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Grant Funding by Sponsor


The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds high-quality research and postgraduate training in a huge range of subjects from history to English literature to design and dance. AHRC is the smallest of the UK’s seven research councils.

The AHRC offers several modes of research funding for postdoctoral academics and established researchers. Many of schemes operate as ‘open calls’, i.e. there are no formal deadlines for applications to be submitted. The majority of decisions are announced within 30 weeks of submission.

Alongside the ‘open calls’ for funding, the AHRC publishes ‘highlight notices’ which are applied for a set period of time (e.g. 12 months) and are intended to stimulate proposals under specified themes or initiatives in order to rapidly advance thinking in these areas.

British Academy

The British Academy provides a variety of grants and fellowships to support academic research, career development and wider engagement across the full range of the humanities and social sciences. Funding opportunities cover UK and international research from the postdoctoral level upwards, supporting the best ideas, individuals and intellectual resources. 

EC Horizon 2020

Europe funds a range of grants including the large collaborative grants aiming to link different countries and institutions in the EU. The scope is wide and split between three key priorities: Excellent Science, Industrial Leadership and Societal Challenges (also Euroatom, but that is linked to Nuclear Research). There is a wealth of information available on the Research Operations Office website and at the EC website

Useful and concrete information about Horizon 2020 opportunities for scholars in arts, humanities and social sciences is provided in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research website of the University. 

If you are considering applying for any EC scheme it is essential you inform the Faculty  in the accounts office and advice with (Schools Research Facilitator, International) to discuss the academic content of a proposal. Research Grants Administrator will assist with preparing a grant budget and in dealing with queries over the application form and procedure. Please contact them at least 2 months before the deadline as these applications cannot be done at the last minute.

Excellent Science

This pillar of Horizon 2020 includes the European Research Council (ERC) and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions of potential interest to scholars in arts, humanities and social sciences. It is anticipated that most applications from Faculty of History will fall under this pillar, however details of all schemes are available on the EC website (please see above link).


The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funds research and training in the Economic and Social Sciences.

The ESRC has identified three further national priority areas that they will invest in, mobilising social science evidence to address significant social and economic challenges:

  • Climate change
  • Innovation in health and social care
  • Trust and global governance in a turbulent age

These join the four existing national priority areas:

A further area - 'New ways of being in a digital age' - was also identified for further scoping.


Leverhulme Trust

The Leverhulme Trust funds original work of a high academic standard. They aim to fund some schemes which would not usually be funded by the Research Councils.

Wellcome Trust

Funding schemes of the Wellcome Trust support individuals, teams, resources, seed ideas, places and major initiatives in these areas:

  • biomedical science
  • population health
  • product development and applied research
  • humanities and social science
  • public engagement and creative industries.

Global Challenges Research Fund

As part of the 2015 spending review, the UK government has provided £1.5 billion of Official development Assistance for research – the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). The current financial allocation will run until 2020/21 and is gradually rolled out with particular increase from 2017/18. First substantial funding calls are already released now with substantial opportunities for researchers in the arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS) and more becoming available with relatively short deadlines from AHRC and ESRC.