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Funding Opportunities

New Generation Thinkers 2013

Please note that this is the New Generation Thinkers 2013 call. For the New Generation Thinkers 2014 call (closing 06/02/2014), please visit the 2014 page.


The AHRC and BBC Radio 3 are looking for applications for the New Generation Thinkers of 2013.

Up to sixty successful applicants will have a chance to develop their programme-making ideas with experienced BBC producers at a series of dedicated workshops and, of these up to ten will become Radio 3’s resident New Generation Thinkers. They will benefit from a unique opportunity to develop their own programmes for BBC Radio 3 and a chance to regularly appear on air.

BBC Radio 3 and its programmes Night Waves, the Verb, the Essay and the Sunday Feature have provided a platform for debate and commentary from scholars across the world. You could now join them on air.

The New Generation Thinkers scheme also works with BBC TV Arts will be looking to develop New Generation Thinkers and their ideas into arts television.

Scholars who have previously applied to the scheme are welcome – and encouraged - to apply again, even if they made it to the finals.

We welcome applications from researchers working in all areas of the arts and humanities. However, we particularly welcome ideas from researchers working in the area of the history and philosophy of science.

Please note that no one research area will get preferential treatment over another. All applications will be assessed on their own merits against the application criteria.

Who's Eligible?

To apply for the New Generation Thinkers scheme, you must be

1. A UK resident over 18 currently working or studying at a UK university and working within one of the disciplinary domains of the AHRC.

You will be either:
a) under-taking an arts or humanities postgraduate or postdoctoral research project or working as a postgraduate or postdoctoral member of an arts or humanities research project.
b). Within eight years of the award of your PhD.
c). Within six years of your first academic appointment.

2. Anyone who applied for last year’s scheme is free to apply again except the previously selected researchers who became the final 10 New Generation Thinkers in 2011 and 2012.

3. Employees of the BBC and the AHRC are not eligible to apply.
Closing Dates


The closing date is midnight on Thursday 13 December however the office cannot answer any questions or provide support from 4pm.

How to make an application

​1. Complete the online application form which will include the two questions set out below.

2. From these entries up to 60 people will be selected by the judges to attend one of a series of BBC workshops developing programme ideas from academics.

3. Up to ten successful applicants will be chosen from a pitching process at each of these workshops.

Further Information

The Questions

The questions below are designed to be a chance for you to show that you can reach a broad audience. Listen to BBC Radio 3 to get a sense of the style in which regular broadcasters might answer.

A. Describe how your research could make an engaging and stimulating programme or up to 45 minutes for a non-academic audience. It could be a debate, a report, a scripted essay – or some other imaginative format (250 words)

B. Review a new film, play, novel, book of poetry, exhibition or other cultural event that you’ve recently attended. It must be on a topic separate from your research. Write the review as if you were going to read it on air as a short essay for BBC Radio 3. (250 words)


The Workshops

Those chosen from the initial applications will be contacted in towards the end of February and invited to attend a workshop in March 2013 at one of the BBC’s buildings.

Each day-long workshop will consist of an introduction to programme-making; a chance to hear from a regular Radio 3 contributor who is also an academic; a meeting with producers from Radio 3 arts programmes and from BBC TV Arts; an opportunity to develop your own programme idea - and finally a pitching session for a place amongst the final ten.

Judges for the application process will include:

  • Matthew Dodd, Head of Speech and Presentation for BBC Radio 3
  • Rick Rylance, Chief Executive of the AHRC
  • Danielle Moore-Chick, AHRC Communications Manager
  • Dr. Philip Pothen, AHRC Head of Communications
  • Adrian Washbourne, Editor, Night Waves, BBC Radio 3
  • Tanya Hudson, Executive Producer, The Review Show/BBC Scotland Arts TV

Judges may be subject to change.

FAQ's New Generation Thinkers (pdf format 24kb)

Terms and Conditions for New Generation Thinkers (pdf format 31kb)

Succesful Applicants

The ten successful applicants chosen from the workshops will become Radio 3’s New Generation Thinkers for 2013.

  1. They will work with the BBC to develop their own programme-idea for BBC Radio 3.
  2. Be invited to appear on air in BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Thinkers regular slots.
  3. Have a chance to become a guest-speaker at a New Generation Thinkers event at Radio 3’s Free Thinking festival of ideas in November 2013.
  4. Have a chance to make a short taster film for BBC TV Arts. 
​If you have any queries please email ngt@ahrc.ac.uk.