Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: International networks for disability-inclusive global development

Please note that this call guidance is specific to this call and supersedes our standard policies. For any policies and guidelines that are not highlighted here, please refer to the AHRC Funding Guide.

The reason that the funding guide document has been referenced is because, unless indicated in the funding opportunity, the funding guide guidance will become the default for eligibility and policies.

Apply for funding to explore the impact of arts and humanities research on disability-inclusive sustainable global development.

This is a highlight notice for the AHRC research networking scheme (Arts and Humanities Perspectives and Shared Learning: Disability Inclusive Sustainable Global Development).

The principal investigator must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for AHRC funding.

You will need to establish international research networks.

Unlike AHRC’s standard research networking scheme, there is no ‘additional allowance’ for international costs as it is expected that international costs will be integrated within the higher overall funding limit of £100,000 for applications to this highlight notice.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £100,000. AHRC will fund:

  • 80% of the full economic cost for UK researchers
  • 100% of the full economic cost for some international costs.

Who can apply

This funding opportunity is open to proposals for international networks involving any combinations of countries and contexts. This includes those that support two-way south-north learning and south-south learning.

Project beneficiaries can be in the UK or anywhere in the world.

The principal investigator must meet standard AHRC eligibility criteria and be based at a UK research organisation eligible to receive AHRC funding. Unless indicated in this funding opportunity text, the standard eligibility and funding requirements of AHRC’s research networking scheme will apply.

Proposals must involve at least one international co-investigator and there is no limit on the number of co-investigators who may be included.

For applications involving partnerships with developing countries, applicants can make the case for the standard 30% limit on international co-investigator costs paid at 100% of the full economic cost (fEC) to be increased to 50% of the total amount requested.

Networks should fall primarily within the remit of the AHRC but are encouraged to be cross-disciplinary both within and beyond the arts and humanities. Applicants from any discipline can apply as a part of cross-disciplinary teams.

Including persons with disabilities

Networks should take positive action to involve persons with disabilities in the leadership and governance of networking activities, as well as in networking activities themselves. This can be through any combination of persons with disabilities acting as:

  • investigators
  • team members
  • project partners and collaborators
  • members of management, advisory and other governance structures.

What we're looking for

This funding opportunity is looking to support research networking activities exploring the distinctive contributions that arts and humanities research can make to achieving disability inclusive sustainable global development.

Research networks are intended to:

  • stimulate new debate and exchange of ideas between researchers and stakeholders
  • develop or extend research partnerships, collaborations and ways of working across organisational, disciplinary, national or other boundaries
  • support collaboration and inclusive engagement of wider communities in research agenda settings, co-design and critical reflection.

In particular, networks are expected to support:

  • international research collaboration which supports cross-cultural learning, the sharing of experience across contexts and equitable international partnership development
  • participatory or co-researched approaches which forefront the voices, ideas and experiences of persons with disabilities.

Boundary crossing proposals that support the development of interdisciplinary perspectives connecting within and beyond the arts and humanities, and engagement with policy, practice and civil society are encouraged.

Proposals can be to develop new networks and partnerships or to expand existing networks and partnerships. Where proposals build on existing partnerships, they will need to clarify how they will add value to them and develop new collaborations (for example, by expanding their international reach).

Accessible and inclusive ways of working should be built into proposals from the outset.

We expect proposals to be guided by the following cross-cutting principles laid out in Article 3 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD):

  • respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy, including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons with disabilities
  • non-discrimination
  • full and effective participation and inclusion in society
  • respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and human diversity and humanity
  • equality of opportunity
  • accessibility
  • equality between men and women
  • respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.

Research areas

To support research creativity and innovation, we will accept a wide range of topics for this funding opportunity, provided that they meet the overall aims and scope outlined above.

For this funding opportunity we are applying a broad definition of persons with disabilities in line with the CRPD, which states, “Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others”.

Examples of research areas emerging from engagement activities in the development of this funding opportunity and from current activities under the AHRC disability research portfolio (which networks could seek to address) include the following.

Access to culture

This could include:

  • access to culture (including faiths, arts, heritage and public spaces)
  • innovations in improving accessibility of culture
  • cultural, creative and community participation
  • understanding the value and benefits of participation.

Design of services

This could include:

  • innovative, inclusive co-design of services
  • tailoring interventions to the needs of particular groups.


This could include:

  • enabling and empowerment
  • self-help
  • active citizenship
  • enhancing and unlocking capabilities
  • amplifying voice
  • addressing inequalities in power.

Protection, rights and security

This could include exploring the protection, rights, safeguarding and security of persons with disabilities and access to justice in a range of contexts, such as:

  • protection from violence and abuse, including domestic and gender-based violence
  • contexts of heightened risk, for example in humanitarian, fragile, conflict-affected or post- disaster contexts, or in specific institutional settings (such as prisons and social care settings)
  • issues affecting particular groups such as displaced populations or specific identity groups.

Unlocking the potential of cultural assets or creative methods

This could include:

  • different forms of artistic practice or cultural production, for example to build social networks or tackle isolation or to support research engagement with different groups
  • the development of ethical, equitable and accessible participatory and co-researching approaches.

Narratives and representation of persons with disabilities

This could include:

  • positive narratives of success and achievement and tackling stereotyping and social stigma
  • tackling under-representation of persons with disabilities in specific areas of culture, arts heritage, collections and other related areas.

Tackling marginalisation

This could include:

  • tackling marginalisation, discrimination and exclusion
  • addressing intersecting issues such as gender and cumulative disadvantage and inequalities.

Global Disability Summit issues and trends

Consultations held in different countries to inform the second Global Disability Summit held on 15 to 17 February 2022 have also identified key emerging issues and trends that networks could explore, such as:

  • access to communication and information
  • access to justice
  • active citizenship and participation
  • deinstitutionalisation and access to community-based support
  • economic, social and cultural rights
  • independent living and inclusion in society, including design of places and spaces
  • involvement of local communities and access to or design of community-based services
  • legal capacity
  • right to land and property
  • sport and cultural events.

The areas highlighted above are intended as a stimulus for ideas rather than as a comprehensive list of potential topics.

Existing AHRC portfolio

In addition, engagement activities have also indicated a need for research networks in this field that:

  • reflect the heterogeneity of disabilities, voices and experience
  • recognise the intersecting factors that shape experience including issues such as discrimination, power, protection of human rights, access to justice, violence, displacement, conflict and fragility
  • encourage equitable partnerships
  • embed and exemplify accessible, inclusive and sustainable working practices
  • fully address ethical and safeguarding issues.

Funding available and project duration

We will support approximately eight to 10 awards of varying sizes for up to £100,000 (full economic cost) each. Your project can last for between 12 and 24 months.

The standard AHRC funding limit for the networking scheme has been increased to £100,000 (full economic cost) for this funding opportunity to allow greater scope to include costs to support accessibility and inclusive participation, as well as to support equitable international partnership working.

Unlike AHRC’s standard research networking scheme, there is no ‘additional allowance’ for international costs as it is expected that international costs will be integrated within the higher overall funding limit of £100,000 for applications to this highlight notice.

How to apply

You should ensure you are aware of and comply with any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.

Applying using Je-S

You must apply using the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

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 ‘new document’ then:

  • council: AHRC
  • document type: Standard proposal
  • scheme: Research networking
  • call/type/mode: Research Networking Highlight – Arts and Humanities Perspectives: Disability Inclusive Sustainable Global Development 22 Sept 2022.

Once you have completed your application, make sure you ‘submit document’.

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

Your host organisation will also be able to provide advice and guidance on completing your application.

AHRC must receive your application by 22 September 2022 at 16:00.

You will not be able to apply after this time. Please leave enough time for your proposal to pass through your organisation’s Je-S submission route before this date.

Proposals will need to include a section in the case for support outlining how you will address issues of accessibility and disability-inclusive ways of working and participatory practices, as well as intersecting issues of gender, rights, diversity and inequalities.

Read the AHRC research funding guide (pages 22 to 26) for further details on applying.


As well as the Je-S application form, the following documents outlined below 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 funding opportunity 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

This is mandatory and must be no more than six sides of A4.

You should use the following section headings for the narrative:

  • rationale and research context
  • aims and objectives
  • timetable of activities
  • key participants
  • inclusion and accessibility
  • management and coordination, including equitable international working
  • ethical and safeguarding issues (and other issues such as conflict sensitivity where applicable)
  • outputs, dissemination and impact.

The case for support attachment must give details of:

  • the aims and objectives
  • the timetable for any proposed activities, proposed participants and key speakers
  • plans for management and coordination, including the membership of any proposed advisory group or steering committee.

It should also clearly outline the rationale for the activities, your approach and the research context by explaining:

  • the central theme of the proposed activity and how this relates to the themes in this funding opportunity
  • why it is important that this theme is explored
  • what is innovative about the network
  • how your research questions will be addressed
  • how the network will support participatory or co-researched approaches which forefront the voices, ideas and experiences of persons with disabilities
  • how international collaboration and shared learning will add value to the proposed activities
  • how the proposed activities will create genuine interaction across boundaries and advance understanding
  • how the network will address questions of equitable partnership working, ethics, risk, equalities and inclusion, safeguarding, conflict sensitivities and other related issues.

Justification of resources

This is mandatory and must be no more than two sides of A4.

All costs must be justified in this attachment.


This is mandatory. Each CV must be no more than two sides of A4.

You must provide a CV for each named applicant.

List of publications

This is mandatory and must be no more than one side of A4.

Project partner letter of support

This is only mandatory if you have named project partners in your proposal.

This must be no more than two sides of A4 on headed paper, signed and dated.

See section four on the application guidance page of the AHRC research funding guide for further details of what constitutes a project partner.

International co-investigator Head of Department statement

This is only mandatory if an international co-investigator is named in the proposal.

This must be no more than two sides of A4 on headed paper, signed and dated.

Visual evidence

This is optional. It must be no more than one side of A4.

Work plan

This is optional. It must be no more than one side of A4.

Cost information

You must itemise all costs separately within the budget breakdown section of the application, and clearly indicate the costs of international collaboration.

In addition, all costs must be justified in the ‘justification of resources’ attachment.

International co-investigators

International co-investigators are allowed in line with standard AHRC international co-investigators policy.

Given the international focus of this funding opportunity and the emphasis on equitable international partnership working, the normal 30% cap on international co-investigator costs (paid at 100% full economic cost) may be exceeded. Where a strong case is made in the proposal for this, it can be up to a maximum of up to 50% of total grant costs.

How to report overseas costs

To enable UKRI to meet reporting requirements, all overseas costs incurred by non-UK organisations must be entered into the ‘other directly incurred costs’ using the following format.

In the description box, you should enter ‘organisation, country, cost category, cost description’.

The cost categories for this are:

  • staff
  • other directly incurred costs
  • indirect costs
  • travel and subsistence
  • equipment.

For example:

  • ‘University of Nairobi, Kenya, staff, 1 x PDRA’
  • ‘University of Nairobi, Kenya, travel and subsistence, 4 x flights’
  • ‘University of Nairobi, Kenya, other directly incurred costs, 5 x workshops including catering and accommodation’
  • ‘University of Nairobi, Equipment, name of equipment’.

All costs incurred by the international co-investigator, including salary costs, will need to be listed as ‘exceptions’ under the ‘other directly incurred costs’ heading, and entered using the naming format detailed above. For example, ‘University of Nairobi, Kenya, staff, 1 x international co-investigator’.

How we will assess your application

Assessment criteria

Applications submitted to this funding opportunity will be assessed according to standard research networking scheme criteria, but with additional criteria relating to the fit to the aims of this funding opportunity.

Networking application criteria

Standard AHRC assessment criteria applies as follows:

  • quality and importance
  • people
  • management
  • value for money
  • outputs
  • dissemination and impact.

In addition, as these are research network applications, we will pay particular attention to:

  • the quality, inclusiveness, accessibility and equitability of the research process, including:
    • research agenda, participants and sustainability
    • whether research methods foster participation, diverse voices and experience, international interactions and shared learning
  • the level of genuine collaboration that is proposed across international boundaries, cultures and languages, and the value that this will add to the development of research and cross-national shared learning in that area
  • the significance, and importance and potential benefits of the proposed research, including from the perspective of persons with disabilities
  • how much the proposed activities will create genuine and productive interaction across boundaries (for example, disciplinary, conceptual, theoretical or methodological), including the potential to advance knowledge and understanding, or lead to new cross-disciplinary research projects
  • the level of involvement from different organisations and interaction between participants (we welcome creative techniques for fostering interactions).

For more details, see the AHRC research funding guide.

Opportunity specific criteria

We will also consider fit to the funding opportunity including:

  • the extent to which the networking approach would embed and exemplify accessible, inclusive and sustainable participatory or co-researched approaches which forefront, and as appropriate, reflect the diversity of, the voices, ideas and experiences of persons with disabilities
  • whether the network will foster equitable international interactions and generate added value through:
    • promoting cross-cultural learning
    • the sharing of experience across contexts
    • equitable international partnership development
  • your approach to:
    • addressing risks
    • intersecting inequalities
    • ethical and safeguarding issues
    • other considerations, such as conflict sensitivity, as relevant to the networking activities.

Assessment process

Applications will be considered by a separate assessment panel drawn from AHRC’s Peer Review College, along with other peer reviewers and experts with expertise of relevance to the focus of this funding opportunity.

The panel meeting will be held in November 2022. Applications will be assessed directly at the panel meeting.

There will be no separate peer-review or principal investigator response stage for applications under this funding opportunity.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

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 about this funding opportunity


Include ‘Research Networking Highlight notice’ in the subject line.

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Additional info

This funding opportunity forms a part of wider UKRI collaborative activities with a range of partners, including the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD).

We expect to bring together the cohort of funded networks to:

  • encourage cross-project collaboration and impact activities
  • support collaborative working with UNPRPD and other partners, as well as connections with wider UKRI activities.

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