Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: AHRC international research

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) works with partners across the globe to deliver research funding opportunities with built-in international collaboration.

AHRC’s international research:

  • supports strategic priorities and global challenges
  • is structured around areas of mutual disciplinary interest with partner countries
Duration:
This is a summary of AHRC’s various international funding opportunities, which run throughout the year
Partners involved:
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), British Council India, German Research Foundation (DFG), Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA), Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), Innovate UK, Irish Research Council (IRC), Joint Programming Initiative Cultural Heritage, Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe, Library of Congress, Shanghai Theatre Academy, Trans-Atlantic Platform (T-AP), US National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

The scope and what we're doing

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

Europe

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).

Horizon Europe

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.

Transatlantic

UK-US collaboration

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.

Transatlantic partnerships

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:

  • Brazil
  • South Africa
  • Europe
  • 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:

  • Europe
  • 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.

Asia

UK-China collaboration

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:

  • AHRC
  • UKRI India
  • Innovate UK
  • ICHR
  • 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.

Global

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

Why we're doing it

AHRC’s ambition is to sustain a rich, diverse and creative research ecosystem, which will engage with other constituents of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and stakeholders across the UK and the world. To achieve this, we are committed to fostering international engagement in everything that we do.

In addition to the international components offered across AHRC opportunities, our longstanding international collaborations ensure that our researchers are operating at the forefront of research, working with the best people and facilities, wherever they are in the world.

In AHRC’s strategic delivery plan we committed to being open to ideas and inclusive perspectives from around the world. We demonstrate this commitment through working equitably with funders and other partners internationally to encourage research and innovation that:

  • is of the highest standard
  • is fair and inclusive
  • has reach and impact across and beyond borders

By offering targeted opportunities which build on existing strengths within our research community and those overseas, we are facilitating the creation, development, and sustainability of world-class ideas.

Opportunities, support and resources available

All AHRC funding opportunities will be listed on the funding finder and pre-announced through the AHRC forward look blog series whenever possible.

If one of the partnerships listed on this page cannot be found on the funding finder, it is because we do not currently have any live opportunities through this partnership.

Visit our embedding international elements into research proposals page for more information on:

  • AHRC’s lead agency and money follows cooperation agreements
  • how to include international components within responsive mode applications

Whenever workshops, networking events and partner-finding tools are available, the instructions for accessing this support will be included on the funding finder page for the relevant opportunity.

Who to contact

Ask a question about this area of investment

International Partnerships and Engagement team

Email: international@ahrc.ukri.org

Include ‘International funding opportunities’ in the subject line.

We aim to respond within 5 working days.

Governance, management and panels

Each of our international activities has its own governance, management or panel structure in order to meet the purpose and objectives of each opportunity, partnership, or other form of engagement.

For specific information on the governance, management or panels related to a specific partnership or opportunity, please contact the international partnerships and engagement team directly.

Last updated: 12 September 2023

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