Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Future of language research fellowships

Update 29 September 2021: We have been experiencing technical issues with the Je-S application form. We apologise that the form was not available until 24 September.

Apply for funding for a research fellowship. Your work will help AHRC decide which areas of language research to support.

You must:

  • hold a PhD (or equivalent experience) in languages, linguistics or a related field
  • be engaged in postdoctoral research at an eligible research organisation.

Your work will include:

  • identifying potential threats, risks, emerging issues and opportunities
  • comparing our current funding with our desired results.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £62,500. AHRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Your fellowship can last up to five months. It must:

  • start between 1 January 2022 and 31 January 2022
  • end by 31 May 2022.

Who can apply

Experience and skills

You must have:

  • an outstanding track record (appropriate to career stage) in languages research
  • a track record that spans at least one of European, non-European, heritage and community languages
  • familiarity with the breadth of the UK languages research community
  • ability to build and maintain relationships with diverse stakeholders, with experience of working with focus groups or advisory groups to gain input
  • excellent communication skills, in written and verbal form, and able to write informative text suitable for different audiences.

Additionally, it is desirable for the fellow to possess an understanding of:

  • the wider UK languages landscape, spanning schools and higher education
  • the relevant UK languages policy contexts.

The two fellows must be able to work together constructively and collaboratively on the final report. Ideally, we would expect the two fellows to have distinct, though possibly overlapping, areas of expertise, though this is not a formal condition of appointment.

Academic eligibility

To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • be a resident in the UK
  • be actively engaged in postdoctoral research and be of postdoctoral standing
  • hold a PhD (or equivalent professional experience) in languages, linguistics or a related field (you must demonstrate in your application the relevance of a qualification in a related field)
  • have a minimum of seven years’ professional experience, including line management and collaborative working, within a research-intensive environment
  • demonstrate experience of planning, managing and delivering complex projects involving multiple stakeholders
  • submit a letter of support from an eligible research organisation by whom you are employed, or with whom you have a formal affiliation
  • be available to work a minimum of 0.6 FTE for up to five months between January and May 2022.

Contractual eligibility

Applicants must either:

  • be employed by the research organisation submitting the proposal
  • not be employed by the submitting organisation but have an existing written formal arrangement with the organisation confirming that they support managing your payment for the award as if you were an employee.

If you are not employed by the submitting organisation you must be either:

  • employed elsewhere and seconded to the submitting organisation
  • not employed at all (for example, retired investigator, honorary or visiting fellow).

Institutional eligibility

The applicant must be associated with a UK research organisation, or independent research organisation, that adheres to the requirements outlined in the AHRC research funding guide.

What we're looking for

AHRC are looking to fund two research fellows to conduct horizon scanning and gap analysis and related tasks to inform the future of possible AHRC investment in languages research.

Working with AHRC staff and data, this appointment will take note of existing achievements, including but not restricted to the Open World Research Initiative (OWRI). However, it will look beyond AHRC’s previous funding to identify new and emerging research themes and relevant policy areas that languages research could address. This would include the research agendas of:

  • both academic and non-academic communities
  • wider stakeholders
  • government departments
  • those that do not usually receive funding from AHRC.

This horizon-scanning exercise will focus on the AHRC remit area of global languages. The posts will be supported for a five-month period, after which findings will be summarised into a report for the executive team of the AHRC.

It is anticipated that the post holders will complete an initial review within the first month (due end of January 2022 or early February 2022), followed by a fuller final report at the end of the five-month period (deadline end of May 2022).

The fellows will also be expected to have regular informal interactions with AHRC staff to monitor progress. In addition, the fellows will benefit from AHRC’s connections with:

  • award holders
  • subject associations
  • government departments.


Outputs expected from this exercise in the final report include, but are not limited to:

Research questions

Questions explored by this project may include, but are not limited to:

  • what topics within languages research in the UK are:
    • emerging
    • under-researched
    • both emerging and under-researched?
  • how are indigenous and community languages represented in the UK research and innovation landscape, and what changes in this area might make way for new opportunities for languages research?
  • how are indigenous and community languages represented in community co-produced projects?
  • what are the opportunities for new interdisciplinary collaborations within and beyond language departments?
  • how does languages research align with the government departments’ areas of research interest?
  • what opportunities for new languages research lie in the overlap between languages and the other disciplines?
  • how can languages research in the UK contribute to addressing wider social challenges in the UK?
  • what opportunities for new languages research lie in links to the wider cultural or heritage sector?
  • what opportunities for new languages research lie in the value added or commercial benefits of languages to business and the business sector?
  • what opportunities for new languages research lie in the intangible cultural value of languages?

Funding available

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £62,500. For these fellowships, AHRC will meet 80% of the full economic cost, so a maximum of £50,000 will be available to support each of the research fellows for five months.

The award must start between 1 January 2022 and 31 January 2022.

It must produce a finished report no later than 31 May 2022.

How to apply

To apply for these roles, please submit an application using the Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S). As part of your application please indicate why your expertise would be valuable and relevant for that role.

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:

  • council: AHRC
  • document type: fellowship
  • scheme: fellowships
  • call/type/mode: AHRC Languages Horizon Scanning Research Fellowships.

To apply, you need:

  • a completed application form
  • an up-to-date CV outlining your relevant experience, no more than two pages in length
  • a cover letter or statement of support, no more than two pages in length
  • a letter of support from your current employing organisation.

The letter of support must:

  • recognise that for the duration of the fellowship you will contracted at least 0.6 FTE to the project
  • endorse the applicant as:
    • a ‘future leader’ within their organisation
    • an ideal candidate to act as a liaison point with the languages community.

You can find advice on completing your application in the Je-S handbook.

Applicants must have a Je-S account.  Where this doesn’t already exist, it can easily be 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.

Create an account on the Je-S site.

During account set-up, an account type of ‘An applicant on a standard or outline proposal’ must be selected.

Applications should be submitted through the Je-S system at the latest by 16:00 on 26 October 2021 and will need to go through the appropriate institution submission process. Except where specifically noted on this page, standard AHRC policies and guidelines will apply.

AHRC research funding guide

How we will assess your application

Applications will be assessed by a panel of experts and members of AHRC’s executive team against the eligibility criteria.

Due to the short timescales required by this call, we regret that it may not be possible to give comprehensive feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

Contact details

Ask a question about this post or your application

James Fenner

Additional info

Fellows are entitled to take parental leave in accordance with the terms and conditions of their employment.

We will consider requests for a fellowship grant to be placed in abeyance during the absence of the research fellow for parental leave, and the period of the fellowship extended by the period of leave.

We will also consider requests to continue the fellowship on a flexible or part-time basis to allow the research fellow to meet caring responsibilities.

Supporting documents

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