Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: AHRC responsive mode: standard research grant: round one

AHRC standard research grants support collaborative research projects that require leadership from more than one researcher.

You must include a project lead and at least one project co-lead jointly involved in the development and management of the project and co-authored research outputs.

You can apply for funding of between £300,000 and £1.5 million (full economic cost) for projects of up to five years.

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the following:

Your proposal must include a project lead and at least one project co-lead. Each team member must contribute to:

  • the development of the research proposal
  • project leadership and management
  • joint publication of authored research

Project leads must be actively engaged in postdoctoral research and be of postdoctoral standing. This means you must have a doctorate or can demonstrate in your application that you have equivalent research experience or training. You must have a level of skills, knowledge and experience that is appropriate to your proposed project.

You must be either:

  • employed by the research organisation submitting the proposal
  • have an existing written formal arrangement with the research organisation confirming that you will be able to carry out the research as if you were an employee
  • scheduled to move to the research organisation before the proposed start date of the grant

For more information on eligibility read our research funding guide.

International applicants

We also encourage international researchers to participate as project co-leads. See sections two and three of the AHRC research funding guide for details on eligibility of researchers, organisations and costs.

Recipients of research council fellowships, who are initially supported as postdoctoral research assistants on research grants, are eligible to apply for new research grants but must complete their duties on the original grant before starting the new award.

Who is not eligible to apply

We do not support project studentships (funding PhD study) within open research grant funding opportunities.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants.

We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI and AHRC’s equality, diversity and inclusion policy.

What we're looking for

Scope

We’re looking for individual researchers with proposals for well-defined collaborative research projects. However, you may include elements of individual research if you can show how this will add value.

Collaborations can involve:

  • a single institution or a combination of institutions
  • researchers working in different research areas
  • disciplines within the arts and humanities, or between an arts and humanities discipline and another subject area. In such collaborations the arts and humanities element of the project should lead in shaping the research questions, methods etc
  • researchers working in other sectors
  • researchers based abroad

The proposed collaboration should be appropriate for the specific needs of the research project.

We expect the project leads and any co-leads to devote an average of at least four hours per week to the project.

Duration

The duration of this award is up to five years.

Funding available

The full economic cost of your project can be up between £300,000 and £1.5 million.

We will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Supporting skills and talent

We encourage you to follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.

International collaboration

If your application includes international applicants, project partners, or collaborators, visit UKRI’s trusted research and innovation for more information on effective international collaboration.

Find out about getting funding for international collaboration.

How to apply

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UKRI Funding Service. You cannot apply on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

The project lead is responsible for completing the application process on the UKRI Funding Service, but we expect all team members and project partners to contribute to the application.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

To apply:

Select ‘Start application’ near the beginning of this Funding finder page.

  1. Confirm you are the project lead.
  2. Sign in or create a UKRI Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email support@funding-service.ukri.org.
  3. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the UKRI Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the How to apply section on this Funding finder page.
  4. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  5. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Watch our research office webinars about the new UKRI Funding Service.

Deadline

During the initial phases of the UKRI Funding Service, the system will continue to develop in response to internal and external user needs. AHRC responsive mode funding opportunities will run as consecutive rounds with defined closing dates. Opening in rounds means we will be able to accommodate system developments and assess applications in a batch submitted under the same conditions.

Applications may be submitted at any time while a round is open; you do not need to wait until the closing date. We will begin to process applications as soon as we receive them so, if an application is submitted early in a round, we may be able to provide you with an earlier decision.

We must receive your application by 14 September 2023 at 4.00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply to round one after this time, instead you will need to complete a new application and submit it to round two.

Make sure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines.

The second round will open on 28 September 2023 and will close on 7 December 2023.

Round three will open in early January, details will be published in the autumn.

The proposed start date of your project must be at least nine months after the date of your application.

Personal data

Processing personal data

AHRC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your funding service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

Publication of outcomes

If your application is successful, we will publish some personal information on the UKRI Gateway to Research.

Summary

Word limit: 500

In plain English, provide a summary we can use to identify the most suitable experts to assess your application.

We may make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites so make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the public
  • the wider research community

Guidance for writing a summary

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • context
  • the challenge the project addresses
  • aims and objectives
  • potential applications and benefits

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)
  • project co-lead (international) (PcL (I))
  • specialist
  • professional enabling staff
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician

Only list one individual as project lead.

Find out more about UKRI’s new grant roles.

Vision

Word limit: 500

What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the fields or areas
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, or generate new knowledge, thinking or discovery, within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy, or the environment

Within the Vision section we also expect you to:

  • identify the potential direct or indirect benefits and who the beneficiaries might be

Approach

Word limit: 2,500

How are you going to deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have designed your approach so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • uses a clearly written and transparent methodology (if applicable)
  • summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed (if applicable)
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • describes how your, and if applicable your team’s, research environment (in terms of the place and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work

Within the Approach section you can also:

  • demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. It should not include workplans or Gantt charts and should not be used to circumvent the word count for this section.

You must:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word limit: 1,500

Why are you the right individual or team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you, and if relevant your team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to develop others
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

The word count for this section is 1,500 words: 1,000 words to be used for R4RI modules and, if necessary, a further 500 words for Additions.

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you and, if relevant, your team (project and project co-leads, researchers, technicians, specialists, partners and so on) have and how this will help deliver the proposed work. You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings listed. Use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasise where appropriate the key skills each team member brings:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit
Additions

Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences, or outputs, but you can use it to describe any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

Complete this as a narrative. Do not format it like a CV.

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new Funding Service.

For full details, see Eligibility as an individual.

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 500

What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

Demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations
  • how you will manage these considerations

If you are collecting or using data, identify:

  • any legal and ethical considerations of collecting, releasing or storing the data including consent, confidentiality, anonymisation, security and other ethical considerations and, in particular, strategies to not preclude further reuse of data
  • formal information standards with which your study will comply

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 1,000

What will you need to deliver your proposed work and how much will it cost?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Justify the application’s more costly resources, in particular:

  • project staff
  • significant travel for field work or collaboration (but not regular travel between collaborating organisations or to conferences)
  • any equipment that will cost more than £10,000
  • any consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities
  • all facilities and infrastructure costs
  • all resources that have been costed as ‘Exceptions’

Assessors are not looking for detailed costs or a line-by-line breakdown of all project resources. Overall, they want you to demonstrate how the resources you anticipate needing for your proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

Additionally, where relevant you should explain:

  • support for any project partners organisations

Discipline Classification – primary

Word limit: 5

Please provide the primary research area of your proposal.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

You must select from one of these research disciplines:

  • archaeology
  • area studies
  • classics
  • cultural and museum studies
  • dance
  • design
  • development studies
  • drama and theatre studies
  • education
  • history
  • human geography
  • information and communication technologies
  • languages and literature
  • law and legal studies
  • library and information studies
  • linguistics
  • media
  • music
  • philosophy
  • political science and international studies
  • social anthropology
  • theology, divinity and religion
  • visual arts

This information will be used for the purposes of processing your proposal and in the selection of appropriate assessors.

Discipline Classification – secondary

Word limit: 50

Please describe, using keywords, the research area of your proposal and where relevant the approach, time period or geographical area.

This will further help with the selection of appropriate assessors.

Project partners

Word limit: 1,000

Provide details of any project partners’ contributions, and letters or emails of support from each named partner.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you do not have project partners, simply add ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move to the next section.

Download and complete the Project partner contributions template (DOCX, 52KB).

Each letter or email of support you provide should:

  • confirm the partner’s commitment to the project
  • clearly explain the value, relevance, and possible benefits of the work to them
  • describe any additional value that they bring to the project

Ensure you have prior agreement from project partners so that, if you are offered funding, they will support your project as indicated in the contributions template.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Do not provide letters of support from host and project co-leads’ research organisations.

How we will assess your application

AHRC criteria

At the point of application submission, each will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • all applicants and named staff must be eligible under the scheme requirements
  • the proposal must meet the aims and criteria of the funding scheme

Proposals which do not meet these criteria will be rejected with feedback on why it could not proceed.

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Peer review

We will invite three peers to review your application independently, against the specified criteria for this opportunity.

Project leads will be provided with a right to reply/ response opportunity.

Panel

The peer reviews and principal investigator response will be moderated by an expert panel who will then assign a final grade to the proposal and rank it alongside other applications after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

Find out more about AHRC’s assessment process.

Timescale

We aim to complete the assessment process within nine months of receiving your application.

Feedback

Written feedback will only be provided in the form of the anonymised peer reviews and the final grade from the panel.

We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment (DORA) and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI Principles of Assessment and Decision Making.

Assessment criteria

Your application will be assessed against criteria that directly relate to the core application questions listed in the ‘How to apply’ section.

Find details of assessment questions and criteria under the ‘Application questions’ heading in the How to apply section.

Contact details

Get help with your application

For help on costings and writing your application, contact your research office. Allow enough time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org

We aim to respond to emails within two working days.

Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email the Funding Service helpdesk on support@funding-service.ukri.org

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the Applicant and team capability section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
  • the application is an invited resubmission

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, read UKRI’s privacy notice

Additional info

Archaeology project: carbon dating

We provide funding to the Natural Environment Research Council Radiocarbon Facility (NRCF) to allow our research communities to make use of the facility. If your project requires radiocarbon dates, you must request these from NRCF.

For more information read our research funding guide.

Supporting links

Research funding guide

Research disruption due to COVID-19

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities. We are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their career, such as:

  • breaks and delays
  • disruptive working patterns and conditions
  • the loss of ongoing work
  • role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the capability to deliver and career development of those individuals included in the application. They will be asked to consider the capability of the applicant and their wider team to deliver the research they are proposing.

Where disruptions have occurred, you can highlight this within your application if you wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

Updates

  • 11 September 2023
    Second round opening date now 28 September 2023
  • 2 August 2023
    Dates of future rounds added in 'How to apply' section
  • 16 June 2023
    Amended opening date from 22 June 2023 to 29 June 2023.

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have some quick feedback or help us improve your experience by taking three minutes to tell us what you think of the UKRI website.