Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Renew and upgrade facilities for creative and cultural research

Apply for funding to develop your organisation’s creative research capability (CResCa).

Grants can be used to renew, repurpose and upgrade research facilities and equipment.

You must be at a UK-based organisation eligible for UK Research and Innovation funding. Standard Arts and Humanities Research Council eligibility rules apply. We encourage applications from smaller specialist institutions.

There are three funding strands:

  • replacement and upgrade of equipment, up to £1 million
  • refurbishment of small to medium sized facilities, up to £3 million
  • major renovations and repurposing, up to £10 million.

Costs are reimbursed at 100% of the full economic cost. Spending deadlines apply.

Who can apply

This funding opportunity focuses on (but is not restricted to) developing the research and development capability of smaller specialist institutions (SSIs) such as GuildHE members to enhance their capacity to contribute to the UK’s thriving creative and cultural economy. Other eligible organisations are also welcomed to apply.

Standard Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) eligibility rules apply. Funding is open to:

  • SSIs
  • UK higher education institutions
  • research council institutes
  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)-approved independent research organisations
  • public sector research establishments
  • NHS bodies with research capacity.

Check if your institution is eligible for funding.

Individual eligibility

To apply for this opportunity, you must:

  • be a resident in the UK
  • be employed at, or have a formal affiliation with a UK research organisation, independent research organisation, SSI, or research institute eligible to receive UKRI funding
  • have a doctorate or equivalent professional experience or training
  • have an outstanding track record (appropriate to career stage) in the arts and humanities
  • demonstrate experience in the design and delivery of infrastructure opportunities
  • be able to build and maintain relationships with diverse stakeholders
  • demonstrate excellent communication skills, in written and verbal form, including writing informative text suitable for different audiences
  • be engaged in leading-edge research and innovation of postdoctoral or equivalent standing
  • demonstrate a level of skills, knowledge and experience appropriate to the nature of the project.

You should not apply if your organisation has limited knowledge or does not have expertise in the arts and humanities infrastructure landscape.

This funding opportunity is:

  • concerned with the UK context only. International collaborations are not eligible for this scheme. Your proposal must not include international funding purely for equipment purchases and facilities upgrades. No staff costs can be claimed against this grant.

Please see AHRC’s research funding guide for further information on eligibility.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

AHRC is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion, and we want this funding opportunity to be attractive to all eligible candidates.

Principal investigators (PIs) are entitled to take parental leave in accordance with the terms and conditions of their employment. We will consider requests for a grant to be placed in abeyance during the absence of the PI for parental leave, and the period of the project extended by the period of leave.

We will also consider requests to continue the grant project on a flexible or part-time basis, to allow the PI to meet caring responsibilities or for other justifiable reasons, such as physical or mental health.

Please see our equality impact assessment in the ‘additional info’ section for details.

What we're looking for

All applications to this funding opportunity must meet the following objectives, to:

  • support the development of world-class research and development capabilities, particularly in the UK’s smaller specialist institutions (SSIs)
  • improve the visibility and resilience of specialist, practice-led research sectors within the arts and humanities
  • support the UK’s creative and cultural economy.

This investment will fund three types of activity for practice-led research in eligible institutions:

  • strand one: equipment upgrade or replacement
  • strand two: refurbishment or upgrade of small to medium-sized facilities
  • strand three: new major facilities or the repurposing of major facilities.

You can apply for more than one strand. However, we will only accept one application, per strand, per institution.

Applications to more than one strand must not be mutually dependent on each other for successful delivery.

You should only apply if you are sure that you can meet the time frames and parameters of the strands of this funding opportunity. In particular, you should note the short time frame for strand one, for which funding is awarded on 1 December 2022 and must be spent by 31 March 2023.

Funding and duration

If your application is successful, and once funding is confirmed, Arts and Humanities Research Council will meet 100% of the full economic cost of your project, for all three strands.

You can apply for the following maximum amounts and your projects must last the following durations associated with each strand:

  • strand one: equipment upgrade or replacement. Up to £1 million for exactly three-months’ duration. The latest a project can start is 31 December 2022
  • strand two: refurbishment or upgrade of small to medium-sized facilities. Up to £3 million for around nine months duration (funding must be spent by 30 September)
  • strand three: new major facilities or the repurposing of major facilities. Up to £10 million for around 18 months duration (funding must be spent within 18 months of being awarded).

Your project should start on 1 December 2022 and no later than 31 December 2022, unless exceptional circumstances apply (for example, on equality, diversity and inclusion grounds).

Eligible costs include:

  • equipment
  • maintenance contracts (up to five years)
  • software and associated licences
  • costs associated with construction or other contracted works.

Guidance on indexation for the three strands

Strand one

Funding will be front-loaded or paid-up front in full. It must be spent by 31 March 2023.

Strands two and three

Both strands will follow standard profiling over nine months for strand two, or 18 months for strand three.

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.

You must have a Je-S account to apply. It can take a number of days to set up. Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) recommends that if you don’t already have an account, you should create one well before the application deadline.

This opportunity is aimed at institutions that do not normally use Je-S so may find it difficult submitting by the deadline. If this applies to you and your institution, then you should:

  1. Start Je-S registration as soon as possible.
  2. Email us by 23 September so we can take an equitable approach.

Please also note that if you do not email us by the deadline, we will not be able to take your application forward.

Create a Je-S account.

During account set-up, you must select an account type of ‘an applicant on a standard/outline proposal’.

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: large grants
  • call/type/mode:
    • for strand one, add ‘AHRC Creative Research Capability Strand 1 27 September 2022’
    • for strand two, add ‘AHRC Creative Research Capability Strand 2 27 September 2022’
    • for strand three, add ‘AHRC Creative Research Capability Strand 3 27 September 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 27 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.

What to include with your application

To apply, you must upload the following information to Je-S:

  • a completed application form stating which strand you are applying to
  • an up-to-date curriculum vitae outlining your relevant experience (no more than two sides of A4)
  • a completed ‘case for change template’ document (instead of case for support). You can download the template from the ‘additional info’ section of this opportunity. This must be no more than four sides of A4 and include:
      • a summary of request (up to 300 words)
      • a case for change: explain how the proposed investment would address your current organisational creative research capability (up to 1,200 words)
      • a work plan presented as a Gantt chart, setting out work streams, milestones and key deliverables (no more than two sides of A4)
      • a theory of change, in graphical or table format, setting out your future goals for your proposal (no more than one side of A4)
  • a justification of resources (no more than two sides of A4)
  • a monitoring and evaluation plan (no more than two sides of A4)
  • supporting documentation (for example, quotes from suppliers)
  • a letter of support from your current employing organisation (no more than two sides of A4)
  • a letter of support from partners or mentors (no more than two sides of A4).

You can apply for more than one strand of funding. A new application (including a case for change) should be completed and submitted for each strand selected, meeting the document requirements and criteria mentioned in this section.

For more information about standard AHRC policies and guidelines, read AHRC’s research funding guide.

How we will assess your application

Applications will be assessed by a panel of experts drawn from Arts and Humanities Research Council and other UK Research and Innovation peer review colleges.

A panel meeting will be arranged for each of the three strands and applications will only be assessed within the criteria of the strand selected. Applications will be ranked at each panel, and those that are deemed fundable, will be awarded once the funds become available.

There is no peer review stage for any strand of this funding opportunity.

Assessment criteria

Assessment criteria includes:

  • strategic fit:
    • does the application evidence the organisation’s need for the proposed intervention?
    • is the evidence robust and independently verifiable?
  • feasibility: is there clear evidence that the proposed programme of activity will be developed and delivered within the stated timeframe and budget?
  • value for money: are the proposed costs reasonable and justified?

Due to the short timescales of this opportunity, we regret that it may not be possible to issue comprehensive feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

Contact details

Ask a question about this funding opportunity


Include ‘Creative Research Capability (CResCa) Call’ in the subject line.

We aim to respond to queries as soon as possible.

Get help with applying through Je-S



01793 444164

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Additional info

This funding opportunity will focus on (but not be restricted to) developing the research and development capability of smaller, specialised higher education institutions such as those listed on the GuildHE website.

These institutions often require specialist studios and facilities for teaching and research but were out of scope for Arts and Humanities Research Council’s first capital funding opportunity Capability for Collections Fund (2021), which focused on facilities for collections-led research.

Supporting documents

Case for change template and guidance (DOCX, 38KB)
Equality impact assessment form (PDF, 257KB)

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