Embedding international elements into research proposals - AHRC

As stated in the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) vision, we are committed to international connectivity, and international engagement is wrapped around everything that we do.

We commit to regular funding opportunities with built-in international collaboration, delivered in partnership with our partners across the world.

See our international research funding opportunities.

In addition, AHRC supports the UK’s arts and humanities community in accessing the best ideas and resources from around the world through directly funding proposals with international components to many of our schemes. We also hold agreements with other international research funders that allow the reciprocal inclusion of UK researchers and work packages in other funders’ opportunities, and vice versa.

Build international elements into your responsive mode application

Elements of international collaboration can be built into proposals across many of AHRC’s funding opportunities, including our responsive mode schemes.

In addition to the guidance below, further details (including a full outline of eligibility criteria and guidance on how to include international elements in proposals) can be found in the AHRC research funding guide.

Throughout 2023 AHRC will be implementing changes to our responsive mode funding opportunities.

Find out more about the council transition to the new Funding Service.

International co-investigator policy

AHRC’s international co-investigator policy allows international researchers to act as co-investigators on many of its funding opportunities and schemes. To be eligible, international co-investigators must:

  • have suitable academic experience, for example someone holding a PhD or equivalent qualification or experience
  • be based at a non-UK established research organisation with the necessary research capacity and capability to support the conduct of the specified research

The research organisation in question must provide support for the application through an international co-investigator head of department statement.

There is not a limit on the number of international co-investigators that you can include in applications to eligible funding opportunities and schemes, unless otherwise stated. However, there is a budgetary threshold.

A maximum of 30% of the full economic cost (FEC) of the overall project budget (up to the scheme maximum) can be allocated to cover eligible costs incurred by international co-investigators. These costs will be paid at 100% FEC.

Infrastructure costs (such as estates or indirect costs) for the international co-investigator’s organisation are not eligible for AHRC funding. However, you may request all costs associated with supporting the international co-investigator in conducting the research, including the employment and supervision of research assistants.

More information can be found in the AHRC research funding guide.

Other international elements to proposals

Separate to the international co-investigator policy, other international elements to proposals can be costed within project budgets to be paid at 80% FEC. These may include:

  • UK researchers’ travel costs within other countries
  • travel costs for international members of advisory groups
  • non-UK based researchers or experts engaged on a ‘consultancy’ basis

All such costs will require robust justification within the application.

Project partners

Non-UK organisations who are contributing their own resources (in cash or in kind) can be ‘project partners’ on grant proposals. As a rule, project partners, whether international or not, are expected to provide contributions to the delivery of the project and should not therefore be seeking to claim funds from UKRI.

However, in specific circumstances where project partners do require funding for minor costs (such as travel and subsistence), these costs can be included in applications to be funded at 80% FEC.

Scheme-specific eligibility

All of the above guidance applies to AHRC’s standard research grant and follow-on funding for impact and engagement schemes.

As only one co-investigator is permitted on the research networking scheme, you can only include one international co-investigator in applications to this route. In addition, you can apply for an extra £15,000 (FEC) to cover the costs of any international participants or activities.

Due to the nature of the scheme, applications to AHRC’s research, development and engagement fellowships (both early career and standard routes) co-investigators are not permitted, including international co-investigators. However, applicants are eligible to include costs involved in working with international academic and non-academic partners and audiences.

The international co-investigator policy and rules on including other international elements in proposals stand for all other research and networking funding opportunities offered by AHRC, unless explicitly stated otherwise in the funding opportunity guidance.

If you have any questions regarding the eligibility of specific aspects of a proposal for a particular funding opportunity, you are encouraged to contact the team managing that opportunity using the contact details listed in the funding opportunity guidance.

Lead agency and money follows cooperation agreements

AHRC offers several international collaborative research opportunities which are available throughout the year via collaboration agreements with overseas funders.

When these agreements are in place between a disciplinary research council (such as AHRC) and another funder, eligibility is restricted to researchers within the remit of the council or councils involved. Where the agreements are signed by UKRI, opportunities across the individual councils’ remits are available.

Lead agency agreements provide a framework for joint peer review of proposals by 2 funding agencies in different countries.

One organisation takes the lead in managing the review process with an agreed level of participation by the other, and both agencies accept the outcome of the review process and fund the costs of the successful applications in their respective countries.

As such, this mechanism allows research teams in the UK and the respective funder’s country to submit a single collaborative proposal for consideration to both funders.

Through UKRI, we have lead agency agreements and opportunities with:

Money follows cooperation agreements allow UK-based researchers to include co-investigators from the respective country of the other signatory in their proposals to UKRI, and UK-based researchers to be included as co-investigators in proposals to the other research funders listed.

Through UKRI, we have a money follows cooperation agreement with the Research Council of Norway.

Find out more about the funding opportunity to collaborate with researchers in Norway.

Contact us

Ask a question about our international partnerships and programmes

If you have general questions about the international co-investigator policy or including other international elements in proposals, please contact us.

Email: enquiries@ahrc.ukri.org

Last updated: 6 March 2023

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