Pandemics and Cities

The deadline for applications to this award has now passed.
Any future rounds of funding will be announced via the USF mailing list (see bottom of page).

The Urban Studies Foundation (USF) is pleased to launch a new funding initiative: Pandemics and Cities. Eligible research proposals may focus on either COVID-19 specifically, or on other major infectious disease outbreaks. The USF will provide up to £25,000 seed-funding for innovative interdisciplinary and partnered research that helps gain deeper understanding of the social, political, economic, cultural and/or environmental dimensions of pandemics on urban lives and places. Projects must clearly demonstrate a meaningful research partnership between a minimum of two organisations. It is expected that applicants will be able to explain how they aim to develop these pilot proposals towards longer projects in the future, beyond USF seed-funding. Research outcomes should deliver key learnings towards issues of local, national and/or global concern.

The USF seeks to make up to four awards, each up to a maximum of £25,000, provided suitable high-quality applications are forthcoming.

Terms and eligibility:

Please see the Further Particulars document below for full terms and eligibility. Terms include:

  • Up to three individual co-applicants may apply to the funding. Applicants must be at or above the level of post-doctoral researcher, unless they are a PhD candidate applying along with their academic supervisor. At least one applicant must have a permanent post at a recognised higher education or research institution.
  • Projects must comprise significant collaboration between at least two partner organisations. Partner organisations must provide (at minimum) clearly documented support for the project that represents a meaningful collaboration in terms of (a) partnership funding towards the project budget AND/OR (b) other essential in-kind material resources (e.g. use of office space, infrastructure, etc.).
  • Projects must be supported by a single host institution for the purposes of administering the grant funding. The host institution may also be one of the partner institutions, but must be a recognised public research body or other non-profit institution.
  • The proposed research may intersect with pandemics across a variety of fields and topics, but should still have extremely clear connections to the discipline of urban studies (see Further Particulars document for more details).

All prospective applicants should ensure that they have consulted the Further Particulars for this funding, to ensure that they understand all the terms and eligibility requirements.

Applications must include (at minimum):

  • Full proposal detailing the topic and purpose of the research project, including the form of the partnership, projected timeline, research outputs, and future plans.
  • Details of up to three co-applicants, with CVs, referee contact details, and the names of any other team members.
  • Research partner support letters, detailing support and collaboration in the project.
  • Budget statement and supporting evidence.

Documents and application form:

Further Particulars (.pdf)

Frequently Asked Questions (.pdf)


Please note:

  • It is recommended that applicants should draft research proposals offline (e.g. in word), and then paste these into the application form fields. Proposal text formatting is not permitted (i.e. no colours, bold, or italic text). To assist with this, a template form is available to download here.
  • A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and Further Particulars documents above may be updated to add clarification at any point until the deadline, and prospective applicants should check these for any updates before submitting their application.

Other details:

In addition, all applicants will be requested to voluntarily complete an anonymous Equality & Diversity Monitoring Form after the application deadline. This form and any information volunteered with it is not used in the assessment process and will be separated from individual applications. It is only used for monitoring who applies to USF awards on aggregate, so that the USF may regularly assess and improve how it advertises and administers its grant funding.

Decisions will normally be made within eight weeks of the closing deadline for this award, and all applicants will be contacted regarding their application outcome. The USF regrets that it cannot offer any feedback on applications, and all decisions are final.

All prospective applicants should ensure that they have carefully consulted the Further Particulars for this funding scheme before applying. Before contacting the USF to discuss or query details regarding this funding, applicants should also consult the Frequently Asked Questions (documents may be updated and amended during the call).

Applicants wishing to discuss their proposal informally, or with questions regarding the online application process, should contact USF Managing Director, Joe Shaw: