Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Examining UK-China creative industries research and innovation

Apply for funding to analyse creative industries research and innovation collaboration between the UK and China.

You must be from one of the following:

  • eligible higher education institution
  • independent research organisation
  • research council institute in the UK.

You must collaborate with at least one research organisation in China and engage with industry in the UK and China.

Your research will:

  • inform UKRI’s future investments in working with China
  • support the research and innovation community in future UK-China collaborations.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £100,000. We will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Who can apply

Applications must be submitted by an eligible higher education institution, independent research organisation or research council institute in the UK. They must involve collaboration with at least one research organisation in China.

All applications must also include engagement with industry organisations in the UK and China.

Applications to this call must be made by a principal investigator who is contracted to a UK university or independent research organisation (IRO) and is eligible to receive AHRC funding.

What we're looking for

Applicants should identify the one theme to which their proposal principally responds, though proposals might cut across more than one of these themes or introduce new areas of inquiry relating to research, development and innovation in the creative industries.

Creative industries: audiences and consumer culture

Audience insights

For example, responding to questions such as:

  • how do consumption, platforms and content formats differ in the two countries? How might these differences create barriers to, and opportunities for, future research, development and innovation collaboration?
  • what are the key emerging trends in this area and what do these suggest for future models of collaboration?

Localisation of culture

For example:

  • how is culture localised for the UK and China across the creative industries?
  • how can audiences, stories, histories, and form of content be adjusted for the other market?

Sector mapping: research, development and innovation and the creative industries

Market intelligence and ‘horizon scanning’ for the creative industries in UK and China

For example:

  • what are the key market forces and industry dynamics shaping the evolution of the creative industries in the UK and China?
  • what are the key points of difference and intersection between the two markets, and what needs to be done to create conditions that are conducive to future collaboration?
  • what are the key policy trends shaping research, development and innovation in the creative industries in the UK and China? How might the opportunities these create be maximised and how might the barriers these create be overcome?

Creative industries research, development and innovation landscape mapping

For example:

  • what are the existing UK-China research, development and innovation capacities, centres or clusters and how do they operate?
  • what are the sectoral developments in creative industries research, development and innovation and what are the impacts of these developments for researchers and research funders?
  • how does research and business culture in the creative industries differ between the two countries, and how can research, development and innovation collaborations navigate this?

Practical and legal considerations for international research, development and innovation in the creative industries

Intellectual property (IP) and copyright

For example:

  • how does co-authoring operate across the two jurisdictions, and what is best practice for protection and enforcement?
  • how should creators register, protect and enforce IP and copyright in both countries?
  • what are the legal processes and entities required for this purpose?

Navigating cyber security laws and data sharing

For example, how do creative industries researchers and businesses legally collect, analyse and share user and audience data across borders?

The creative industries should be central to all proposals, however applicants may also wish to consider how the creative industries in the UK and China intersect with and inform other sectors of industry, such as:

  • net-zero
  • health
  • smart cities
  • the digital economy
  • technology development
  • tourism
  • nightlife.

Reflecting AHRC, EPSRC and Innovate UK’s collaboration on the wider UK-China collaboration in the creative industries programme, interdisciplinary activity is strongly encouraged, both within the arts and humanities and, more widely, through the integration of:

  • social sciences and science
  • technology
  • engineering
  • mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

Proposals should, however, be mainly grounded within AHRC’s remit (with over 50% AHRC remit). Those that are not will be deemed ineligible.

Applicants should also consider how their proposal makes the best use of available expertise in the UK and China, together with the added value of new or existing collaborations.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted through the Je-S system by 16:00 on 7 October 2021 and will need to go through the appropriate institution submission process. You should submit your proposal using the research councils’ Joint Electronic Submissions system (Je-S).

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/mode: Understanding the Future of UK-China R+I in the Creative Industries 7 October 2021.

Further information about this opportunity can be found in the call guidance (PDF, 212KB)

How we will assess your application

AHRC staff will review applications for eligibility, completeness and fit to opportunity after the submission deadline.

Proposals will be considered by a cross-disciplinary expert assessment panel drawing on members of AHRC’s Peer Review College and other experts as appropriate.

There will not be a separate stage of individual peer review for each application prior to consideration by the panel. Therefore, applicant teams will not receive feedback on their applications in the form of individual peer reviewers’ comments.

The assessment panel will agree on grades for each proposal, agree a ranked priority list of applications and make funding recommendations to AHRC.

The following criteria will be used to assess proposals:

  • quality and vision
  • people and partnerships
  • management of the project
  • value for money
  • outputs, dissemination and impact.

The primary consideration will be the quality of the applications, in making recommendations to the AHRC for funding. However, the panel will also be asked to consider the balance of the overall portfolio of projects in relation to the themes and scope of the opportunity.

Applicant teams will be notified of funding decisions by email in December 2021 or January 2022.

Contact details

Further information about this opportunity can be found in the call guidance (PDF, 212KB)

Ask about this funding opportunity

The opportunity is managed by AHRC’s international partnerships and engagement team.


Additional info

The UK-China Fund for International Collaboration in the Creative Industries programme is being delivered over four years in partnership with:

  • Innovate UK
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
  • the Shanghai Theatre Academy (STA)
  • the Shanghai Economy and Information Technology Commission (SEITC)
  • the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (STCSM).

With a specific focus on Shanghai as China’s cultural and creative industries powerhouse, the overarching aim of the programme is to enable a rapid scaling-up of engagements between the UK and China.

This will facilitate new collaborations in the creative industries that deliver sustained economic, cultural and intellectual benefits in both countries.

Supporting documents

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