BERA Research Commissions 2018/2020

BERA will be awarding funding for up to three commissions which will run between 2018-2020.  Two will address clear themes as identified by BERA Council (outlined below) and the third will be reserved for a team comprised predominantly of early career researchers (ECR).

The overall aim of the Research Commissions is to identify and address issues of current importance to the study and practice of education which may have future consequences for the discipline and its research communities. They will explore how educational research can respond to the challenges and opportunities raised by the changing nature of education across the four nations.

BERA Council has stipulated that successful proposals will address at least one of the following overarching areas of interest:

Proposals should make clear which of these themes is being addressed and how in the application process. BERA reserves the right not to award a commission if insufficient quality proposals are submitted.

The ECR commission is in part made possible by funding from our publishing partners at Wiley. The theme of that commission is not specified, and proposals are invited. For the purposes of this award, ECRs are defined as being within 5 years of completing their PhD or equivalent qualification


Each of the Commissions will address an issue of strategic importance, setting out a case for why such an issue matters now. The Commissions’ findings will provide both theoretical rigour and an evidence base that can help set the strategic direction and aspirations of BERA and influence how it engages with other learned societies, research councils, government and the education community more broadly.

The specific approach and methodology will be for each Commission to agree for itself at the point of application.

The Commissions should have an impact strategy that will allow the reports to be disseminated and find a use within the wider community. The potential for impact should be built it into the tender specification with a brief to think creatively about how to do this.

We expect there to be tangible outcome of each proposal. This might be in the way of a seminar series or commissioned papers.

We also expect both a short interim report on the progress of the Commissions and then a final report including recommendations for any next steps. While direct recommendations can be made for BERA to develop the work of the commission, the intention is that this funding will allow for further work without the need for further funding from BERA. It is the responsibility of each commission to decide what recommendations are appropriate and how to follow these up in the future.


BERA would like these Commissions to help the discipline, working alongside practitioners and policy-makers, to contribute to and lead current debates. We would encourage involvement of those from other disciplines and from policymakers and practitioners as well as members of BERA. The Commissions should aim to bring together groups of academic researchers, postgraduate students and non-academic users.

The proposal should explain how different groups of participants (such as academics, research students, new researchers and research users,) will be identified and involved in the Commission’s work. It should be noted that we wish to encourage the development of research capacity through involving postgraduate students and early career researchers.

We recognise that international collaboration has tremendous potential to add value to research and increase impact, and therefore encourage applicants to consider engaging overseas researchers and stakeholders in their proposal.


Efficiency, cost-effectiveness and value for money should be clearly demonstrated. This call on has a limited budget; and funding for any one Commission is up to £12,000 for each. This would cover some bought in secretariat support, travel, commissioned papers and publications. Funding can be used to support:

  • travel and expenses for speakers and participants
  • administrative costs
  • stationery, postage, copying and telephone costs
  • hire of rooms and facilities.

In addition to this direct funding, BERA will provide:

  • Event organisation for any events relating to the work of the Commission (these must be stipulated at the time of application and any direct costs included in the budget)
  • Report editing and design for the final report from each Commission
  • Dissemination to BERA members and wider contacts

Criteria for assessment

Proposals have all been submitted on a proforma and applicants were told that the assessment will focus on the following aspects of their proposal:

  • The aims and objectives of the proposed Commission, including the extent to which proposal ideas are innovative and address BERA’s priority areas
  • The planned outputs and likely impact

Each proposal will be judged as to its:

  • Relevance
  • Clarity
  • Quality
  • Significance

How to apply

Please complete the attached application form and return to the BERA office by 12pm on Monday 15th October 2018. Applications should be submitted to