Code of practice


AHRC governance structure

DSIT and government

The Secretary of State for the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) is accountable to Parliament for the activities and performance of the Council. The Director General of Science and Research, supported by the sponsor team in DSIT, is the primary source of advice to the Secretary of State in respect of the Council. AHRC receives government funding through DSIT. AHRC provides regular reports on its strategy and performance to DSIT.

UK Research and Innovation

AHRC is part of UK Research and Innovation, which brings together the UK’s seven research councils, Innovate UK and Research England to maximise each Council’s contribution and create the best environment for research and innovation to flourish. The vision is to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation.

AHRC Council

The members of AHRC’s governing body, the Council, are publicly appointed by the Secretary of State. The Council is responsible for all issues of major importance, principally AHRC’s overall strategic direction including its mission, key strategic objectives and targets, and key decisions about its research direction. All of these issues take users’ needs into account. The Council advises on opportunities for supporting the arts and humanities and is expected to provide advice to the government on research issues in its field.

It is responsible for employing mechanisms to ensure:

  • the high quality, sustainability, relevance and impact of the programmes of research and training that it funds
  • the promotion of knowledge transfer
  • the enhancement of public awareness of the outcomes from and priorities for publicly funded research.

It monitors performance and ensures that AHRC operates high standards of efficiency, accountability and propriety in the use and management of public funding. Together with the executive chair who is the accounting officer, it is responsible for the use of resources and personnel issues, including key appointments and advisory board appointments.

The executive chair of the research council is responsible for implementing the Council’s decisions and AHRC’s day-to-day operation.

Advisory board

The advisory board advises the Council on strategies for research, training, knowledge transfer, impact, evaluation, and international engagement that reflect AHRC’s Charter and the most important national, European and global needs and challenges facing arts and humanities research. The board also develops and recommends to Council programmes and initiatives to the Council. It also monitors, reports and acts as a quality assurance body for AHRC’s research portfolios, outputs and research impact.

Peer Review College

The Peer Review College provides expert reviews of proposals submitted to AHRC for funding. In addition the Peer Review College is the source from which AHRC builds all panels. These panels have a non standing membership and are made up of representatives from across AHRC’s subject domain. Members are expected to make recommendations outside their subject area.

Last updated: 17 August 2023

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