Research beyond borders

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*NEW* HERA Funding Call and Match Making Event announced

HERAA new HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) funding call ‘Uses of the Past’ has been announced, and the great news is that even more countries are involved. Italy, Spain, Latvia, Czech Republic and Switzerland are all part of ‘Uses of the Past’ as well as the previous 18 countries, meaning more flexibility in choosing the international arts and humanities researchers who you collaborate with on potential projects.

The detail still has to be agreed but an International Networking Opportunity has been launched to aid collaboration. Researchers can apply for up to 350 EUR to attend a match-making event on 29 January 2015 in Tallinn, Estonia.  The matchmaking event will give interested researchers (both Early Career and more senior), from a range of countries, the opportunity to explore the opportunities of the call and build new partnerships.

The deadline for registering your interest to attend the event is 5 November 2014, 14.00 CET (Central European Time).  You’ll need to complete an Expressions of Interest, consisting of a short project idea and CV.  Full information on how to apply can be found here.

The matchmaking event will be an exciting opportunity to meet around 300 other international researchers and learn more about this major new call, but if you don’t get invited to attend the event, or don’t apply at all, you are still able to submit an expression of interest.

Full details of the call will be published in January 2015 but a description of ‘Uses of the Past’ and some pre-liminary call information is available on the website link above. Each project is likely to need to include four research teams based in four different HERA Uses of the Past partner countries.  The countries taking part are Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

A tentative timetable (subject to change) for the Uses of the Past call is:

January 2015 – full call published

April 2015 – deadline for outline proposals

July 2015 – outcomes for outline stage sent out

October 2015 – deadline for full proposals (if selected)

February 2016 – outcomes for full proposals sent out

June – September 2016 – expected start dates.

More information is on the website above, further developments will be posted here, and on the HERA and AHRC websites. You can also now follow HERA on twitter @HERA_Research, but if you have any UK specific questions please get in touch with Jessica Bacon,, 01793 416071.

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The Arts and Humanities Research Landscape in the US

When the AHRC asked me to write a 300 word blog describing the arts and humanities research landscape in the US, I smiled and said, “Oh, of course. Not a problem.”  Meanwhile my homunculus was screaming, “300 words? That is ridiculous. An impossible task!”  As an American working at the British Embassy, I have found myself often trying to explain the complex layered system of government and the even more complex social structure to my often bewildered or bemused British colleagues.  In this case the conversation would range from a detailed explanation of both the federal system and Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ. So instead you get some key bullet points to understanding the complex US arts and humanities landscape.  

  • The US does not have an equivalent funder to the AHRC.  Also, there is less federal funding for arts and humanities research.
  • In the US, funding for arts and humanities research is spread across at least three federal government agencies, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the National Science Foundation (NSF).  The Smithsonian Institute is also a major contributor to arts and humanities research, but the research is done internally.
  • Congressional support of these organizations waxes and wanes according to who is in political power and the strength of the economy.
  • In addition to Federal government funders, many state and local government agencies fund arts and humanities research, usually focused on their local communities.
  • Alongside Federal funding, the United States boasts the world’s strongest networks of private foundations. The top 50 US foundations spent over $2.3 billion on over 5000 grants in arts and culture in 2011. A state by state map of funders can be found here.
  • Foundational funds also fluctuate with economic fluctuations.

Despite the complexity, there is a vibrant and dynamic arts and humanities research in the US.  The AHRC, with the assistance of the RCUK team here in Washington DC, is working to tighten and simplify relationships with the US federal agencies. Already there is a lead agency agreement between AHRC and NSF.  We hope this trend continues so that the UK and US arts and humanities research communities can more closely cooperate, more efficiently leverage funds, and produce world-class research.