A Guide to the Arts and Humanities Research Council
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is a non-departmental public body that provides funding to support a wide range of research within the arts and the humanities, with the aim of furthering our understanding of creativity and culture. In 2005, the AHRC replaced the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB), a body that was set up in 1998. One of seven Research Councils in the UK and funded through the Science and Innovation Group, part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the AHRC supports research and postgraduate study across a range of subject areas, from traditional disciplines such as languages, English literature to creative and performing arts such as design and drama.
What are the aims of the AHRC?The AHRC’s vision is to achieve recognition as a world leader in the advancement of research in the arts and the humanities. They aim to publicise and fund leading research in arts and humanities. They also seek to facilitate world-class postgraduate training, leaving graduates exceptionally well equipped for careers in research and other areas. The AHRC also aims to heighten the impact of arts and humanities research by encouraging researchers to share their findings in a range of contexts. Finally, the body also seeks to increase the profile of arts and humanities research, revealing its economic, cultural and social significance.
Can the AHRC help me fund my postgraduate study?The AHRC offers a range of funding opportunities and frequently supports students undertaking both Masters and PhD level courses. The AHRC typically makes around 1, 350 postgraduate awards a year, helping students with both their course fees and their living expenses. Competition for AHRC awards is tough. Each application goes through a peer review process, ensuring that only the strongest applications receive funding. Despite the steep competition, if you are thinking of embarking on postgraduate study and are unable to meet your costs independently, it is certainly worth submitting an application to the AHRC.
How do I apply for AHRC funding?Your application for AHRC funding will be made separately from your main application to the institution at which you hope to study. Your AHRC application will only be considered if you are accepted onto your chosen programme of study. The application process requires you to submit a Case For Support, documenting your academic progress and research interests to date, your aims for your academic career, an outline of your proposed research project and the reasons why the institution you have chosen is right for you. AHRC funding for Masters and PhD students is usually held ‘in house’ at your elected university. A team of experts in your discipline will assess and ratify the applications they receive and make the final decision as to which students will receive funding.
Whilst competition for AHRC postgraduate funding is fierce, the body has supported numerous students in realising their ambitions and pursuing the research about which they are passionate. Remember that in neglecting to apply, you will be opting out of the opportunity to secure funding that could enable you to make significant advancements in your chosen field, so why not give it a go?