Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: AHRC standard research grant

This grant supports collaborative research projects that require leadership from more than one scholar. You must include a principal investigator and at least one co-investigator jointly involved in the development and management of the project and co-authored research outputs.

You can apply for funding of between £50,000 and £1 million (full economic cost) for projects of up to five years.

We also have an early careers research grant for smaller projects with funding of up to £250,000.

Please note the announcement outlining changes to the research grants standard route. Notably the temporary closure of the scheme from 29 March 2023 and the effective for proposals submitted to us from June 2023 onwards the funding limits changing to be £300,000 to £1.5 million (at full economic cost).

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 researcher at an eligible research organisation including:

  • UK higher education institutions that receive grant funding from one of the UK higher education funding bodies
  • UKRI-recognised research institutes
  • UKRI-recognised independent research organisations
  • UKRI-recognised public sector research establishments (PSREs).

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

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

Principal investigators 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.

We also encourage international researchers to participate as co-investigators.
Recipients of research council fellowships, who are initially supported as postdoctoral research assistants (PDRAs) 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.

We no longer support project studentships within open research grant funding opportunities.

What we're looking for

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 principal investigator and any co-investigators to devote an average of at least four hours per week to the project.

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 (Je-S) system.

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: Arts and Humanities Research Council
  • call/type/mode: research grants (open call).

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.

Je-S will forward your proposal to your research organisation, which in turn will submit your proposal to AHRC. Please allow sufficient time prior to AHRC deadlines for this process.

Mandatory attachments include:

  • case for support
  • CV(s)
  • publications list
  • data management plan
  • justification of resources
  • international co-investigator head of department statement (if applicable)
  • project partner letter of support (if applicable).

Optional attachments include:

  • visual evidence
  • work plan.

For more information on application requirements, read our research funding guide.

How we will assess your application

Your application will be sent to a minimum of two members from AHRC’s peer review college. We may include reviewers from outside the college if suitable college members are not available, or where input is required as part of agreements with other funding bodies. We may also seek reviews from specialists if college members lack the necessary knowledge and expertise.

The sifting process for the applications goes through two stages, and panel comments are sent to the principal investigator for response through the Je-S system.

At the point of submission, each proposal 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
  • all application documents must be eligible under the scheme requirements.

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

For the peer review we will consider the following criteria:

  • research quality and importance (whether the project meets the aims of the scheme, contribution to knowledge, definition of research questions and issues, feasibility of methods)
  • people (the quality of your work, demonstrated ability to manage the project, balance of team staff, co-investigator’s experience
  • proposed leadership activities
  • management of the project
  • data management
  • value for money
  • outputs, dissemination and impact.

The assessment process usually takes around 30 weeks. We will contact you if it’s going to take any longer than this. The proposed start date of your project must be at least nine months after the date of your application.

Contact details

For general enquiries about early career research grants, contact us by phone: 01793 416060 or email:

If you need help with the application process, contact the Je-S help desk by phone: 01793 444164 or by email:

Additional info

If you are a recipient of a research council fellowship, initially supported as PDRAs on a research grant, you can apply for a new research grant in your own right. However, you cannot start any award until the PDRA duties on the original grant have been completed.

Archaeology project – carbon dating

AHRC provides funding to the NERC 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 the NRCF.

For more information read our research funding guide.

Supporting documents

Research funding guide

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