Research and Development Grants Programme for 2014

Initial, brief applications for this programme are now invited. Proposals should take into consideration our current research priorities. This year, a number of research gaps have been identified within our priority areas and we would particularly welcome applications that address these gaps (identified below). However, submissions relevant to other areas will be considered on their merits.

Grants of up to £60,000 in total, over one to three years, are available.

Research teams should familiarise themselves with our current research projects and ensure that their proposals address distinct themes.


Applications are rated by:

  • how achievable the project is;
  • whether it is value for money;
  • how rigorous is the methodology employed;
  • how impactful the
    project is likely to be; and
  • how clearly the proposal aligns with current research priorities



Wednesday, 11th December 2013
Deadline for electronic receipt of brief, initial application forms. Hard copy not required. All applications will be acknowledged – if you have not received an acknowledgement, we have not received your application.

Monday, 20th January 2014

Applicants will either be informed that their initial bid was unsuccessful or be requested to submit a full application.


Wednesday, 26th March 2014

Deadline for electronic receipt of full applications.
One completely signed hard copy must be delivered to the Alcohol Research UK office.


Thursday, 22nd May 2014

Notification of final decisions on full applications will be sent.


Research Priorities:


Research priority 1: Identification, treatment and recovery

We invite research exploring ‘what works’ in identification, treatment and recovery. In particular, research identifying common factors in effective treatment as well as exploring and evaluating recovery-based programmes. We will also consider studies of interventions and brief interventions in non-medical settings (such as the workplace, prisons or service providers), as well as those medical settings where solid evidence is not yet available. We would welcome research evaluating the impact of moving public health to local authorities on the commissioning of treatment services.


For 2014 we would particularly encourage research in the following areas:

  1. Alcohol use and treatment among prisoners and prison-leavers
  2. Evaluating recovery-based programmes
  3. Common factors in effective treatment


Research priority 2: Policy and culture change

We invite proposals evaluating the impact of policy on cultural change. This could include research into the role of licensing in shaping purchasing behaviours, or the evaluation of local initiatives to tackle alcohol harms. We would welcome research into the regulatory process: how licensing boards reach decisions; what factors impacton that process; and how relevant stakeholders work in partnership. This could include archival and / or qualitative observational studies. Historical research on the relationship between policy and culture (e.g. comparisons with smoking) is also welcome. We would also consider research on non-regulatory ‘nudge’ techniques that seek to extend understanding of behaviour-change in the drinking environment.


For 2014 we would particularly encourage research in the following areas:

  1. The process of alcohol licensing and its role in reducing harms
  2. Historical studies of the role of policy in encouraging culture change
  3. The impact of local partnerships and harm reduction initiatives
  4. Analyses of interventions in the drinking and retail environment (e.g. initiatives to reduce sale of alcohol to intoxicated customers)


Research priority 3: Marketing and media

The role of media communications in drinking cultures is increasingly important. We invite innovative research looking at this area and addressing key methodological questions. This may include qualitative research on the interpretation of marketing messages, in particular regarding social media communications; research exploring robust methods for analysing media content; or proposals addressing regulatory challenges presented by contemporary marketing and exploring appropriate policy responses. We are particularly concerned with the ways in which different types of media, including social media, combine in multi-platform marketing environments.


For 2014 we would particularly encourage research in the following areas:

  1. The relationship between media representations and policy change
  2. Methods for analysing media content


Research priority 4: Information and education

Schools-based education remains commonplace, but we invite research which explores the role and efficacy of education programmes in a wider range of contexts. This may include research on effective parental education; the effective use of digital media to promote alcohol awareness; education programmes in youth services and elsewhere, or strategies for the effective dissemination of research findings.


For 2014 we would particularly encourage research in the following areas:

  1. Parental / family education and support
  2. Health promotion and education using digital media


Research priority 5: Developing research methods

We invite proposals seeking to broaden our understanding of research methods across the alcohol field. These may include innovative methods for effectively measuring consumption; new ways of analysing or developing existing research databases; methods for more accurately segmenting consumer groups (and moving beyond broad averages for measuring consumption); strategies for improving follow-up response rates etc. in cohort studies; methods for evaluating policy impact; or methods for accurately measuring media content and influence.


For 2014 we would particularly encourage research in the following areas:

  1. Methods in qualitative research on alcohol
  2. Promoting recruitment and retention in alcohol research (including use of innovative technologies)
  3. Development and / or linkage of outcome indicators for treatment


The following considerations apply to all applications


Cross-cutting theme: drinking in the lifecourse

Where appropriate, we strongly encourage proposals to consider drinking across the lifecourse and in a range of settings.
This includes underage consumption, youth drinking, student drinking, post-university consumption, workplace consumption, home drinking, parental drinking, ‘empty-nest’ behaviours, middle-age, drinking in retirement and so forth. Proposals need not cover all (or more than one) of these stages, but we would encourage proposals to explicitly consider how the research relates to lifecourse issues.


Methodology and Researchabilty

Applications must persuade referees and our Grants Advisory Panel that the ability to collect robust evidence is at the heart of the proposal. Where relevant, proposals must show that sampling and analysis methods are reliable, seek to avoid biases, and take account of potential issues such as low response and follow-up rates.