What is the process for applying for research funding?

The evaluation of bids in response to invitations to tender for research is performed by GambleAware's Research & Evaluation Committee. In the case of treatment and harm prevention-related invitations to tender, it is the GambleAware Education & Treatment Committee that reviews submissions and advises GambleAware's full board of trustees. The minutes of these meetings may list all the applicants as well as identifying those to whom grants are awarded. 

Unfortunately GambleAware cannot accept unsolicited proposals.

If you are a researcher and wish to receive notification of any new invitations to tender for research that are issued by GambleAware, please email us and request to be added to the GambleAware 'ITT database'.

How do you appoint researchers?

We generally issue calls for proposals for all major research projects we commission.

What is your annual research budget?

We allocate around 15% of our income each year to research.

What is your data reuse policy?

GambleAware follows Research Council policy regarding data reuse. Research data is a public good which should be available for full exploitation. GambleAware commissioned research generates a range of datasets of potential value. While such datasets can contain commercial or sensitive data, data reuse practice enables data sharing even in this context.

Researchers are required to make available for reuse, primary data collected or generated during research or derived from existing sources, in a timely way, with as few restrictions as possible, compliant with ethics, privacy and intellectual property. Non-deposit of research data is an exception which must be justified. Specifically, research is required to adhere to the following requirements and include in ITT Responses a data management and sharing plan, with costs for this included in ITT Responses.

  • Demonstrate no suitable data is available for reuse before creating new data
  • Make openly available research data, free of charge, as open data, safeguarded data or controlled data, with these different levels of security depending on the sensitivity and confidentially of the data
  • Take account of legal, ethical and commercial constraints on release of research data, and plan at the initiation and through the research cycle how these will be managed, with the aim of maximising data reuse. This includes, where appropriate, obtaining informed consent for data sharing, anonymising data, and seeking data-sharing approval as part of ethical review  
  • Provide sufficient metadata to ensure research data are discoverable and independently understood without recourse to the creator, and for the creators of the data to be cited
  • Make data which supports published research outputs findable and accessible at the same time as published outputs as far as possible. Publications should state how underlying research materials, including data, samples or models, can be accessed
  • Deposit data for reuse with a responsible digital repository, which meets Research Council requirements, and which provides data assets in a way which are findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. GambleAware may, in certain circumstances, specify the data repository with which the data should be deposited
  • Intellectual property contributions of researchers in the creation of data are recognised through citation, and abiding by the terms and conditions under which data is accessed. Researchers may apply to have a limited period of privileged use of the data to enable them to publish their results (usually no more than 12 months from the end of the project).

Who determines what research you commission?

The Advisory Board for Safer Gambling (ABSG) advises the Gambling Commission and, in turn, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), on research, education and treatment programmes needed to support a national strategy to reduce gambling harms and associated funding requirements. Responsibilities for commissioning research are shared between us and ABSG under the terms of an agreement signed in 2012.

The Advisory Board for Safer Gambling has responsibility for:

  • The establishment and maintenance of a detailed research strategy - a thematic framework of research questions relating to the priority areas identified within the broader responsible gambling strategy. 
  • The production and publication, at the appropriate time, of a project brief for each significant project or programme within the research strategy. The project briefs will outline the policy context and need for the research, explain how it fits with the strategic priorities and identify the research questions to be addressed.

GambleAware has responsibility for:

  • Developing, maintaining and delivering its own commissioning plan after considering the ABSG research strategy and seeking to deliver as much of that strategy as possible while meeting the Trust’s overall charitable objects.
  • The issue of Invitations to Tender (ITTs) for each major project. 
  • The evaluation of bids in response to ITTs and the issue of contracts to the successful bidder.
    Ensuring the quality of commissioned research through the establishment of appropriate steering groups of qualified individuals. 
  • Ensuring a process of robust peer review. 
  • Publishing research papers.

What it your policy on ethics and data protection?

GambleAware requires research to comply at all times with good practice in research ethics and with data protection legislation. This is especially the case as much of the research commissioned involves vulnerable people.

Researchers must:

  • Follow the code of practice for their discipline. Where there is not a discipline specific code of practice, the Economic and Social Research Council framework for research ethics must be followed
  • Set out in bids how they will address issues of ethics and protection of personal data, which will be taken into consideration in the evaluation of Responses
  • Obtain ethical approval prior to commencement which must include scrutiny by an ethics review panel independent of the research team. Responses must state how ethical approval will be obtained
  • Report in final reports on how ethical approval, ethical concerns and data protection were addressed in the research.

How do you determine when to publish research?

Researchers are free to publish research when it is ready (following peer review). We will not delay publication for political or commercial reasons. Partners who participate in research e.g. by providing data or access to venues, and the media, may from time to time be given embargoed copies of completed research but this is only ever in its final published form and cannot be amended in any way at this stage.

What happens if the gambling industry tries to influence researchers?

We include a "whistle-blowing" clause which guarantees researchers can walk away from projects we've commissioned and still receive their full grant if they demonstrate that industry has made any attempt to unduly influence their work.  Equally, if we discover that any research we are funding has been unduly influenced with the connivance of the researchers, we can cancel the grant.

Some researchers refuse to do work funded by the gambling industry, in spite of these safeguards. Would it not be better for the government to fund this research independently?

GambleAware is an independent charity, funded by donations from the gambling industry. The industry has no influence over the direction of our research commissioning strategy (see Who determines what research you commission? above). We work within the current system, but are open to reform if ministers decided there was a better approach.  We have previously sought to work through academic funding bodies, but they found themselves unable to award any funds after peer review of the applications they received. We are also regulated by the Charity Commission which is independent of the government, reporting directly to the Crown – in other jurisdictions where government regulators commission research, there is often controversy about whether concerns about the revenue impact of gambling undermines independence.