Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Study arts and humanities at an international institution

Apply for funding to study at an international institution.

You must be either:

  • an AHRC-funded PhD student
  • an early career researcher or postdoctoral research assistant.

Proposals can be from any arts and humanities area.

You can apply for any of the following institutions:

  • The Huntington Library, California, US
  • The Library of Congress, Washington DC, US
  • National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU), Japan
  • Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, US.

Your placement will last three to six months.

You will receive £1,000 for travel and visa costs and £1,750 for each month of the fellowship. We will fund this at 100% full economic cost.

Who can apply

This opportunity is open to:

Applicants can apply for a fellowship at more than one of the institutions in a single round. However, dates and applications must:

  • be separate and distinct
  • not overlap
  • not be interdependent.

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

ESRC applicants are only eligible to apply to Library of Congress and as such must be applying to undertake primary research in an ESRC subject area.

All placements must take place in one continuous block of time.

Applicants can only hold an international placement scheme (IPS) fellowship at the same IPS 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. If successful applicants are unable to undertake their IPS placement, they would have to reapply the following year. Delays caused by COVID-19 are the exception. See the ‘what we’re looking for’ section for more details.

Individual eligibility for PhD students

Placements must be undertaken during the funded period of their award (not their writing up year).

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

Because the 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.

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

Individual eligibility for ECRs and doctoral level research assistants

At the point of application, you must be either:

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

See research funding guide for further information.

You must have a contract with a UK research organisation (RO) at the time of application that extends beyond the end date of the IPS fellowship.

Previous AHRC funding is an advantage (including PhD funding) but not necessary.

Where previous AHRC funding has been held, ECRs must include their previous grant reference in the application form.

The project will be assessed on how well it demonstrates relevance to the applicant’s PhD and area of current research. Therefore, the proposed research activities and outputs for the project should complement or feed into the applicant’s current research whilst also linking to their PhD.

Doctoral level research assistants employed on projects that extend beyond the end date of the fellowship must have previously held AHRC funding (including PhD funding), except for NIHU.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We invite applications from eligible doctoral students and ECRs in any arts and humanities discipline and from all regions and nations of the UK.

AHRC is 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
  • persons with disabilities
  • persons of diverse gender identities and expressions
  • persons identifying with other groups who are currently underrepresented.

Applicants with disabilities may request a modest 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 (PDF, 170KB). Applicants requiring this additional support should contact AHRC for further guidance and to discuss how to reflect this request within the application form.

Diversity information will not be used in the assessment process and will not be used to make funding decisions.

Host-specific eligibility

Applicants to the National Institute of Japanese Literature (NIJL), the National Museum of Japanese History (NMJH) and, depending on the research field, the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (IRCJS) are required to speak and understand Japanese to an advanced level.

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

For Smithsonian institutions, applicants must select a contact at the institution who will act as an adviser should the application be successful. Please use the 2021 Smithsonian opportunities for research and study guide in order to contact an appropriate Smithsonian academic or staff member.

Applicants will also need to register on Smithsonian’s online system called SOLAA. Please do not start this process until prompted by the AHRC funding officer.

Before applying, candidates must ensure their UK RO and supervisor, head of department or mentor will be content to release them for the placement should their application be successful.

What we're looking for

Number of fellowships available

The number of fellowships AHRC expects to award at each host can be found in the table below, as well as the eligible period for undertaking a placement:

Host Number of  awards Window for fellowships to take place (indicative) Fellowship duration
Huntington Library 10 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023 3 to 6 months
Library of Congress 25 1 Oct 2022 to 30 Sept 2023 3 to 6 months
National Institutes for the Humanities 11 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023 3 to 6 months
Smithsonian Institution 5 1 Oct 2022 to 30 Sept 2022 3 to 6 months

Funding available

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

All IPS placements will be for three to six months, and the total awarded will be a £1,000 one-off stipend for travel and visa costs and a living stipend of £1,750 for each month of the fellowship.

Exceptionally, limited additional support may be agreed by the AHRC on a case by case basis for applicants with disabilities, in order to support inclusive and accessible participation.

All costs will be paid directly to the submitting UK 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. No additional time will be added to the AHRC or ESRC award end date or submission date to account for time spent on their placement.

Applicants should discuss their work plan with their UK RO supervisor and the IPS host institution to ensure their proposed research can be completed within a realistic timescale and will appropriately feed into the applicant’s current research or any AHRC parent project.

There is no cap on the number of applications that can be submitted by a UK RO.

COVID-19

AHRC recognises that there continues to be uncertainties relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants are advised to plan their fellowship in accordance with current travel guidance and the timings most suited to their research.

In the event of future travel restrictions or lockdowns, AHRC will support fellows and work with the host institutions to reschedule placements. For doctoral students, rescheduled dates will still need to take place before the end date of the award.

Successful applicants will be expected to comply with any relevant UK international travel guidance and with any COVID safety requirements within host countries and partner organisations (such as vaccination or testing) applicable at the time of the placement.

How to apply

Contact your institution

Applicants must identify and research the institution’s collections, fully familiarising themselves with the collections and how they are relevant to their own research. Please see the websites for each individual institution as a starting point to investigate the collections:

Following this, candidates can contact the relevant IPS institution to discuss their potential application and for information about the collections.

For some institutions, contact is mandatory, while for others it is optional. Any contact should be made as soon as possible before the AHRC application deadline. Contact details can be found in the ‘contact us’ section.

For NIHU and the Smithsonian Institution, applicants must contact the institutions before applying.

For Huntington Library and Library of Congress, contact is not mandatory but applicants may contact if needed.

Applying through Je-S

Applicants should complete and submit their application using the research councils’ Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system by 16:00 on 24 February 2022.

Applications will need to go through the approval process at the UK RO prior to this deadline.

The Je-S application system will open on 9 December.

Please note that we cannot accept applications directly from PhD students. The application must come from the UK RO and the grant holder must be in the name of someone at the RO eligible to apply (for example, a member of staff in the research office).

Please speak to your RO or Je-S administrators for guidance on who should submit your application (although you will need to complete elements of the application yourself). Please note the named grant holder does need a fully registered investigator level account.

ECRs should submit their own application following the UK RO approval and submission process and will need to name themselves as the grant holder.

The international placement scheme has some specific requirements that should be followed when completing the application form in Je-S.

Guidance on how to complete the Je-S application form (PDF, 255KB)

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

  • ‘new document’
  • council: AHRC
  • document type: studentship proposal
  • scheme: International Placements
  • call/type/mode: Host Institution name.

Je-S will then create a proposal form, displaying the relevant section headings. Using the ‘help’ link or selecting the blue question mark at the top of each section will provide guidance relevant to that section of the form.

Applicants are reminded that the IPS aims to provide access to world-leading collections, and that they should clearly demonstrate how the proposed fellowship will uniquely enrich their research.

Note that selecting ‘submit document’ on your proposal form in Je-S initially submits the proposal to your host organisation’s administration, not to AHRC.

Please remember to allow sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process between submitting your proposal to them and the opportunity closing date.

To see the document’s organisational submission path, ‘open’ the document and select ‘document actions’ and then ‘show submission path’.

After the application, you will be asked to complete an equality, diversity and inclusion questionnaire. However, the diversity information provided will not be used in the assessment process and will not be used to make funding decisions.

How we will assess your application

During the assessment process, the following criteria will be considered:

  • the extent to which the proposed research fits the collections identified in the application
  • the extent to which the fellowship and collections to be consulted would ‘add value’ to their research (especially if the collections are unique or rare), applicants may suggest how their fellowship may be of value to the IPS institution
  • the extent to which the fellowship would be an effective use of the applicant’s time (applicants may include a timetable)
  • the extent to which the application identifies personal development opportunities through networking with other research scholars (this might include the presentation of ongoing work or immediate or longer-term collaborative opportunities)
  • where appropriate, the applicant must demonstrate that they have the necessary expertise required to undertake the proposed research, for example, language proficiency if the applicant wishes to research works written or spoken in a language other than English.

Applications will be peer reviewed by relevant experts at the placement institution and then moderated by AHRC.

Details of the grading scale used for IPS

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 ask successful applicants to confirm their start and end dates of their placement.

Contact details

Ask a question about this opportunity

For queries about this opportunity, such as eligible activities and costs or remit of the opportunity, please contact AHRC.

Email: enquiries@ahrc.ukri.org

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.

Huntington Library

Use the Library contact us page to select the area you are interested in.

Library of Congress

Travis Hensley, Program Specialist, Library of Congress Office of Scholarly Programs

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 2020 SORS PDF 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).

NIHU

Research Institute for Humanity and Nature

International Affairs Subsection

Email: kokusai@chikyu.ac.jp

Research Institute for Humanity and Nature website

International Research Centre for Japanese Studies

International Exchange Unit

Email: koryu@nichibun.ac.jp

International Research Centre 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

Research Support Unit

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

Get help with applying through Je-S

Email

jeshelp@je-s.ukri.org

Telephone

01793 444164

Opening times

Je-S helpdesk opening times

Additional info

About IPS

IPS provides AHRC-funded and ESRC-funded doctoral students and ECRs with inclusive and dedicated access to the internationally renowned collections, programmes and expertise held at IPS 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.

The 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 are:

  • Library of Congress
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Harry Ransom Centre (not participating in the scheme this year)
  • Huntington Library
  • Yale Centre for British Art (not participating in the scheme this year)
  • NIHU
  • Shanghai Theatre Academy (not participating in the scheme this year).

Confirming your placement

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 any changes before contacting AHRC to process the changes.

Around 30 days from the first successful notification, the UK RO will receive an official offer document from AHRC via our Je-S system confirming the dates and funding amount. This should be made available to the student or ECR.

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 enough to secure your visa, and your UK RO may be able to assist you in making a visa application. Applicants are advised to start the visa application process as early as possible.

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.

More details regarding Researchfish are available on the UKRI website.

For further information on supporting training awards please see:

Supporting documents

Je-S application guidance (PDF, 255KB)

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