Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: AHRC Capability for Collections Fund


The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is pleased to invite applications to the Capability for Collections Fund (CapCo). It will support a series of targeted, capital investments to renew and upgrade research facilities within UK galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs), including university collections, focusing on conservation and heritage science facilities, digital capture equipment and specialist study spaces and reading rooms. Projects must be completed within the current Financial Year.

CapCo is in line with the strategic vision for future investment in arts and humanities infrastructure set out in Chapter 5 of UKRI’s Opportunities to grow our capability report. This noted that the ‘national GVA of the heritage economy is estimated at £29 billion and identified that investment in conservation and heritage science facilities; and physical spaces bringing practitioners, curators and scientists together would be critical to the heritage sector’s continued success.

The investment will fund two types of activity for collections-led research in eligible institutions:

  1. refresh / upgrade of major facilities, costed at up to £3 million per bid
  2. urgent replacement or upgrade of core equipment and instruments, including instrumentation for spectrometry, spectroscopy, digitisation and imaging, and conservation equipment, costed at £10,000-£1 million per bid.

The assessment of the applications will focus, in part, on feasibility of spend within Q3 and Q4 of 20/21, and funds will only be committed where it can clearly be demonstrated that the project will be completed within the current Financial Year, i.e. by 31 March 2021.

Update: The call guidance has been updated with amendments to the required attachment list; page limits have been updated for the Justification of Resources section.

How to make an application

For the full call specification please see the ‘Application Process’ section of the Capability for Collections Fund call guidance.

There is a cap in place on the number of bids that can be submitted by a single organisation. Only one bid per stream (upgrade of major facilities; core equipment upgrade) per organisation is allowed (two bids in total).

Q&A session event downloads

Since the Q&A event on Monday August 10, the AHRC Infrastructure team has taken on board some of the comments and suggestions from participants who were in attendance on the day. The recorded event (Access Password: 1F5bb&=k) should be viewed as an initial iteration, which has been adjusted, so far as the constraints of the funding will allow, to better reflect communities’ needs and priorities. The questions  have been compiled, condensed, and formalised for circulation.


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