Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Policy and engagement fellowships in digital research infrastructure

Apply for funding to develop a digital research infrastructure.

To apply, you must be resident in the UK and based at a UK institution eligible for UKRI funding. You must be either a researcher or research-active professional.

The digital infrastructure will include:

  • data services
  • a national programme to build digital, data and software skills within the arts and humanities research community
  • large scale computing, including exascale.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £60,000. UKRI will fund 100% of the full economic cost.

Your project must start by 1 December 2021and end by 31 July 2022.

Who can apply

To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • be resident in the UK
  • be employed by, or have a formal affiliation to a university or independent research organisation that is eligible to receive UKRI funding
  • hold a PhD or equivalent professional experience in digital humanities, information science, social and cultural analytics 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 an interest in research policy
  • demonstrate experience of planning, managing and delivering complex projects involving multiple stakeholders
  • provide a letter of support from the organisation that employs you, or with which you can provide evidence of a formal affiliation
  • be available to work a minimum of 0.6 full-time equivalent (FTE) for up to nine months between November 2021 and July 2022.

Your letter of support must:

  • recognise that for the duration of the fellowship you will be contracted at least 0.6 FTE to the above-described project
  • endorse the applicant as ‘future leader’ within their organisation and an ideal candidate to act as a liaison point with the UKRI digital scholarship community.

What we're looking for

Your work will be part of a UKRI-wide programme to enhance national digital research infrastructure for all UKRI communities. Planned new services will include:

  • a family of linked and interoperable trusted data repositories (TDRs) for capture and analysis of UKRI research data
  • investment to enhance and upgrade existing large-scale computing provision.

The successful fellow will be expected to:

  • work closely with the directors of existing data services and the project leads of the three new scoping grants to develop the technical specification and architecture for a federated infrastructure of arts and humanities TDRs
  • work closely with colleagues in existing UKRI digital research infrastructures (ARCHER2, JASMIN, DIRAC and others) to establish how these capabilities can be enhanced to meet the needs of the whole UKRI research community, including arts and humanities
  • work with UKRI’s Digital Research Infrastructure Committee (UKRI-DRIC) to develop a national digital skills programme
  • engage extensively with relevant research communities to identify future collaborative research and development opportunities which this investment would enable.

Fellowships must commence between 1 and 30 October 2021 and will last for no more than 10 months.

AHRC will cover 100% full economic costs.

How to apply

To apply, send:

  • a CV and either a cover letter or a statement of support, each no more than two pages long
  • a letter of support from your current employing organisation.

Applications should be emailed to, with subject line ‘Infrastructure policy and engagement fellowships 2021/2022’.

We also invite you to submit your equality and diversity information.

EDI data is being collected in order to support AHRC internal data analyses and will not affect the outcomes of your application.

How we will assess your application

Applications will be assessed against the eligibility criteria stated above by a panel of independent experts drawn from:

  • UKRI peer review colleges
  • universities
  • third sector organisations
  • UKRI’s Digital Research Infrastructure Committee.

Interviews will take place in the week commencing 11 October and applicants will be informed of the outcome within the next 10 working days.

Contact details

Ask a question about this funding opportunity


Quote ‘DRI Fellowship 2021/2022’.

Additional info

UKRI’s Digital Research Infrastructure programme forms part of a wider programme of investment to ensure that the UK’s research and innovation infrastructure remains world-leading.

UKRI recognises that digital research infrastructure is a critical enabler of research excellence: from digital twins, to policy interventions, to reverse vaccine hesitancy during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are few fields that do not rely heavily on data and the digital capabilities that enable their:

  • capture
  • analysis
  • interpretation.

As part of an initial planning phase, UKRI’s Digital Research Infrastructure Committee (DRIC) is seeking to appoint two policy and engagement fellows to ‘scope and spec’ a national digital research infrastructure comprised of:

  • FAIR-compliant, trusted data services
  • new and enhanced supercomputing capability and software, including exascale computing
  • a national skills programme.

Successful fellows will work closely with DRIC members, engaging widely with UKRI communities to ensure that that our planned investments meet the needs of intended users.

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