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Announcement for 2005–2006 additional research grants

Additional grant awards

Following the last meeting of the Research Steering Committee, it was agreed that further funds would be available for additional grant awards this year (2005–2006).

We would like to invite proposals to be reviewed at the September meeting of the committee. We are looking for research within our themes below as well as inviting research that falls outside the themes.

We are inviting researchers and the practice boards to submit proposals for research. The annual announcement details are given below.

Purpose of awards

The Actuarial Profession invites applications for grants to fund research projects in actuarial and related areas. The research may be original in nature or may involve a review of existing techniques and a demonstration of their application to new problems.

Who can apply?

Any individuals or groups proposing to undertake research aimed at the development or application of actuarial techniques may apply for a grant. Applicants do not have to be members of the profession or of academic institutions. Graduate and undergraduate students are not eligible to apply individually, and owing to the timescale involved grants will also not be made in respect of entire PhD projects.

Selection criteria

The main criterion is that the research is expected to be of practical relevance and value to the actuarial profession and preference will be given to those that have the support of the relevant practice area of the profession. Particular emphasis will additionally be placed on the application of actuarial techniques to new areas and those of current social concern.

The Research Steering Committee, in conjunction with the practice boards, has identified four major research themes, which it would encourage researchers to consider in framing their grant applications for this session. These research themes reflect the current major priorities identified for the profession under themes 1–4. However, there are some other future major issues for research, which are shown under theme 5. Some topical examples have also been included for each theme, to illustrate the issues that might fall within these themes.

Theme 1: Risk and regulation in financial organisations

  • Risk-based supervision
  • Risk management
  • Developing compliance review within Lloyd’s
  • Solvency regimes (including Individual capital assessments)
  • Regulation and governance in life insurance
  • Pricing and reserving for annuity guarantees
  • Fair-value accounting and implications
  • The customer benefits of financial economic approaches

Theme 2: Profession’s education

  • Analytical techniques for use by the actuary of the future

Theme 3: Consumer support

  • Life insurance and market-related issues
  • Investment strategies for the individual
  • Family policy research
  • Behavioural aspects of financial failure

Theme 4: Retirement issues

  • Benefit design
  • Managing discontinuance
  • Impact of mortality improvement/ ageing populations (including macroeconomic effects)
  • Modelling of savings through the life cycle
  • Financial advice to the elderly and their carers

Theme 5: Other key issues

  • Structured settlements/impact of Woolf reforms
  • Developing actuarial techniques for the NHS

Researchers may, if they wish, submit proposals that do not fall within the above themes, although they should seek to demonstrate in their applications how the proposed research might contribute towards the future activities of the actuarial profession.

Size of grants

Grants are usually awarded up to a maximum of £15,000, although this figure might be exceeded if circumstances warranted. We would also welcome applications for significantly smaller grants, either in respect of identifiable parts of larger projects or for small projects which still fulfil the above criteria. The committee is particularly interested in applications for smaller amounts that will have a disproportionate impact, say through enabling a larger programme of research or addressing a specific, targeted issue.

Research contract

The selected researcher and the actuarial profession will enter into a formal contractual arrangement. Oversight will be co-ordinated by the actuarial profession.

Publication of research

The actuarial profession’s aim is that the results of the research are published in such a way as to be accessible to most actuaries. We shall require advance notice of press releases and output. Such an undertaking will be required from researchers before a grant is awarded and suitable credit must be given the actuarial profession at the time of publication. Wherever possible the published work should contain clear demonstrations of how the results could be applied in practice.

Duration of research

In normal circumstances the duration of the research is expected to be a maximum of one year from the date of commencement to receipt of the final results. In the case of applications from academic researchers this means that applications accepted in 2005 will be in respect of research to be completed ideally no later than the end of the 2005–2006 academic year.

Monitoring of projects

The Faculty and Institute will monitor the progress of research projects. Researchers will be expected to produce reports at specified intervals for the Research Steering Committee. They will also be expected to liaise with an appointed contact from the actuarial profession.

Application deadline and process

The deadline for applications to be received (via email) to Pauline Simpson (email below) is Monday 22 August 2005. Applicants will be informed of the success or otherwise of their application during October 2005. For details of how to apply please see the ‘Guidelines for Applications’ on our website under ‘Research and Prizes’. If further information is required, please contact Pauline Simpson, tel: 01865-268237, email pauline.simpson@actuaries.org.uk.