Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: UK-Ireland collaboration in digital humanities

Apply for funding for digital humanities research. Your project must be large, innovative and multidisciplinary.

UK and Ireland-based researchers must collaborate on the project.

The themes are:

  • digital humanities, emerging technologies and research practices
  • digital humanities and social innovation
  • digital humanities and cultural heritage
  • digital humanities and the creative industries.

AHRC will provide up to £320,000 per project for UK costs, at 80% of the full economic cost. The Irish Research Council (IRC) will provide up to €270,000 (paid at 100%).

Your project must start on 1 August 2021 and last for up to 36 months.

Who can apply

UK applicants

Standard eligibility criteria (please see section two of AHRC’s research funding guide) will apply to this call for UK investigators and research organisations. This means that the UK principal investigator must be resident in the UK and based at a UK institution eligible to receive funding from UKRI. The AHRC expects the principal investigator and any co-investigators to devote an average of at least four hours per week to the project.

The UK component must fall within the remit of AHRC. Inter-disciplinary proposals are welcome but the majority of the methodologies, research questions and outputs must fall within AHRC’s subject remit.

Full details of all project partner organisations should be included in the application and be accompanied by a project partner letter of support. Guidance on what needs to be included in a project partner letter of support is provided on page 71 of the AHRC research funding guide.

Co-investigators from other countries can be included within the UK costs in accordance with AHRC’s international co-investigator policy where it can be demonstrated (in the case for support) that they will add value to the UK-Ireland collaboration. Please refer to the AHRC research funding guide for further information on AHRC’s international co-investigator policy and which costs are eligible within a UK budget.

Irish applicants

The Irish principal investigator and co-investigators can be active in all disciplinary areas as per the IRC’s pan-disciplinary mandate, provided that the consortium’s scope falls within the digital humanities field.

Irish PIs must be contracted by an Irish HEI, with a contract of sufficient duration to carry out the proposed research from the project start date until the project end date.

In the event of an applicant, who is already a PI in another project being successful in this call, at award acceptance stage they will be asked to submit a time-management strategy, to be approved by the IRC before the award’s commencement.

There are no restrictions on the eligibility of non-academic partners (museums, cultural institutions, private companies, NGOs etc.). Should they not be Irish-based, the rationale behind their inclusion must be clearly justified.

Please note that attendance at the programme’s UK-Ireland Digital Humanities Networking Workshop (October 2019), and/or engagement with its Research Networking Call, is not a pre-condition of application to this call.

What we're looking for

Specifically, the call aims to support a diverse range of projects that:

  • build on the momentum of the research networks around defined thematic areas which generate new lines of enquiry and stimulate new debate
  • build and consolidate new, inclusive partnerships between researchers and stakeholders in the UK and Ireland through collaborative research projects
  • deliver innovative, interdisciplinary and integrated research projects that are appropriately tailored to the themes being addressed
  • are genuinely inclusive and collaborative and involve a balance of research organisations and stakeholders in both countries which will result in a transformational impact
  • promote the sharing of best practice and knowledge exchange between institutions in the UK and Ireland, and clearly demonstrate the specific added value of enhanced collaboration in the digital humanities.

The projects should take innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to explore the broad and inclusive themes:

  • digital humanities, emerging technologies and research practices
  • digital humanities and social innovation
  • digital humanities and cultural heritage
  • digital humanities and the creative industries.

AHRC expects to provide up to £400,000 full economic cost (fEC), paid at 80% (up to £320,000), for the UK costs of each funded research project. The IRC will provide up to €270,000 (paid at 100%).  Each award must start by 1 August 2021 and should have a duration of up to 36 months.

How to apply

The principal investigator in the UK will be responsible for submitting a joint UK-Ireland proposal through the research council’s Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S).

Applications should be submitted through the Je-S system by 18 March 2021 16:00, and will need to go through the appropriate institution submission process prior to this.

To prepare a proposal form in Je-S:

  • log in to your account and choose ‘Documents’ from the menu
  • select ‘New Document’
  • select ‘AHRC’ as the council
  • select ‘Standard Proposal’ as the document type
  • select ‘Large Grants’ as the scheme
  • select ‘AHRC UK-Ireland Digital Humanities Research Grants 18 March 2021’ as the call, type or mode
  • select ‘Create Document’.

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

The Je-S submission portal allows for only one principal investigator to be included in a proposal. For this AHRC-IRC call, there is to be one principal investigator from the UK and one from Ireland. On the Je-S form the principal investigator is therefore the UK PI and the Irish PI needs to be recorded as a co-investigator. Such terminology must be considered as a built-in system feature, and does not challenge the equal status and co-leadership of the UK and Irish PI.

All investigators named on the Je-S application form, whether based in the UK or Ireland, must have a Je-S account. Where a named investigator does not already have a Je-S account, one can be easily set up, but please note that the process can take a number of days. It is therefore strongly recommended that the process is started well before the application deadline.

How we will assess your application

Following the deadline for submission, all proposals will be checked for eligibility. After the deadline for submissions, PIs will be informed of any outstanding return for amendment requirements.

Five working days will be given for the return for amendment process. More information about this process will be provided at the relevant stage of the call.

Eligible proposals will be reviewed by AHRC and IRC nominated reviewers and there will a principal investigator response stage in April/May 2021. The PI response should be submitted by the UK principal investigator in consultation with the Irish principal investigator.

A joint moderating panel will take place in early June where the eligible proposals will be graded and ranked. The panel will be comprised of members of the AHRC’s Peer Review College and academic reviewers nominated by the IRC. The panel will moderate the reviewers’ scores for each proposal, agree a ranked priority list of applications and make funding recommendations to the AHRC and the IRC.


The panel will be asked to be consider the following criteria when making recommendations to the AHRC and IRC for funding.

Excellence and vision:

  • the extent to which the proposed project meets the specific aims of the call and fits within the chosen theme
  • the significance and importance of the project and the contribution it will make to enhancing or developing creativity, insights, knowledge or understanding of the digital humanities in a national and/or international context
  • quality of research design: the appropriateness of the research context and the extent to which the research gaps, questions, and goals are defined and linked together including engagement with relevant literature and existing research projects (past and ongoing)
  • the extent to which the proposed cooperation between UK and Ireland researchers and partners offers unique opportunities to generate research excellence and thereby enhance the digital humanities in both countries
  • the quality, innovation and appropriateness of the research activities
  • the quality and appropriateness of research approaches and methods
  • the strength and added value of the project’s interdisciplinary focus.

People, partnerships and management:

  • the experience and leadership qualities of the UK and Irish principal investigators, the complementary expertise provided by the co-investigators, and the opportunities for early career researchers and post-doctoral researchers
  • the quality of the opportunities which the project will make available to support the further training and development of research staff on the project
  • the relevance and added value of the other named participants, including cooperation with non-academic partners and communities
  • whether the lines of responsibility and accountability within and across teams are clearly articulated
  • the extent to which the activities will provide balanced engagement with audiences in both countries, demonstrate the added value of UK-Ireland collaboration and fully justify international activities beyond UK and Ireland
  • whether a realistic timetable, incorporating milestones, is presented which will achieve the project’s aims and objectives
  • the extent to which the development of the consortium has taken equality, diversity and inclusion considerations into overall account.

Data management:

  • does the information in the data management plan seem appropriate for the research project being proposed?
  • will the data management plan enable the project’s data creation, outputs and storage needs?
  • will data management include appropriate provisions and safeguards for data exchange (UK-Ireland) as needed?
  • does the data management plan outline how the project will make data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable?
  • are there any other areas that need more attention?
  • overall, does the plan for data seem feasible, sensible, appropriate and valid?

Value for money:

  • the extent to which the likely research outcomes will represent value for money
  • whether the resources requested are reasonable and justifiable in the context of the proposed research.

Outputs, dissemination, impact and sustainability:

  • the appropriateness and effectiveness of the proposed dissemination methods, including knowledge exchange and engagement activities with wider stakeholders and communities
  • whether the proposal demonstrates an appropriate strategy to ensure that the outcomes of the research can be utilised by the widest possible audience including non-academic audiences
  • the likelihood that the outputs and outcomes of the project will be highly valued, both in the research community and in wider contexts where they can make a difference
  • the sustainability of the research project, including the extent to which plans are in place to extend the collaboration once the award has ended.

It is expected that 4 to 6 awards will be made under this call, with the aim of having a balanced portfolio of awards across the thematic areas, (subject to proposals meeting the criteria and quality standards detailed above).

Outcomes will be issued in early July 2021.

Contact details



Dr Jamie Davies, International Partnerships and Engagement Manager



Dr Chiara Loda, Programme Manager

Brenda Blake, Research Support Officer

Additional info

The Research Grants Call is part of a collaborative funding programme between the AHRC and the IRC which aims to deliver a transformational impact on digital humanities research in the UK and Ireland. The programme will exploit complementary strengths in the digital humanities in the UK and Ireland, leading to new partnerships and cross-disciplinary projects, building capacity and enhancing the integration of humanities and technology in digital humanities development.

It builds on the ‘UK-Ireland Collaboration in the Digital Humanities’ scoping workshop that took place in Dublin from 22 to 23 October 2019 and the UK-Ireland Collaboration in the Digital Humanities Research Networking Call.

You can find answers to frequently asked questions on the IRC website (PDF, 308KB). This may be updated whilst the call is open, so please check for further updates.

Supporting documents

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