Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Scoping and developing a new UK-China creative industries R&I hub

Apply for funding to lead the scoping and development of a new UK-China Creative Industries Research and Innovation (R&I) Hub.

The hub will be a resource to drive a rapid scaling up of research and innovation activity in the creative industries between the UK and China.

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for AHRC funding.

You must possess appropriate knowledge of UK-China R&I collaboration in the creative industries.

The full economic cost of the fellowship can be up to £170,000. A minimum of £30,000 must be allocated to a required project manager role. AHRC will fund 100% of the full economic cost.

The fellowship duration is 12 months, and the start date is 1 May 2023.

Who can apply

Standard AHRC fellowship eligibility rules apply to this scheme. You must be from 1 of the following:

  • an eligible higher education institution
  • an eligible independent research organisation

You must be a salaried member of staff at the research organisation submitting the proposal and have been employed by the research organisation for at least 1 year before the proposal’s submission date. The research organisation must confirm that you have a contract of employment that extends beyond the duration of the proposed fellowship.

What we're looking for

AHRC is seeking to appoint a fellow with appropriate knowledge of UK-China R&I collaboration in the creative industries to lead the scoping and development of a new UK-China Creative Industries R&I Hub.

The fellow will lead the development of the hub strategic vision as well as a programme of UK and China stakeholder engagement activity, so as to ensure that UK and Chinese research and industry interests are embedded within the hub’s future activity. They will therefore play a key role in progressing plans for the function and form of the hub and leading the development of the UK-China partnerships required to underpin its launch and implementation.

Extending over a 12-month period, the fellowship will extend from the required development of the hub business case through to preparations for the infrastructure’s anticipated launch in summer 2024.

The fellowship will:

  • utilise the momentum created by the prior scoping and stakeholder engagement activity to establish an operating model and strategic vision for the hub
  • review outcomes across the different strands of current UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) creative industries-focused activity in China, so as to identify strategic priorities for the hub and develop a long-term roadmap for its programme of activity
  • deliver a robust set of options, benefits and risk analyses relating to the structure, form and function of the hub, making strategic recommendations to AHRC and ensuring that it delivers against wider UKRI objectives and provides value for money
  • bring together UK and China-based stakeholders from across the breadth of the creative industries to ensure that research and industry needs within both countries are embedded within the hub design
  • strengthen AHRC and UKRI’s existing creative industries partnerships within China, including those with UK bodies, and explore and develop opportunities for collaborative hub activity with new research and industry partners based in Shanghai
  • build understanding amongst internal and external audiences regarding the strategic vision for the hub and how they may engage with its development and future suite of activities
  • establish and deliver benefits realisation planning and activity for the hub, including the scoping and delivery of a hub monitoring, evaluation and learning framework
  • support the development and dissemination of an upcoming UK-China Hub Research Consortium opportunity in autumn 2023

The fellow will deliver a range of outputs appropriate to the proposed approach including, but not necessarily limited to:

  • a strategic vision for the hub and its associated programmes, including recommendations for future activity and investment
  • research and options analyses to shape the hub’s operational delivery plan and strategic vision, as well as the hub business case to be submitted in autumn 2023
  • a hub governance and funding model which will maximise collaboration between UK and China research organisations and industry, and ensure the diverse use and impact of the hub
  • a 12-month programme of UK and China stakeholder engagement activity, so as to ensure that UK and Chinese research and industry interests are embedded within the scoping of the hub
  • a benefits management and monitoring, evaluation and learning framework for the hub

As part of the fellowship, applicants must include the cost of a project manager who will support the cross-UKRI hub project team and the fellow with the day-to-day management of the hub scoping and delivery project. By including this project management function within the fellowship, AHRC aims to:

  • secure project management expertise to lead on the day-to-day management of the hub scoping, development and launch project, including budgeting and cost management
  • develop the project’s risk management function, including the identification, analysis and resolution of risks, and the proposing and implementation of appropriate controls
  • strengthen the process of developing the hub business case, through the acquisition of relevant business case expertise
  • ensure the development of rigorous project governance and information management structures and systems
  • provide the fellow and wider hub project team with required support to take forward the project’s evaluation and benefits realisation activity

The core areas of activity for the project manager will include but are not restricted to:

  • planning, including budgeting and cost management, identifying risks and proposing appropriate controls, and the development and maintenance of schedules for activities that take account of dependencies, resource requirements and constraints
  • the establishment, planning and management of project reviews at appropriate points to evaluate progress against time, cost, quality, compliance and ongoing viability
  • business case development, including working with the fellow on the development of clear hub governance structures with defined roles, responsibilities and accountabilities with established controls and approval routes
  • working in partnership with AHRC’s Shanghai-based partners, the development of hub data sharing, equality, diversity and inclusion and staffing policies and agreements
  • supporting the fellow in stakeholder engagement work, and developing a benefits management and monitoring, evaluation and learning framework for the hub

AHRC will fund 1 fellowship.

Applicants will be able to apply for up to £170,000 (funded at 100% full economic cost) from AHRC. Within their proposed budgets, applicants must allocate a minimum of £30,000 (funded at 100% full economic cost) to the required project manager role. A minimum of 0.4 full time equivalent of the fellow’s time must be costed into the proposal (AHRC would expect to see 0.4 to 0.6 full time equivalent costed in), and the project manager must provide a minimum of 0.5 full time equivalent for the full duration of the 12-month fellowship.

Travel and subsistence costs are eligible for inclusion, including travel to China, but applicants should account for the continuing uncertainty around ongoing travel restrictions and demonstrate how they would pivot to virtual delivery if travel to China remains impossible.

Please note that as AHRC is funding the fellowship at 100% full economic cost, all costs must be submitted under the ‘Exceptions’ cost heading.

More information on eligible costs can be found in the opportunity guidance document.

The award duration is 12 months, with a required start date of 1 May 2023.

How to apply

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

You can find advice on completing your application in:

We recommend you start your application early.

Your host organisation will also be able to provide advice and guidance.

Submitting your application

Before starting an application, you will need to log in or create an account in Je-S.

All investigators involved in the project need to be registered on Je-S.

Any investigators who do not have a Je-S account must register for one at least 7 working days before the opportunity deadline.

To prepare a proposal form in Je-S, please log in to your account and choose ‘documents’ from the menu, then select:

  • ‘create new document’
  • council: ‘AHRC’
  • document type: Fellowship Proposal
  • scheme: AHRC Fellowships
  • call, type or mode: AHRC UK China Creative Industries Hub 24 January 2023

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

You can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later.


AHRC must receive your application by 24 January 2023 at 4pm.

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.

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


Your application must also include the following attachments:

  • case for support
  • justification of resources
  • data management plan
  • workplan
  • head of department statement
  • CVs and list of publications
  • project partner letter of support

Further information about this opportunity can be found in the opportunity guidance document.

How we will assess your application

AHRC staff will review applications for eligibility, completeness, and fit to opportunity after the submission deadline. Proposals will be considered by a cross-disciplinary expert assessment panel, drawing on members of AHRC’s Peer Review College, and other experts as appropriate.

There will not be a separate stage of individual peer review for each application prior to consideration by the panel. Therefore, applicants will not receive feedback on their applications in the form of individual peer reviewer comments. The assessment panel will agree on grades for each proposal, agree a ranked priority list of applications and make funding recommendations to AHRC.

The following criteria will be used to assess proposals.

Quality and vision

This includes:

  • the proposal’s overall fit with the opportunity specification: the vision established by the proposal, its achievability and its potential to realise its aims
  • the quality, ambition and innovative nature of the proposal
  • understanding of the requirements of the fellowship, particularly the scoping and stakeholder engagement elements
  • the appropriateness, effectiveness and feasibility of the proposed scoping and stakeholder engagement approaches set out


This includes:

  • the quality and importance of your research and international engagement work to date, and its relevance to then the proposed fellowship, and your specific experience of UK-China collaboration in the creative industries and of working in research-industry partnerships
  • your ability or potential to set research agendas, lead research communities, develop new international partnerships and provide intellectual leadership
  • your ability to work across disciplines, and flexibility and openness to work with AHRC, UKRI China and other partners, across a range of research fields, identifying and responding to emerging areas and partner needs
  • the strength of the approach to recruiting a project manager of suitable expertise against the requirements above, and to balancing and coordinating the fellow and project manager roles
  • evidence of the strength, robustness and equitability of the relationships with the proposed UK and China-based partners to date, and the commitment of any proposed partners to the aims and objectives of the fellowship and its shared benefits
  • the extent to which the proposed fellowship would fit within relevant institutional or departmental research, career development and knowledge exchange strategies as appropriate

Delivery and value for money

This includes:

  • whether a realistic timetable, incorporating milestones, is presented which will achieve the fellowship’s aims and objectives within the proposed timescale
  • whether the data management plan seems feasible, sensible, appropriate and valid
  • whether the resources requested are reasonable and justifiable in the context of the proposed activity
  • the extent to which the likely outcomes of the proposed activity will represent value for money

Outputs, dissemination and impact

This includes:

  • the appropriateness and effectiveness of the proposed partnership building and stakeholder engagement plans and methods
  • the likelihood that the outputs and outcomes of the fellowship, including the Hub Strategic Vision, will provide AHRC and UK-China partners with a clear and compelling basis from which to move ahead with the initiation of the hub
  • whether sufficient attention has been given to who the beneficiaries of the fellowship’s activities might be and appropriate ways to engage with them throughout the project

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

This opportunity is managed by AHRC’s International Partnerships and Management Team


Get help with applying through Je-S



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Additional info

The UK-China Creative Industries R&I Hub will be a resource to drive and support a rapid scaling up of R&I activity in the creative industries between the UK and China. Focused on partnerships between academia and industry, the hub will support the development of new programmes and joint ventures, remove barriers to collaboration, and extend the work of existing collaborations.

The hub will bring together research organisations, industry associations and funders across 2 connected bases: a primary base in Shanghai and secondary base in the UK. The primary focus of the hub’s activity will be the Shanghai base and its purpose will be to provide a destination and on-the-ground expertise from which to catalyse R&I collaboration between the UK and China in the creative industries, establishing the UK as the ‘partner of choice’ and addressing the barriers to effective collaborative working.

Alongside the Shanghai base, a secondary base in the UK will be established and hosted by the UK’s lead consortium member. Its purpose will be to support and supplement the work of the Shanghai base with research expertise, sectoral knowledge, and on-the-ground intelligence in the UK. More information on the hub can found in the opportunity guidance document.

Supporting documents

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