Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: International Fellowships for Doctoral and Early Career Researchers 2024

Start application

Apply for a funded fellowship at an international institution.

Fellowships are available at:

  • US:
    • Harry Ransom Center
    • Huntington Library
    • Library of Congress
    • Smithsonian Institution
    • Yale Centre for British Art
  • Japan:
    • National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU)
  • China:
    • Shanghai Theatre Academy

You will receive £1,000 for travel and visa costs (£1,200 for travel to Japan and China) and £1,925 for each month of the fellowship. You can apply for two to six months of funding.

Please refer to the ‘Additional Information’ for more information on the aims of the scheme and an overview of each host.

Who can apply

This opportunity is open to:

PhD students funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) may apply for a fellowship at the Library of Congress.

AHRC applicants must apply to undertake primary research in an AHRC subject area for all hosts.

ESRC-funded PhD students are only eligible to apply to Library of Congress and must be applying to undertake primary research in an ESRC subject area.

AHRC applicants can apply for a fellowship at more than one institution in a single round, noting that separate applications need to be submitted However, dates and applications must:

  • be for separate and distinct research work packages
  • not overlap
  • take place in one continuous block of time
  • not be interdependent

If applying for a fellowship at more than one institution, you should also check that there are no visa restrictions on returning to the host country within the same year.

You can only hold a fellowship at the same institution once in each stage of their career, for example once as a student and once as an ECR.

Deferred entry applications are not permitted. Equally, if your application is successful but you cannot undertake your placement, you must reapply the following year.

Before applying, you must secure the approval of your UK research organisation and supervisor (for PhD students) or head of department (early career researchers and research assistants) to attend the placement in full, should the application be successful.

Before applying for funding, check the Eligibility of your organisation.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service.

For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

Who is eligible to apply

Individual eligibility for PhD students

AHRC-funded doctoral students can apply to any host. ESRC-funded doctoral students can only apply to Library of Congress.

Placements must be undertaken during the funded period of your doctoral award.

PhD students must include their doctoral training grant reference in the ‘About you’ section of the application form.

Because these fellowships are intended to enrich and form part of the period of doctoral study, no additional time will be added to the doctoral award end date.

Individual eligibility for ECRs

At the point of application, you must have a contract with a UK research organisation that extends beyond the end date of the International Placement Scheme (IPS) fellowship, and be either within:

  • eight years of the award of your PhD or equivalent professional training
  • six years of your first academic appointment

These durations should exclude any period of career break. We define a career break as an extended period of time when you have not been actively engaged in scholarly research or teaching at a higher education institution. The career break could be, for example, for family care or health reasons. See section two of AHRC’s research funding guide for further information on the eligibility criteria for early career researchers.

Doctoral level research assistants are eligible – you must:

  • be of postdoctoral standing, having either a PhD qualification or equivalent research experience
  • and have a contract with a UK research organisation at the time of application that extends beyond the end date of the IPS fellowship

You will be asked to provide evidence of how you meet this criteria. Failure to do so could result in your application being rejected. Where previous AHRC funding has been held, ECRs must include their previous grant reference in the application form.

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)

We invite applications from eligible doctoral students, and early career researchers in any arts and humanities discipline (and doctoral students in the social sciences for the Library of Congress) and from all regions and nations of the UK.

We are committed to promoting the values of equality of opportunity, diversity, and inclusivity. A dynamic, diverse and inclusive research and innovation system must be an integral part of UK society, giving everyone the opportunity to participate and to benefit. Therefore, we particularly encourage applications from persons who identify as:

  • an ethnic minority
  • people with health conditions or impairments
  • persons of diverse gender identities and expressions
  • persons identifying with other groups who are currently underrepresented

Disabled applicants may request an appropriate amount of additional funding where this is essential to taking up the fellowship and where it cannot be provided by routes such as the UKRI disabled students allowance. Applicants requiring this additional support should contact AHRC for further guidance and to discuss how to reflect this request within the application form.

Applications to UKRI through the new Funding Service can only be made if you have completed our EDI survey, which you are prompted to do when you open an account. However, diversity information will never be used in the assessment process nor to make funding decisions.

Host-specific eligibility

Applicants to NIHU, looking to work with the following collections, are required to speak and understand Japanese to an advanced level:

  • National Institute of Japanese Literature (NIJL)
  • National Museum of Japanese History (NMJH)
  • (Depending on the research field) International Research Center for Japanese Studies (IRCJS)

For all other NIHU institutes, a knowledge of basic (conversational) Japanese is useful, but not compulsory.

Applicants to the Smithsonian Institution must select, and approach a contact, at the Institution in advance of submitting their application. This contact will act as an adviser should the respective application be successful. Please use the 2022 Smithsonian opportunities for research and study guide in order to contact an appropriate Smithsonian academic or staff member.

What we're looking for

Scope

We’re looking to fund eligible PhD students and early career researchers to complete a research fellowship at an international cultural institution for two to six months.

The International Placement Scheme (IPS) provides early career researchers, and AHRC-funded and ESRC-funded doctoral students, with inclusive and dedicated access to the internationally renowned collections, programmes and expertise held at IPS host institutions.

The scheme aims to enhance the depth, range, diversity, and quality of research activities conducted by scholars, including research exploring under-represented and under-researched cultures and histories.

IPS provides unique opportunities for networking with other international scholars based at these world-renowned institutions and can have a transformational impact on personal development and career progression.

The IPS host institutions for this round are:

  • Harry Ransom Center
  • Huntington Library
  • Library of Congress
  • National Institutes for the Humanities, Japan
  • Shanghai Theatre Academy, China
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Yale Centre for British Art

Your fellowship must be based on your area of current research (including your doctoral research if you are a PhD student). The proposed research activities and outputs from your fellowship should complement, strengthen, or build on your current area of research. You will need to propose a distinct package of research in your application and explain how this project relates to both your current research and the collections and expertise of your prospective host institution.

Full details of the documentation required can be found in ‘How to apply’, and the assessment criteria for applications to this scheme are available under ‘How we will assess your application’.

Duration

Please refer to the Available Fellowships document (PDF, 86KB) for information regarding the number of fellowships expected to be awarded by AHRC at each host, as well as the eligible period for undertaking a placement.

Funding available

The following should be noted with regards to costs and the application process:

  • all IPS placements will be between three to six months, except for the Harry Ransom Centre and Shanghai Theatre Academy, and the total awarded will be a £1,000 one-off stipend for travel and visa costs (£1,200 for applicants to NIHU and STA) and a living stipend of £1,925 for each month of the fellowship
  • limited additional support may be agreed by AHRC on a case-by-case basis for applicants with disabilities, to support inclusive and accessible participation
  • the stipends will be paid directly to the submitting UK research organisation (RO) at 100% full economic cost. It is a condition of the award that the RO pays funds to fellows in full, in advance of the placement. This will allow flights and accommodation to be booked by the fellow in advance of their placement. The RO will then recoup the funds when these are paid to them by AHRC.
  • IPS fellows will continue to receive any stipend or salary they receive as part of any current AHRC or ESRC award funding. PhD students will not be allowed additional time will be added to AHRC or ESRC award end date or submission date to account for time spent on their placement
  • you should discuss your work plan with your supervisor (if a PhD student) or head of department (if an ECR or research assistant) and the IPS host institution to ensure your proposed research can be completed within a realistic timescale and will appropriately feed into your current research or any AHRC parent project
  • There is no cap on the number of applications that can be submitted by a UK RO

How to apply

Preparing your application

You must identify and research the institutions’ collections, fully familiarising yourself with them and how they are relevant to your own research. Please visit the institutions’ individual websites as a starting point to investigate the collections and inform your choice:

Once this initial step is completed, you can proceed to directly contact the relevant IPS institution to discuss your potential application and for information about the collections.

For NIHU and the Smithsonian Institution, you must contact the institutions before applying. For the other hosts, it is optional but highly recommended. Any contact should be made as soon as possible before the application deadline. Contact details can be found in the ‘Contact’ section of this page.

The project lead is responsible for completing the application process on the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service, but we expect all team members and project partners to contribute to the application.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

If a student’s PhD is funded through a consortium of research organisations, the application should be submitted by the student’s home research organisation rather than the consortia lead research organisation.

To apply

PhD students and ECRs are both eligible to apply as a Project Lead for this funding opportunity. UKRI expects that the research organisation will ensure that students do not apply for any other opportunities as a project lead unless it is specified that they are eligible to do so.

  1. Confirm you are the project lead.
  2. Sign in or create a Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email support@funding-service.ukri.org Please allow at least 10 working days for your organisation to be added to the Funding Service.
  3. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the How to apply section on this Funding finder page.
  4. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.
  5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. If using visual elements, you must:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words
  • insert each new image onto a new line
  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)
  • files must be smaller than 8MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.

For more guidance on the Funding Service, see:

Make sure you get any necessary approval from your organisation in advance and give your research office plenty of time to review and submit your application before the closing date.

Deadline

AHRC must receive your application by 12 March 2024 at 4.00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

Make sure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines.

Following the submission of your application to the funding opportunity, your application cannot be changed, and applications will not be returned for amendment. If your application does not follow the guidance, it may be rejected.

Personal data

Processing personal data

AHRC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your Funding Service account and the registration of your funding applications.
We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

AHRC as part of UKRI, will need to share the application and any personal information that it contains with the host institutions so that they can participate in the assessment process.

Publication of outcomes

AHRC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity.

Important note for ECRs: If your application is successful, we will publish some personal information on the UKRI Gateway to Research.

Summary

Word limit: 250

In plain English, provide a summary of your proposed fellowship that can be sent to your intended host organisation to determine if they think you are a good fit.

This summary may be made publicly available on external facing websites, so please ensure it can be understood by a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the general public
  • the wider research community

Your summary must include:

the name of the IPS host you aspire to study at (remember, if you are an ESRC applicant you can only apply for the Library of Congress).

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL) – PhD students and ECRs are both eligible to apply under this role for this opportunity

Only list one individual as project lead.

Application questions

Eligibility to apply for opportunity

Word limit: 200

Provide details about your eligibility status

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are a PhD student, please provide the following information:

  • the title of your PhD
  • the grant reference number for your current AHRC (beginning AH) or ESRC award (beginning ES). If that award is part of an institutional block grant or consortia grant, for example: BGP, DTP, DTC, CDA or CDP, we also require that grant reference number. If you are unsure of your grant reference number, you must contact your research organisation
  • confirmation that if the application is successful no additional time will be added to the doctoral award end date

If you are an early career researcher, provide information detailing how you meet the eligibility criteria by confirming you have:

  • a contract with a UK research organisation (RO) that extends beyond the end date of the IPS fellowship, and be either within:
    • eight years of the award of your PhD or equivalent professional training
    • six years of your first academic appointment

Note that the durations should exclude any period of career break.

If you are a doctoral level research assistant provide information detailing how you meet the eligibility criteria by confirming you:

  • are of postdoctoral standing, having either a PhD qualification or equivalent research experience
  • have a contract with a UK RO at the time of application that extends beyond the end date of the IPS fellowship

Purpose

Word limit: 500

Why is the travel needed?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain why the proposed travel is necessary and where alternative approaches are not appropriate, including reference to:

  • added value to existing or future research and innovation
  • promotion of collaboration
  • acquisition and development of skills
  • benefit to the countries, organisations and regions involved where appropriate
  • why you are the best person to carry out this visit
  • why the place you are travelling to is the best place to go to, in terms of people and resources (including access to particular collections)
  • a breakdown of how the time spent there would be used

Within this section we expect you to provide:

  • a summary of the research you propose to conduct during your IPS fellowship, indicating how it relates to your current research
  • explanation of how your research objectives, methodologies, context or both could offer a unique contribution to your host community

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the service.

Applicant experience

Word limit: 600

Why are you the right individual to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to make best use of the benefits presented by this funding opportunity to develop your career
  • the right balance of skills and aptitude (including language proficiency if relevant) to deliver the proposed work

Within this section we expect you to include:

  • a brief summary of your current research to date (including any AHRC/ESRC-funded grants)
  • a timeline for the completion of any current research projects, showing the stage you are at now and the stage at which the IPS fellowship would take place (you may include a table if it helps)

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the service.

Your supervisor’s or head of department support

Word limit: 400

Provide a statement of support from your Supervisor if applying as a PhD student or Head of Department if ECR.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Reviewers will be looking for a strong statement of support.

The statement should include:

  • why the proposed institution is appropriate for you to conduct your research
  • details of the supervisory arrangements that will be in place while you are undertaking your research during this placement
  • assurance that the time spent at on the IPS will not result in extra time being required to complete the current research funded by AHRC/ESRC

You must also include the following details:

  • the person’s name and position
  • office address or web link

Upload details are provided within the service on the actual application.

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

All applications will be checked for eligibility after the funding opportunity closes.

Eligible applications will be shared with the respective placement institutions and will be reviewed by relevant experts at the institutions. Scores and comments from the host reviews will then be moderated by AHRC and ESRC.

Applications which do not meet the eligibility requirements of this funding opportunity will be rejected prior to the reviewing stage. We will notify the submitter for any applications rejected at this stage.

Outcomes

Funding decisions will be communicated to the persons who were selected as ‘grant holders’ on the application form. Where the applicant is a student, this email should be forwarded to them without delay.

The email will provide successful applicants with further information about their placement and will request confirmation of the start and end dates of each placement.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

Assessment areas

The assessment areas we will use are:

  • eligibility
  • purpose
  • applicant experience
  • supervisor’s or head of department’s support

Find details of assessment questions and criteria under the ‘Application questions’ heading in the ‘How to apply’ section.

Contact details

Get help with your application

If you have a question and the answers aren’t provided on this page

Important note: The Helpdesk is committed to helping users of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service as effectively and as quickly as possible. In order to manage cases at peak volume times, the Helpdesk will triage and prioritise those queries with an imminent opportunity deadline or a technical issue. Enquiries raised where information is available on the Funding Finder opportunity page and should be understood early in the application process (for example, regarding eligibility or content/remit of an opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

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.

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity please contact enquiries@ahrc.ukri.org

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org
Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

To help us process queries quicker, we request that users highlight the council and opportunity name in the subject title of their email query, include the application reference number, and refrain from contacting more than one mailbox at a time.

Find out more information on submitting an application.

For questions relating to the host institutions (for example about collections or accommodation), a list of appropriate contacts at each placement institution who can be contacted to discuss the application is below.

Harry Ransom Center

Please consult the collections page for information on collections at the Harry Ransom Center.

For additional information please contact: ransomfellowships@utexas.edu

Huntington Library

Please consult the Library Collections for information on collections at the Huntington Library.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact curators with questions related to the collections.

For all other queries please contact:

Krystal Satrum, Fellowships Program Coordinator

Email: fellowships@huntington.org

Library of Congress

Travis Hensley, Program Manager, The John W. Kluge Center

Email: then@loc.gov

Travis will direct you to the appropriate individual.

Smithsonian Institution

From the Smithsonian website, please select a name by clicking into the 2022 SORS and searching for the appropriate individual. If successful, the selected individual will act as advisor during the applicant’s time at Smithsonian. As such, applicants must include the name and department of their advisor when submitting their application form to AHRC. When contacting the Smithsonian, please use this email template (PDF, 118KB).

You may also wish to contact the Office of International Relations for queries relating to visas:

Laine Rover

Email: roverl@si.edu

Emma Stone

Email: stoneer@si.edu

National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU)

Research Institute for Humanity and Nature

International Affairs Subsection

Email: kokusai@chikyu.ac.jp

Research Institute for Humanity and Nature website.

International Research Center for Japanese Studies

International Research Promotion Unit

Email: koryu@nichibun.ac.jp

International Research Center for Japanese Studies website.

National Museum of Ethnology

International Cooperation Unit

Email: kokkyo@minpaku.ac.jp

National Museum of Ethnology website.

National Museum of Japanese History

International Exchange Section Department

Email: kokusai-e@ml.rekihaku.ac.jp

National Museum of Japanese History website.

National Institute of Japanese Literature

General Affairs Division

Email: study-ml@nijl.ac.jp

National Institute of Japanese Literature website.

National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics

Research Promotion Division

Email: suishinka@ninjal.ac.jp

National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics website.

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email the Funding Service helpdesk on support@funding-service.ukri.org

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the ‘Applicant and team capability’ section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
  • the application is an invited resubmission

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, read UKRI’s privacy notice.

Additional info

Successful applications

Once outcomes are issued, successful applicants will have 10 working days to confirm their start and end dates. Failure to do so will result in AHRC using the dates originally selected in the application. Beyond this, applicants will be required to contact the host institution directly to discuss the feasibility of any changes before contacting AHRC to approve and process any changes.

Around 30 days from the first successful notification, the UK research organisation responsible for submitting the application will receive an official offer document from AHRC via our grants system confirming the dates and funding amount. This should be sent on to the successful applicant.

Finally, the applicant will receive documentation from their placement institution. Further details of this will be provided if their application is successful.

If successful, IPS fellows are responsible for booking travel and accommodation (including any travel insurance) and securing appropriate visa arrangements themselves. Local accommodation is available close to each host institution. Further information regarding accommodation options will be provided if you are successful.

The offer letter issued by AHRC and the paperwork from individual placement institutions will be sufficient to support a visa application, and the UK research organisation may be able to offer support for this process. Successful applicants are advised to start the visa application process as early as possible, and to be aware that there is a short turnaround time between outcomes being issued and the earliest possible placement start dates.

Reporting outputs and impacts

All recipients of research council funding are required to enter the details of their outputs and impacts through the Researchfish system. Students are only required to enter details in Researchfish from the third year of their PhD onwards.

ECRs are required to enter details from the first year of their main research grant. Invitation emails will be sent to award holders at the point at which they are required to start using Researchfish.

Find out more details regarding Researchfish.

For further information on supporting training awards please see:

Webinar

AHRC will be hosting a webinar on 10 January 2024 at 3pm to talk you through the application process.

Register for webinar.

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