Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: AHRC research networking scheme

The grant aims to stimulate new debate and exchange of ideas between researchers and stakeholders on a specified thematic area or issue, by covering the costs for workshops, seminars, networking activities or other events.

You can apply for up to £30,000 for a period of up to two years, at full economic cost.

Additional funding up to £15,000 is available to cover costs of any international activities or participants. UK costs must be accounted for within the initial £30,000 funding.

Please note the announcement outlining changes to this scheme. Notably the closure of the scheme on 29 June 2023 and the aims and objectives of this scheme will transfer to and will be incorporated within the new curiosity awards opportunity.

In 2023 UK Research and Innovation will introduce a new grants system, the Funding Service, to replace the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system. This will impact how you apply to responsive mode opportunities. Find out more about the transition timeline and our pathway for change.

Who can apply

You can apply if you are a principal investigator at an eligible research organisation. This is any UK higher education institution that receives grant funding from one of the UK higher education funding bodies, or a UKRI-recognised research institute or organisation.

Proposals have to be submitted by an eligible research organisation but must involve collaboration with at least one other organisation, as well as having clear impact for beneficiaries in the UK.

Only one co-investigator can be included in the proposal, and international co-investigators are allowed.

Research assistants are not eligible under this scheme.

What we're looking for

AHRC oversees a diverse range of subject disciplines within arts and humanities, from history to literature, design to dance, linguistics to archaeology. Your application must be arts and humanities-led, with a majority of the methodologies, research questions and outputs falling within AHRC’s subject remit. We also welcome interdisciplinary research proposals, provided that arts and humanities are the main focus.

Research networking grants cover the costs of networking activities that support the exchange of ideas across boundaries – primarily between researchers in the arts and humanities, but also with colleagues in other disciplines and sectors.

Your proposal should explore new areas, include other user communities, and can include innovative approaches.

You must justify the chosen approach and explain the added value of bringing the network participants together.

Activities connected to existing networks are also included under this funding scheme, provided the activities are focusing on a new area.

The grant will cover:

  • the salary costs for you and one co-investigator for the time spent overseeing and providing intellectual input to the activities
  • the cost of setting up and coordinating the activities, along with related indirect and estates costs (UK researchers only).

Time spent on coordinating activities should not make up the majority of the cost in the proposal.

Proposals for the development of European collaborative networks or consortia that might support the development of applications to the EU under Horizon Europe or other EU funding opportunities are also welcome.

The grant does not cover:

  • standalone events that are not part of the research process
  • activities that would have taken place regardless (for instance, connected to an existing conference)
  • research assistants’ salary costs

The proposed start date of your project must be at least six months from the date you send your proposal.

You can apply for an extra £15,000 (full economic cost) to cover the costs of any international participants or activities. UK costs must be accounted for within the initial £30,000 funding.

We strongly encourage you to follow the principles of The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers.

How to apply

You must apply using the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

We recommend you start your application early, you can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later.

When applying select ‘New document’ then:

  • council: AHRC
  • document type: Standard proposal
  • scheme: Research networking
  • call/type/mode: Research networking (open call)

Please read the research funding guide (pages 22-26) for further details and help in applying.

You can find advice on completing your application in the Je-S handbook.

If you need further help, you can contact the Je-S help desk on 01793 444164 or by email

Your host organisation will be able to provide advice and guidance on completing your application.

You must include the following with your application:

  • case for support
  • justification of resources

You must itemise all costs separately within the budget breakdown section of the application, and clearly indicate the costs of any international collaboration. In addition, all costs must be justified in the justification of resources attachment.

The case for support attachment must outline clearly the rationale for the activities, approach and the research context by answering the following questions:

  • what is the central theme of the proposed activity?
  • why is it important that this theme is explored?
  • what is innovative about the network?
  • how will the questions be addressed?
  • how will the proposed activities create genuine interaction across boundaries and advance understanding?

You should also give details of the aims and objectives, the timetable for any proposed activities, proposed participants and key speakers, and plans for management and coordination, including the membership of any proposed advisory group or steering committee.

How we will assess your application

We will assess your application based on:

  • the quality of the research process, including research agenda, participants, sustainability and whether research methods foster interactions
  • the level of genuine collaboration that’s proposed across boundaries, and the value that this will add to the development of research in that area
  • the significance and importance of the proposed thematic area
  • how much the proposed activities will create genuine and productive interaction across boundaries (for example, disciplinary, conceptual, theoretical or methodological), including the potential to advance knowledge and understanding, or lead to new cross-disciplinary research projects
  • the level of involvement from different organisations and interaction between participants – we welcome creative techniques for fostering interactions

For proposals requesting additional funds for international collaboration we will also consider:

  • how much the proposed activities will build strong academic links between the UK and researchers in other countries, and the value that this adds to the research area

Proposals will be sent to a peer review panel for assessment. The principal investigator will not be offered a response to comments. The proposal and peer reviews will be moderated by a third member of the peer review college, who will consider the reviewers’ comments and allocate a final grade, ranking applications by priority for funding.

Final funding decisions will be made by AHRC.

We aim to inform you of the outcome of your proposal within five months from the date of submission.

Additional info

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