Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Expressions of interest: Arts and humanities urgency grants

You can apply for funding for urgent arts and humanities research priorities.

Research must meet a development need or challenge and aim to support low or middle income countries to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Research areas can include:

  • disasters
  • humanitarian emergencies
  • rapid radical political or economic change
  • changes to conflicts
  • major displacements of populations
  • time-limited opportunities to contribute to international development policy or practice.

You can apply for up to £150,000 for up to 18 months. Eligibility decisions will be made within five working days.

Who can apply

You are eligible to apply if you:

  • meet standard AHRC eligibility criteria
  • are based at a research organisation that has a recognised research capacity and is permitted to hold grants from UKRI.

Exceptionally, proposals led by researchers based at organisations within lower or middle income countries may be considered. Given the time required to complete due diligence processes, such proposals will only be considered if the submitting organisation has received funding from UKRI as lead research organisation or received funding from an organisation that has a formal partnership agreement with UKRI.

What we're looking for

This is a pilot scheme, funded through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

We are looking to fund projects which enable arts and humanities researchers to respond in an agile way to unanticipated urgent research needs. Projects can come from the entire breadth of the arts and humanities, involving other disciplines where appropriate.

Projects must address a development need or challenge with the potential to support low or middle income countries to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Eligible projects must comply with the requirements of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Projects we will not fund

We cannot fund direct development projects, supplies or equipment.

We will not consider projects that could be funded through existing AHRC/UKRI funding schemes and calls.


We will not consider proposals which primarily seek to address the health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak in low and middle income countries.

Your proposal may take the coronavirus pandemic into account. However, this must not be the primary aim and the research must fall outside of the scope of recent COVID-19 agile response calls.

How to apply

Expressions of interest

You need to submit an expression of interest as early as possible.

You must explain why the research is urgent and cannot be supported through other funding routes.

Your proposal must draw on relevant arts and humanities research literature, concepts or approaches and include significant research expertise within the remit of AHRC.

You may apply at any time during the period of the pilot scheme.

The scheme will close to new expressions of interest on 31 January 2021 at 16:00.

Full applications

If your expression of interest is successful, you must apply using the joint electronic submission (Je-S) system.

You will need to show how your research provides impact throughout the application. You should especially highlight this within the Case for Support. Further details on where development impact should be included will be provided in the guidance document. We would encourage you to consider this as you develop your proposal.

You must include a gender equality statement.

You can find further information on submitting a proposal in the GCRF urgency grants guidance document.

You can also 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 emailing

How we will assess your application

Expression of interests

We will assess your research proposal using the following criteria:

  • fit to call
  • research contribution and importance
  • research expertise and partnerships
  • feasibility of proposed activities/methods
  • extent to which the proposal includes appropriate plans for significant research outputs and outcomes
  • value for money.

We will aim to provide decisions within five working days of submission.

If we consider your expression of interest to be eligible, you will be invited to submit a full Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S) application.

Full applications

Your application will be considered through an accelerated peer-review process.

Once you have submitted your application, we will aim to complete the review process and provide you with a decision within four working weeks.

Contact details

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help improve our online products and services.