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Nurturing the next generation of highly skilled researchers


Date: 15/10/2013

Having renewed its commitment to investing in the next generation of arts and humanities researchers, as set out in its Strategy (2013-18) published earlier this year, the AHRC today (Tuesday 15 October) announced eleven new Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and seven Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) to deliver postgraduate supervision, training and skills development from 2014.

The DTPs will offer postgraduate studentships and training across the full range of the AHRC’s disciplines, largely through consortia of Higher Education institutions (HEIs). The CDTs are consortia awards offering training, skills and capacity in specific disciplinary areas which are part of the AHRC’s current priorities: modern languages, creative and performing arts, especially design, and heritage. From next year the majority of AHRC postgraduate funding will be made through these new mechanisms which will replace the former Block Grant Partnerships.

The new funding arrangement provides greater flexibility for HEIs, creating rich training environments both within and across disciplines. This will include an allocation of resources for placement opportunities and additional skills training. The awards will also provide for cohort development activities to support joint supervision of students, sharing of resources from across the consortia, further activities such as student events, conferences and the fostering of peer support networks.    

The DTP and CDT awards have a strong emphasis on collaboration; the awards include 75 Higher Education Institutions which will be working alongside 155 partner organisations including museums, galleries, cultural organisations and businesses.

Over the next five years the AHRC will be providing the DTP and CDTs awards with £164m* of funding which equates to 495 new full time studentships per year. An additional £63m matched funding has already been committed from the HEIs which will greatly extend the number of studentships. The DTP and CDT awards have the opportunity to secure further funding through the networks of HEIs and external partners to boost the number of studentships available still further. The funding for DTP and CDT awards make up one third of the AHRC’s current budget in line with commitments made in the Delivery Plan and Strategy (2013-18).

Central to the investment in the DTP and CDT awards is innovative postgraduate support, including the development of broader skills such as partnership working, language skills and the development of students’ skills and experience in working outside academia, for example, through placements, including industry and international placements.

The AHRC will continue to support postgraduate training through the Collaborative Skills Development scheme and Collaborative Doctoral Awards which equates to a further £6m* of funding per year.

Professor Rick Rylance, Chief Executive of the AHRC, states: “This is an important step forward in delivering the best possible training and support for postgraduate students in the arts and humanities, and in developing a collaborative approach which pools expertise and expands horizons for postgraduate researchers. We are delighted at how the sector, and partners beyond the sector, have responded, and we look forward to working closely with them to support the next generation. We have had to make difficult choices during this process and I’d like to thank the large team of independent peer reviewers and moderators whose judgement, dedication and expertise guided this process over a considerable time. The AHRC would also like to thank all the researchers and administrators in universities who submitted such excellent applications. Postgraduate support remains the largest item of expenditure in the AHRC’s budget, but it doesn’t match the demand arising naturally from the very many talented people in the arts and humanities research community. ”

Professor Mark Llewellyn, Director of Research for the AHRC comments: “The AHRC’s more flexible arrangement for postgraduate funding will support students to explore new opportunities to engage with deeper and broader skills alongside maintaining disciplinary capability. This investment by the AHRC will not only support university researchers but also enrich the contexts in which arts and humanities skills and capabilities engage with and contribute to advancement and growth in sectors across the wider UK economy.”

Science and Universities Minister David Willetts said:

"The AHRC is creating more opportunities for the next generation of researchers, both within and beyond academia in the thriving arts and humanities sector. I'm particularly pleased to see an emphasis on student placements and additional skills training among the new arrangements.

"The strong support of a number of partners like the BBC, Microsoft Research, Top Shop, Ford and Routledge will ensure a bright future, not just for the individuals involved but for UK cultural and economic growth."


*The funding allocation outlined is only committed for the AHRC’s current spending review settlement, which runs to March 2015. All postgraduate funding from April 2015, including the indicative allocation, is subject to the outcome of future Spending Reviews. The AHRC will confirm funding, including any changes to award allocations, when it has received its settlement from the spending review process.


For further information, please contact:

Danielle Moore-Chick, AHRC: 01793 416021 d.moore-chick@ahrc.ac.uk


4. AHRC’s Delivery Plan 2011-2015 (PDF, opens in new window) outlined our plans to continue to invest substantial support for postgraduate research and training and to further develop the postgraduate funding model in partnership with Research Organisations to maintain disciplinary capability.

5. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.