Recent attempts to integrate the social sciences and humanities (SSH) in funding for interdisciplinary research have been challenged by a number of barriers. In funding programmes, such as the EU Horizon 2020, the SSH are absent in most calls for contributions. This article revisits the main policy drivers for embedding SSH research in interdisciplinary research. By analysing recent policy initiatives, the article shows how policymakers across the world continue to be ambivalent regarding the role of the SSH. While many stakeholders acknowledge the need to integrate SSH research in solving key societal challenges, such as climate change, migration or national security, funding for SSH is limited and tends to focus on strategic interventions and instrumental solutions. By accounting for the diversity of interdisciplinary collaborations the article recommends a more context-sensitive approach to research funding, which acknowledges the heterogeneity and volatility of research across different knowledge environments. This article is published as part of a thematic collection on the concept of interdisciplinarity.