Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: AHRC Follow-on fund: creative economy for sustainable development

Apply for funding to enhance the international impact of research related to the creative economy and global sustainable development.

Your proposed impact activities must:

  • follow-on from current or previous research projects funded by AHRC
  • address challenges highlighted by the UN ‘International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development’
  • be within the AHRC remit
  • involve collaboration with international partners.

We will fund:

  • 80% of the full economic cost (FEC) for UK researchers.
  • 100% FEC for some international costs.

This opportunity is a highlight notice within the ‘AHRC follow-on funding for impact and engagement’ scheme for 2021.

Who can apply

The project should ideally be led by the original principal investigator (PI) of the research that the proposal builds upon.

Another member of the original research team may lead the project if the nature of the proposed activity makes it more appropriate. In such cases the original principal investigator would be expected to be named as co-investigator (Co-I) or at least as an advisor. This would need to be justified in the case for support.

Applications to this highlight notice must follow-on from current or previous AHRC-funded research, and fall within the disciplinary remit of the AHRC.

The eligibility criteria for research organisations and individuals is published in section 3 of the AHRC research funding guide.

International co-investigators are allowed in line with standard AHRC international co-investigators policy but subject to a cap on total international co-investigator of 50% of the total grant costs.

Equitable international collaboration and partnerships with the creative, cultural, heritage or community sector are expected.

Applications which do not fit under this highlight notice can continue to be submitted to the responsive mode AHRC follow-on funding scheme as usual.

What we're looking for

Responding to the ‘UN International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development 2021’, AHRC is launching this highlight notice in its Follow-on Fund scheme.

Within this highlight notice, AHRC aims to maximise outcomes and impacts from its rich portfolio of research within the creative economy (broadly conceived, including creative arts, design, and cultural and heritage assets) on global sustainable development.

All applications must follow-on from current or previous AHRC funded research.
Activities supported by grants under this highlight notice can include:

  • activities enabling knowledge exchange, interactive public engagement or active dissemination, with a particular focus on activities internationally or with global reach. These activities should focus on engagement with user communities, enhancing impact from AHRC-funded research, widen audiences and /or support commercialisation or proof of concept activities
  • activities that build upon knowledge exchange and pathways to impact already undertaken. You must demonstrate clear added value to activities already undertaken
  • digital networking and communication activities, conferences and seminars aimed at a policy or practice audience or wider non-academic communities, including public engagement or local community groups
  • pursuit and development of new user contacts
  • feasibility studies to test the potential application of ideas emerging from the research in different business, policy, practice or community contexts.

Projects must include significant research impact activities that fall within the disciplinary remit of the AHRC.

All projects should start on 1 November 2021.

This highlight notice will not cover applications that:

  • seek support for principally academic outputs (such as an academic paper, conference or a publication)
  • do not include an international element or international collaborations outside the UK
  • do not include engagement with the creative economy, broadly defined, including arts, digital, design, cultural and heritage organisations and/or local cultural community groups
  • do not build upon arts and humanities research funded by the AHRC and/or do not include significant research impact activities within the remit of the AHRC.

For more on scope, see the full guidance document (PDF, 307KB).

How to apply

When applying select:

  • council: AHRC
  • document type: Standard Proposal
  • scheme: Follow-on Funding for Impact and Engagement
  • call/type/mode: FoF UN Creative Econ 12/08/21

Required documents

Case for support

Compulsory, no more than seven sides of A4.

Curriculum vitae

Compulsory for the principal investigator (PI), each co-investigator (Co-I) and any named researchers, no more than two sides of A4 each.

Publication lists

Compulsory for the PI, each Co-I and any named researchers, no more than one side of A4 each.

Justification of resources

Compulsory, no more than two sides of A4.

Project partner letter of support

Compulsory, must be dated within six months of submission, no more than two sides of A4.

Original principal investigator letter of support

Compulsory for applications where the original PI is not a named investigator, no more than one side of A4. Upload using ‘Other’ attachment type.

Data management plan

Compulsory, no more than two sides of A4.

International co-investigator head of department statement

Optional, no more than two sides of A4. Upload using ‘Other’ attachment type.

Visual evidence

Optional, no more than two sides of A4


Optional, no more than one side of A4

How we will assess your application

Assessment criteria

Applications submitted to this highlight notice will be assessed according to standard follow-on fund scheme criteria, but with additional criteria relating to meeting the UN SDGs within the context of the creative and cultural economy.

Standard criteria

We will consider:

  • quality and importance
  • management of the project
  • value for money
  • output, dissemination and impact

For more details, see the research funding guide

Opportunity specific criteria

Particular attention will also be paid to proposed ways of working such as equitable international partnerships, equalities, diversity and inclusion and environmental sustainability.

Applications must:

  • demonstrate a focus on enhancing non-academic impact from AHRC-funded research that engages with the creative & cultural economy
  • include elements of both equitable international collaboration and collaboration with the creative, cultural or heritage sectors, or diverse cultures and communities.

Assessment process

Applications will be considered by a separate assessment panel drawn from AHRC’s Peer Review College strategic reviewers’ group along with other peer reviewers and experts with expertise of relevance to the focus of this highlight notice.

The panel meeting will be held in September 2021.

Applications will be assessed directly at the panel meeting.

There will be no separate peer-review or PI response stage for applications under this highlight notice.

Contact details

Enquiries regarding this call should be directed to the AHRC enquiries team:

Additional info

This highlight notice responds to, and engages with, the ‘UN International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainable Development 2021’.

It aims to promote the impact of current and previous AHRC-funded research related to the creative and cultural economy in any area covered by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As per standard AHRC follow-on fund guidance, all applications to this highlight notice must relate to a current or previous AHRC-funded research project. In addition, whilst interdisciplinary projects are welcomed, all applications must demonstrate that they include significant research impact activities within the disciplinary remit of the AHRC.

Supporting documents

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