommending an audit of the place of race and ethnicity in the funding of research.

The Modern Slavery PEC believes its ability to bring together academics, policymakers, businesses, civil society and people affected by modern slavery means we are well placed to fund a responsive research project to improve EDI within the modern slavery research sector. This project forms one of the aims of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy and Action Plan.

About the call

The aim of this call is to understand and assess the diversity of those funding, designing, undertaking and participating in UK publicly funded modern slavery research. This project should focus on protected characteristics (as defined by the 2010 Equality Act): age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. Consideration should also be given to how this interacts with people with lived experience of modern slavery and those from different socio-economic backgrounds, academic disciplines, career experience and academic statuses.


  1. Generate new data and insights on EDI within publicly funded modern slavery research in the UK and use this to identify the most significant EDI challenges and opportunities. This should focus on all legally protected characteristics, with consideration given to how this correlates with the inclusion of people with lived experience, those from different socio-economic backgrounds, academic disciplines, career stage and those outside of academia.
  2. Identify examples of best practice within modern slavery research, assessing their effectiveness and impact. This should include examples where diverse groups or individuals (including those with lived experience) are effectively and equitably included in research, and those that use innovative methods to include diverse groups or individuals.
  3. Develop detailed, comprehensive and implementable recommendations and relevant resources based on these insights and examples of best practice for research funders such as the Modern Slavery Policy and Evidence Centre, and others working on modern slavery research.


Potential methods or approaches should include:

  • A quantitative assessment of the diversity of those funding, designing, undertaking and participating in publicly funded modern slavery research in the UK. Consideration should be given to new data collection and analysis as appropriate.
  • Qualitative research and data collection from an appropriate number and range of stakeholders to understand EDI challenges, barriers and opportunities in modern slavery research.
  • An assessment of an appropriate number of EDI initiatives within the sector, identifying any best practice examples. Applicants should set out their criteria for assessing interventions in bids and proposed methodologies for assessing impact.

Type of funding

This call is part of the Modern Slavery PEC Responsive Research mechanism that has been created to fund responsive and agile research projects. It is led directly by the Modern Slavery PEC, but is funded and actively supported by the Arts and Humanities Council (AHRC).

Working with the Modern Slavery PEC

In accordance with the Modern Slavery PEC’s strategic objective of facilitating collaboration, successful teams will work in collaboration with the Modern Slavery PEC throughout the project to ensure alignment with our objectives and to maximise impact. This will include developing the research methodology and developing outputs such as the full report and summary briefing, as well as their dissemination.

Budget and eligibility

The Modern Slavery PEC has allocated a maximum budget of £80,000 at 100% full economic cost (FEC) for this project. We expect to fund one project for this work. Projects may be led by either a UK higher education institution, an approved research organisation eligible to receive UKRI funding or a charity registered in the UK with a focus on modern slavery or EDI. Project teams must include at least one academic or research organisation and one UK based third sector organisation.

  • Charities registered in the UK may apply for up to 50% of the project’s budget, they will be funded at 100% FEC (for every £1 spent, they receive £1 of funding, so the Modern Slavery PEC covers 100% of the full economic cost of the project)
  • International organisations are eligible to apply as partners to this call, they can receive a maximum budget of 30% and will also receive their funding at 100% FEC
  • The combined UK registered charity and international costs can account for a maximum of 50% of the total budget of the project

For full budget details, see the call document.

How to apply

You can find the full details and specification of the call in the call document below, as well as the project costing template, examples of funding scenarios and a sample contract.

The applications to this call must be made through our online form.

All applications will be reviewed by an assessment panel convened by the Modern Slavery PEC that will include external independent reviewers.

The deadline for applications is 16 June 2022.

The decision on the award of the funding will be made by 6 July 2022, with the project due to start on 1 August 2022 and finish by 28 February 2023.

Call Webinar and FAQ

We held a call webinar on 5 May 2022 to go through the scope of the call and answer questions from potential applicants. Please see the recording of the webinar and frequently asked questions document below.

Call for reviewers

The Modern Slavery PEC is seeking a more equitable way of assessing applications to funding calls. To do this, we are looking for a range of individuals and expertise to independently assess the applications to this funding call and participate in a panel discussion to review bids and select the successful research project. This will require up to two days of your time, with remuneration for reviewers from non-academic organisations where appropriate.

If you are an expert in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and how this relates to research or modern slavery, we would like to hear from you. We are particularly interested in expressions of interest from experts and academics who have not engaged with the Modern Slavery PEC before. The Modern Slavery PEC is committed to being inclusive and diverse, and particularly encourages expressions of interest from women, people with disabilities, Black, Asian, and minority ethnic applicants, LGBTQ+ applicants and other minorities, as well as those who have been directly affected by modern slavery.

Please note that if you, or an organisation that you are linked to, are applying for funding under this call, you will not be eligible to participate in this opportunity due to the Modern Slavery PEC’s conflict of interest policy. However, we will be looking for reviewers for future research calls, so be sure to join our mailing list for future opportunities.

Expressions of interest will be assessed by two members of the Modern Slavery PEC team and decisions will be made on the basis of:

  • relevant knowledge and experience of Equality Diversity and Inclusion
  • relevant knowledge and experience of research or evidence generation.

We anticipate the reading time and panel meeting will account for approximately two days of work with all duties being carried out online. Please note that, where appropriate, we will offer remuneration for reviewers from non-academic organisations. Please indicate if you would like to request payment when applying. This will not impact on the assessment of your expression of interest.

To apply, please send a maximum of two paragraphs outlining your experience and how you meet the criteria to office@modernslaverypec.org by 27 May 2022. We will be assessing expressions of interest on a rolling basis and therefore reserve the right to close this opportunity in advance of the end of May.

We will be in touch with all who expressed interest in this opportunity in early June. We will set out the requirements of successful reviewers at this stage, and offer any training needed to take part in the panel. The panel meeting will be held in the morning of 29 June 2022, so please ensure you are free at this time before applying.

If you have any additional questions about this opportunity, please contact office@modernslaverypec.org.