AHRC forward look: spring into summer 2024

Abstract representation of a pink flower

The latest in a series of blogs from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) that share upcoming opportunities with the community.

Since the last forward look blog post, we’ve celebrated the 25th anniversary of AHRC.

It was remarkable to look back on a quarter of a century of work we’ve supported – from cutting-edge research developments in the creative industries, to research tackling climate change.

Check out this snapshot of some of the incredible work we’ve enabled since 1998. A big thank you to everyone from our community who has been involved along the way!

Responsive mode

In other news, for responsive mode we are wrapping up the first round of applications on the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service. Funding outcomes should be known very soon. We have genuinely been astounded by the breadth of research ideas and the high quality of applications, which have risen to meet the intent of our new schemes.

We’ll be publishing a blog soon about the outcomes of our new schemes, Catalyst and Curiosity, sharing our lessons and excitement following the first round.

Peer review college

We’ve also just completed a survey with members of our peer review college (PRC), where 85% agreed that assessing applications for AHRC has helped them improve their own applications and applications to other funders. Furthermore, 78% agreed that being a member of the PRC and engagement with AHRC contributes to their ability to advocate for the arts and humanities.

This feedback is extremely important to us and we are incredibly thankful to our PRC members for their efforts in assessing applications for our funding. The feedback has also given us invaluable insights into how we fund greater diversity of ideas and people, assess high-risk, high-reward applications and improve communication with the entire arts and humanities community.

Current opportunities

Moving on to current opportunities, there are a breadth of funding opportunities open. The full list is available on the funding finder and includes:

Coming soon…

Looking ahead to late spring and summer 2024, we have a busy portfolio of opportunities coming up.

Keep an eye on funding finder during the months ahead and here’s a snippet of some of the exciting milestones ahead.

Design Exchange Partnerships

Design Exchange Partnerships (DEPs) are three-way collaborative projects which seek to demonstrate tangible impact on local communities by stimulating the real-world application of high-quality arts and humanities-led design research to address challenges related to achieving green transition goals.

This funding focuses on developing design-led solutions to address specific challenges around the theme of more-than-human design. The full economic cost of the project can be up to £62,500 for six months or £125,000 for 12 months, plus 5% to 10% contribution from a non-academic partner organisation. AHRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

The funding opportunity has just opened. Read more about this funding opportunity.


Mission is our pilot large grants funding opportunity, launching in May. It aims to advance arts and humanities research agendas, research leadership and research teams, at scale, through a pilot approach to team convening.

It will fund team-led projects between £2,000,000 and £3,000,000 for up to four years. We’re anticipating making two to three awards. Look out for details of the outline stage and applicant webinars on the funding finder.

Professor Georgina and I have written more about Mission in our blog post.

Design Accelerators

Design Accelerators aim to demonstrate how the design research and innovation at universities throughout the country is vital for their local communities successful transition to net zero and green economy.

These are small awards of £35,000 to 65,000 with a maximum duration of nine months which should be centred on community engagement and increase the diversity of voices and actors consulted in and contributing to addressing the climate crisis.

This funding opportunity opens on 1 July.

Locally Unlocking Culture Through Inclusive Access (LUCIA) programme

The Locally Unlocking Culture through Inclusive Access (LUCIA) programme aims to empower communities to have the agency over what matters to them and the opportunity to experiment innovative ways to enable growth and equitable access to cultural assets.

AHRC has committed £500,000 to support up to six locally-led networks (community engagement representatives; academic researchers; and local and regional policy stakeholders for 12 months, costing up to £100,000 (full economic cost) each.

The funding opportunity will go live in September 2024.

International placement scheme 2025

Providing early career researchers, doctoral level research assistants and AHRC-funded doctoral students with dedicated access to internationally renowned collections, programmes and expertise, this annual scheme offers unrivalled opportunities to enhance skills and experience in a global research environment.

Participating institutions include: Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, Huntington Library, Yale Centre for British Art, Harry Ransom Centre, Shanghai Theatre Academy and National Institutes for the Humanities (Japan).

There will a total fund amount of £250,000, and fellows receive a monthly stipend of £1,925 for every month they spend at their chosen institution – which can be between two and six months.

The next funding opportunity will launch in November 2024. Look out for an information webinar that will be published alongside the funding opportunity launch.

Keep up to date

To continue to be updated with the latest AHRC opportunities:


This content was accurate when the blog post was published on 13 May 2024. If you are reading this after that date, some details may have changed.

Top image:  Credit: LeslieLauren, E+ via Getty Images

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