AHRC works with partners across the globe to deliver research funding opportunities with built-in international collaboration.
Read more about our international partnerships and programmes and embedding international elements into research proposals.
These opportunities span AHRC’s remit. Our international funding opportunities and programmes are:
- specifically developed to support a strategic priority or global challenge
- structured around areas of mutual disciplinary or thematic interest with partner countries
- open to research in any area of the arts and humanities
German Research Foundation (DFG)
AHRC and DFG’s flagship UK-German funding initiative in the humanities runs on an annual basis. It provides the opportunity for UK-based arts and humanities researchers to conduct highly integrated research projects with Germany-based partners.
The 2 funding agencies have developed this programme to:
- deepen and strengthen cooperation between UK and German researchers in the humanities
- foster the growth of a transnational UK-German research culture
Each funding opportunity is open to applications addressing any research topic where there is significant potential to fundamentally advance human knowledge through collaborative research.
Irish Research Council (IRC)
In collaboration with the Irish Research Council (IRC) we have funded 12 networking awards and 11 research projects to pursue strong partnerships leading to excellent research and innovation within the inherently interdisciplinary field of digital humanities. This programme has been funded through the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Fund for International Collaboration.
Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA)
AHRC is a founding member of HERA. This multilateral network is made up of 26 national funding agencies across 25 countries. The network is committed to developing and leading funding opportunities for humanities researchers in Europe. Each funding opportunity requires proposals to be built by researchers working collaboratively across multiple participating countries.
HERA’s funding has been used to support large-scale joint research programmes and associated activities (PDF, 8.3MB) such as knowledge exchange activities for projects. To date, AHRC has jointly funded 60 of the 75 pan-European research grants awarded through this collaboration.
Joint Programming Initiative Cultural Heritage and Global Change (JPI CH)
We are also founding members of the JPI CH, with AHRC representation on both the JPI’s governing board and steering committee.
Through the JPI, AHRC plays a leading role in developing the vision and mission of the Alliance for Research on Cultural Heritage in Europe (ARCHE). ARCHE is a European Commission-funded project that will bring together research funders, heritage professionals, researchers and institutional bodies to co-design multidisciplinary research and innovation strategies for cultural heritage research.
To date, AHRC has jointly funded 39 of the 61 pan-European research grants awarded through this collaboration.
Joint Programming Initiative on Urban Europe (JPI UE)
Through our urban humanities portfolio, AHRC has also engaged in several funding programmes as part of the JPI UE. These include:
- ERA-NET Co-fund Smart Urban Futures (ENSUF)
- Sustainable Urbanisation Global Initiative (SUGI)
- Food-Water-Energy Nexus and Urban Migration
Most recently, AHRC contributed funding towards the 15-Minute City strand of the driving urban transitions programme alongside the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
AHRC also maintains a strong relationship with the UK Research Office Brussels (UKRO) and the relevant National Contact Points for Horizon Europe opportunities. For the latest information on the UK’s relationship to Horizon Europe, see Horizon Europe: help for UK applicants.
AHRC has extensive partnerships across the US, including a lead agency agreement with the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and partnerships with multiple International Placement Scheme hosts. Our recent work with the US has focused on digital scholarship within cultural institutions.
In partnership with the US National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and world-leading cultural institutions including the Library of Congress, AHRC has funded UK-US research partnerships exploring the opportunities and challenges of digitisation and digital research across the galleries, libraries, archives, and museums sector.
The Digital Scholarship within Cultural Institutions programme was created to:
- enhance UK-US collaboration on collections-based research methodology
- develop new approaches to the ways in which culture and heritage are experienced by global audiences
To date, AHRC has funded 10 partnership development awards and 25 transatlantic research grants through this programme.
Read the news story on UK-US projects pioneer digital innovations for cultural collections.
In collaboration with ESRC, AHRC is participating in the International Initiative for Research in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.
This funding opportunity will facilitate international and interdisciplinary research on participatory and culturally appropriate mitigation and adaptation responses to climate change. This will result in the design and implementation of strategies for groups currently most impacted by the effects of climate change.
The initiative is a multilateral research programme led by Canada’s New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) and involving funders in:
- South Africa
- the US
AHRC and ESRC are also partners of the Trans-Atlantic Platform (T-AP), which is a collaboration between humanities and social science research funders from:
- North America
- South America
The most recent funding opportunity resulting from this collaboration is the Democracy, Governance and Trust funding opportunity, which opened in June 2023.
AHRC invests significantly in creative industries collaborations with China. Most recently, this has been through the UK-China collaboration in the creative industries programme, which was delivered in collaboration with Innovate UK and EPSRC and focused on Shanghai.
Following the successful awarding of 13 partnership development awards, 8 large-scale creative partnerships, and 5 forward-looking awards exploring the future of UK-China creative industries collaboration, this programme will come to an end in 2023.
A key recommendation emerging from the UK-China collaboration programme is that appropriate infrastructure in Shanghai is required to scale up UK-China engagement across the creative industries. In response to this recommendation, AHRC is currently scoping the possibility of a UK-China creative industries research and innovation hub. The aim of the hub is to drive a rapid scaling-up of research and innovation collaborations between the 2 countries.
Focused on partnerships between academia and industry, the hub is anticipated to catalyse the development of new programmes and joint ventures while facilitating the work of existing collaborations.
Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) and British Council India
AHRC is also working with other research funders and stakeholders in India to support collaborative India-UK research with a focus on cultural heritage and the creative industries. A programme run in partnership with ICHR created 3 funding opportunities which jointly funded 12 networking and research projects exploring the impacts of rapid urbanisation on India’s cultural heritage.
In 2022, a series of scoping and engagement activities were commissioned by:
- UKRI India
- Innovate UK
- British Council India
Scoping activities have mapped the current landscape of India-UK research, with a deep dive into innovation collaboration in the respective fields of cultural heritage and creative industries.
Building on this scoping work, a new India-UK funding opportunity was launched in 2023 to demonstrate the value of the creative, cultural and heritage sectors to both countries.
The International Placement Scheme (IPS) is one of AHRC’s longest-running international programmes, having been in operation since 2004. IPS offers an annual opportunity to doctoral and early career researchers to develop their own projects through access to the archives and expertise of internationally renowned cultural institutions.
The host institutions involved and number of placements offered may vary from year to year based on the capacity of individual institutions to host fellows.
Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and Newton Fund
AHRC has supported over 350 international research projects through the GCRF and the Newton Fund, each addressing different global development challenges. Working collaboratively with partners in the global south, the research supported through these funds demonstrates the importance of arts and humanities in attaining sustainable global development.
The projects provide interdisciplinary approaches to addressing a wide range of challenge areas including:
- conflict prevention and resolution
- equal access to quality education
- improving health and wellbeing
- climate change
- food security
- sustainable cities
AHRC supports 11 flagship NetworkPlus awards through UKRI’s GCRF collective programme. These awards are addressing global development challenges in the following areas:
- preventing conflict, building sustainable and inclusive peace
- protection in contexts of conflict and displacement
- education in conflict and crisis research
The collaborative humanitarian protection research programme, a joint initiative between AHRC and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), has supported 13 research projects exploring new ways of protecting people affected by conflict by examining six themes of international humanitarian law.
Further programmes of research focusing on global development include:
- the importance of the creative economy for sustainable development
- developing collaborative and equitable research partnerships between indigenous and non-indigenous researchers and communities
- building peace, security, justice and trust in global contexts of addressing conflict, violence or human rights abuses
- the distinctive contribution that arts and humanities research can make to achieving disability-inclusive sustainable global development
- arts and humanities-led approaches to preventing and addressing gender-based violence
AHRC remains committed to supporting research focused on global development and building on the portfolio of research funded under GCRF and the Newton Fund. Future activity will focus on:
- enabling equitable and inclusive global partnerships
- tackling inequalities
- specific areas in which arts and humanities research can make a significant contribution to sustainable global development