Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Collaborative knowledge exchange projects on the theme of place

Apply to lead a one-year knowledge exchange project. Your project will bring arts and humanities research to local and regional decision makers.

You must be a UK researcher eligible for AHRC funding.

You must:

  • collaborate with others
  • engage with a broad range of local stakeholders.

Your project must build on existing research. This opportunity will not fund new research.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £125,000. AHRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

You must start your project in January 2022.

Who can apply

Standard eligibility criteria apply to this opportunity as set out in the AHRC research funding guide.

Applications must build on existing arts and humanities research. There is no requirement that the original research was funded by AHRC, but it must be research which would fall primarily within the remit of AHRC.

Applicants are encouraged to read the guidance on collaborating organisations and project partners in section 2 of the AHRC research funding guide and to consider how best to work with different stakeholders to enable their full participation.

Full details of all project partner organisations should be included in the application and be accompanied by a project partner letter of support. Guidance on what needs to be included in a project partner letter of support is provided in section 4 of the AHRC research funding guide.

Associated studentships, international principal investigators and international co-investigators are not eligible to apply for funding through this opportunity.

Get help finding collaborators

To find people or organisations to collaborate with, you can join our JiscMail mailing list. You can use it to post details of:

  • the sort of project you want to collaborate on
  • the sorts of collaborators you’re looking for.

You will need to sign up for a free JiscMail account to use the service.

Visit the AHRC place JiscMail page.

What we're looking for

Applications are invited for 12-month collaborative knowledge exchange and translational research projects to inform the strategic direction and planning of local and regional authorities with an emphasis on the contribution of the arts and humanities to local regeneration and development. The strategic direction may include local and regional authorities’ plans to access other place-based (or other relevant) funding for the benefit of local or regional communities and economies.

Applications must not be focused on delivery of new research but rather on the application of existing work and resources in new contexts which meet the aims of this opportunity.

Projects are expected to improve access to arts and humanities research expertise with a view to informing and supporting the development of plans for local regeneration. This includes helping to build capacity within local authorities to make successful bids for local regeneration funding. We would expect to see these related to local cultural assets and their role in local growth and development. You would also be welcome to bring in other assets relevant to the regeneration location.

Applicants are encouraged to work not only with local authorities in the immediate vicinity of their universities, but to include a wider regional scope and focus on places that would benefit most from collaboration. We would also welcome applications that include collaborations between universities with differing levels of experience of engagement with their local areas and regions.

Projects may focus on (but are not limited to):

  • connecting local and regional policymakers with arts and humanities research relevant to place, which will help to drive socio-economic, cultural, environmental, heritage, health and other benefits into more parts of the country
  • deploying researchers into local areas to support capability on local issues, including
  • supporting local governments in developing their long-term strategies, that in turn will better position them to take advantage of central government funding opportunities
  • capturing, amplifying and sharing nuanced local knowledge, including cultural knowledge of stakeholders and town governance structures, to inform decision-making
  • helping deliver local impacts in areas with no easy access to universities or research and innovation assets
  • helping to develop skills and build capacity in relevant stakeholders to access and make use of arts and humanities research in the future
  • building the knowledge base and identifying knowledge gaps in AHRC’s research portfolio, while projects are expected to focus on addressing issues where there is already a sufficient amount of evidence, they may also help identify knowledge gaps.

Applicants should also consider the planned legacy of the project. How will the activities, pathways, partnerships or potential impacts be sustained beyond the funded period?

Your project’s full economic cost can be up to £125,000. AHRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Projects are expected to start in January 2022, and last for 12 months.

Projects will also be expected to work with the AHRC Programme Director for Place.

The Programme Director will be tasked with building a coherent programme of work around ‘place’, as well as identifying potential future priorities.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted through the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system by 5 October 2021 at 16:00, and will need to go through the appropriate institution submission process prior to this.

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.

To prepare a proposal form in Je-S, log in to your account and choose ‘documents’ from the menu, then select:

  • ‘create new document’
  • council: ‘AHRC’
  • document type: ‘standard proposal’
  • scheme: ‘development grants’
  • call, type or mode: ‘Collaborative Knowledge Exchange Projects on the Theme of Place 5 Oct 2021’

Je-S will then create a proposal form, displaying the relevant section headings. Using the blue question marks and the ‘Help’ link at the top of each section will provide guidance relevant to that section of the form.

All investigators named on the Je-S application form must have a Je-S account. Where this doesn’t already exist, it can be easily set up, but please note that it can take a number of days so it is strongly recommended that the process be started well before the application deadline. Je-S accounts can be created on the Je-S site. During account set-up, an account type of ‘An applicant on a standard/outline proposal’ must be selected.

Proposals will need to show 100% of the full economic cost of the proposed research, with AHRC covering 80% of this.


As well as the Je-S application form, the following documents must be submitted, unless it is indicated they are optional. General guidance on attachments is provided in AHRC’s research funding guide. Any guidance specific to this call is provided below and takes precedence.

You should attach your documents as PDFs to avoid errors. They should be completed in single-spaced Arial 11 font or similar-sized sans serif typeface.

Case for support

Maximum seven pages. Eligible applications will contain the information below.
Use the same section headings for the narrative as we have used below.

1. Aims and objectives

You should describe the aims and objectives of your proposal and explain the specific targets to be achieved at milestones as well as by the end of the award.

2. Which call-specific area or areas this project addresses

You should state which of the call-specific areas your project focuses on.

3. Context

You should describe the context for your proposed activities, clearly identifying the existing piece or body of research the proposed activities are based on.

You should provide evidence that the research is of direct relevance to the wider audiences or organisations that you intend to work with. Ability to demonstrate that there is a well-defined need and that you have consulted and involved potential users, stakeholders or both in developing the proposal is an important requirement.

Where your proposal is for an emergent activity within the current lifespan of a project or ongoing research, you should explain:

  • how this opportunity has arisen
  • why it wasn’t included in the original plans for the project
  • the timeliness of the activity
  • how it will enhance the impact of the research.

4. Proposed activities

Please provide a clear and concise description of the activities to be undertaken. The proposed work should be fully explained, taking into account the criteria of this opportunity. Justification should be provided for the chosen approach or methods.

5. Timetable

Describe the timetable for the project, including appropriate milestones and dates for when outcomes or outputs of the project will be completed.

6. Project management

You should describe:

  • the respective roles and responsibilities that you, your host research organisation and the project partners or stakeholders will undertake
  • the process by which a shared understanding of this has been reached.

How will the project be managed on a day-to-day basis?

How will it be monitored to review progress and ensure delivery against the aims and objectives?

7. Collaboration

Where appropriate, detail:

  • the organisation or organisations that you’re working with
  • their role in the project
  • how you’ll work together to develop and deliver the outcomes.

It’s vital that the project responds to a well-defined non-academic need and that there has been a joint or consultative approach to its development. Where you are not working with a named collaborating organisation or project partner, detail the methods used to consult with relevant stakeholders and user communities to formulate the project.

If you have an existing working relationship with the collaborating organisations or project partners, briefly describe the nature of that relationship. How will this project enhance that relationship? If you are seeking to establish a working relationship with a new partner then please describe the steps you will take or have taken to make that happen.

Please also outline any relevant issues of ownership or intellectual property arising from the project and how these will be handled.

8. Outcomes, impact and legacy

Describe how the project would meet the aims of this funding opportunity.

Who will benefit and how and why does it matter? How will you meet your specified aims and objectives?

You should also consider the longer-term sustainability of the proposed activities and the likely transformative effects of any outputs on the target audiences and user groups, or within an organisational or policy context. What do you envisage will happen after the end of the funding period?

Justification of resources

Maximum two pages.


A CV (maximum two pages) must be provided for every named researcher on the project.

Publications list

Summary lists of publications or research outputs should be attached as separate documents for each principal investigator and any co-investigators or named postdoctoral researchers. These should cover major publications or outputs in the last five years and should be no more than one side of A4 paper.

Brief articles, conference papers and so on need not be included. You should asterisk those of particular relevance to your current research proposal.

Project partners’ letters of support

Each project partner included in the Je-S form must provide a project partner letter of support, of no more than two sides of A4 or equivalent on headed paper or by email in exceptional circumstances.

The letter must be dated within three months before submission of the proposal.

Data management plan

All applications must include a data management plan.

Where this isn’t relevant for the proposed work you must still attach a data management plan and this should include a short explanation of why it is not relevant.


Optional one-page attachment.

How we will assess your application

Applications will be assessed by a panel of independent experts drawn from our research communities and relevant stakeholders with experience of working in a variety of contexts. There will be no written peer review or principal investigator response stage.

Panellists will be asked to assess each application against the criteria listed below and to assign it a grade. The panel as a whole will agree the final grade for each application.
In addition, the panel will be asked to consider the geographical spread of applications.

The final ranking of applications and decision on which to fund will, therefore, have regard to these two considerations.

We anticipate funding around eight applications, depending on the quality of applications received. In line with our standard policy, it is unlikely that AHRC will be able to provide detailed feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

Assessment criteria

Quality and importance


  • how well the proposal meets the aims of this funding opportunity
  • the extent to which the project responds to a well-defined non-academic audience or user community need
  • the timeliness of the proposal
  • the level of engagement with existing and potential user communities and non-academic audiences in defining that need and developing the proposal
  • the potential of the activities to enhance the value and impact of the original research
  • the extent of engagement with new target audiences and users.

Management of the project


  • the feasibility of the project, given the planned timetable, resources and project management
  • how partners will work together to achieve the aims and objectives.

Value for money

Consider the potential and appropriateness of the proposed activities to enhance the value and impact of the previous research.

Output, dissemination and impact


  • social, economic or policy impact potential of the research on which the project is based
  • longer-term sustainability of activities, pathways, partnerships or potential impacts beyond the award period
  • level of creativity and innovation demonstrated in the proposed activities and outcomes
  • suitability and reach of engagement and dissemination activities.

Contact details

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask a question about this opportunity


Use ‘place knowledge exchange call’ in the subject line.

Get help with Je-S

Any queries regarding the submission of proposals through Je-S should be directed to the Je-S helpdesk.


Telephone: 01793 444164

Additional info

Place is an important focus for current and emerging government research and development strategy. There is a clear opportunity for AHRC to develop its own programme of investments that could help inform and respond to this focus, ensuring that arts and humanities research is embedded early on and ready to respond.

As a first step, AHRC wishes to cultivate new and amplify existing connections between arts and humanities research and researchers and local policymakers, stakeholders, and strategy development.

What arts and humanities research can offer

Place is a research topic close to the heart of many arts and humanities disciplines, from archaeology and architecture to history and literature.

Arts and humanities research sheds light not only on the history and heritage of urban and rural settlements but opens new avenues of investigation into the role of place in generating local and national identities, in connecting people to their natural and built environments and in uniting communities in shared appreciation of their localities, culture and heritage.

This makes AHRC a natural partner for local cultural organisations, and for local and regional authorities, developers and others thinking about the challenges of, for example:

  • place-making
  • the role of cultural assets in well-being
  • the role of local (historical and other) knowledge in good planning decisions and of building local consensus around them
  • the ups and downs of arts-based regeneration
  • how to bring the benefits of belonging to hard-to-reach or marginalised communities.

By generating nuanced local knowledge that helps decision-making, arts and humanities research occupies a critical position in helping to target a wide range of place-based research and development spending so it is maximally effective.

This small-scale funding programme also helps to build the evidence-base for the value added by such knowledge, and thus contributes to shaping an effective places research and development strategy.

The AHRC Place programme

This is the second AHRC funding opportunity on the theme of place in 2021 to 2022. The aim is to help inform the strategic direction and planning of local and regional authorities, for example with respect to local regeneration and development, by:

  • providing access to relevant arts and humanities research and expertise
  • building capacity in local authorities to make use of this in, for example, accessing relevant funding from beyond AHRC.

Arts, humanities and place event recording

AHRC ran a ‘town hall’ event on Monday 26 July, which explored the role of arts and humanities research in place. The meeting was recorded.

You do not have to watch the recording before applying.

You will need to enter this passcode: T5wm@eTk

The event covered:

  • examples of existing collaborations and the benefits they’ve brought
  • some of the ways different organisations work with researchers and others
  • what’s important for the future of place-based arts and humanities research and knowledge exchange
  • AHRC’s current plans for supporting place-based arts and humanities research and knowledge exchange.

There were talks by:

  • Professor Nicky Marsh, Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise, University of Southampton
  • Mr David Anderson, Director General, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
  • Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Cultural Engagement, Partnerships and Regional Engagement, University of Sheffield
  • Simon Foy, Head of Intelligence and Policy, Leeds City Council
  • Professor Rebecca Madgin, Professor of Urban Studies, University of Glasgow
  • Sophia de Sousa, Chief Executive, The Glass-House Community Led Design.

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.