Research beyond borders


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EU India social sciences and humanities platform soon to take off

By Dr Nafees Meah, Director RCUK India

equp1-300x133Over the past few years, UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) along with sister European funding agencies have been busy building up a strong portfolio of collaborative research. For example, NORFACE (New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Cooperation in Europe) has developed joint research programmes on such topics as the Re-Emergence of Religion as a Social Force in Europe. HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) recently launched a joint programme on Cultural Encounters.

Both networks are now in a strong position to explore international opportunities. It is in this context that the EU recently funded the EU-India Social Sciences and Humanities Platform (EqUIP) with a grant award of €1.5 million.

India is at the cusp of a rapid social transformation. Over the next 20 years or so, there will be massive urbanisation. New cities will be built and, along with them venerable old cities like Varanasi, will be modernised. As with the industrial revolution in Europe, this rapid change will throw up all sorts of issues. Therefore, it is a really exciting time to research and observe this transition.

What will EqUIP do?

equp2Led by ESRC and the India Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), EqUIP will bring together 12[1] European research funding organisations with sister organisations in India in order to develop a stronger strategic partnership. The idea is that it will step up EU-India collaboration through sharing best practice, networking and the closer coordination of existing collaborative activities and establishing new relationships. As well as this, it will map existing collaborative activity and identify opportunities and priorities for future research collaboration by holding six major international conferences over the next three years.

It will be formally launched by the EU Ambassador to India on the 14th October 2014 at a high profile event in New Delhi. This brief blog is just to whet your appetite for the exciting research collaboration that is to come between the best in Europe with the best in India.

[1] UK (ESRC, AHRC), Finland (AKA), France (ANR), Italy (APRE), Germany (DFG, DLR), Portugal (FCT), Slovenia (MIZS), Netherlands (NWO), Norway (RCN) and Austria (ZSI)


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Film: International Placement Scheme: Focus on Library of Congress, Washington DC

It’s certainly true to say that travel broadens the mind, and for anyone undertaking research, the opportunity to explore internationally renowned archives is one not to be missed.

The AHRC’s International Placement Scheme offers Early Career Researchers, Research Assistants and AHRC and ESRC funded PhD students the chance to undertake a research fellowship at several partner institutions in the USA and Japan, including the John W Kluge Center, based within the Library of Congress in Washington DC.

With over 151 million items and 10,000 new resources added daily, the Library of Congress gives researchers from all disciplines the opportunity to enhance their studies, while at the same time meeting new people, sharing ideas and broadening their academic careers.

To find out just what such placements are like, Dario Sarlo, a Kluge Centre Post Doctoral Fellow and former AHRC IPS Fellow, along with AHRC research fellows Lydia Morgan, Kirsty Day, and Rebecca Wright have been sharing their own experiences of working at the biggest library in the world.

To find out more about applying for the AHRC’s International Placement Scheme please visit the following page. 


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World class new hosts for AHRC’s International Placement Scheme

The AHRC is delighted to announce that Yale Center for British Art and the Harry Ransom Centre are joining the AHRC International Placement Scheme (IPS).

Home to the largest collection of British art outside the UK, Yale Center for British Art is an exceptional resource for understanding the story of British art, culture and life. Collections include 2,000 paintings and 200 sculptures from the medieval to the contemporary; 20,000 drawings and watercolors and 30,000 prints; 35,000 rare books and manuscripts; a reference library and archives with over 30,000 volumes; and two conservation studios. Works include masterpieces by Stubbs, Gainsborough, and Turner, as well as major artists who lived and worked in Britain.

Specialising in literature, photography, film, art, and the performing arts, the Harry Ransom Center’s extensive collections include 42 million manuscripts; nearly one million rare books; 5 million photographs – including the first ever photograph; and 100,000 works of art. It holds one of the world’s strongest collections of 20th and 21st century British and American literature; as well as the holdings of key cultural figures – from The Magnum Photos Collection to Robert De Niro’s archive.

The AHRC IPS provides UK PhD students and early career researchers with funded research fellowships of up to six months at world-leading overseas research institutions. IPS fellows receive a travel and living stipend and enjoy dedicated access to their host’s exceptional collections, facilities and staff expertise, as well as opportunities to network and present their work to peers.

Also joining the IPS this year is The Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, and nine research facilities. 

Visit the AHRC website to find out more.


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Call for Researcher Links Travel Grant applications

britishcouncil_researchlinkslockup_630x354Apply by 24 November

Last week the British Council launched a call for early-career researchers to propose an international research placement. Researchers that reside in the UK can apply for funding to spend up to 3 months at a university or research institution in one of the 19 partner countries, and those residing in one of the partner countries can apply for funding to come to the UK. All research areas are covered, including the natural sciences, humanities and social sciences, but some countries have priority areas. The call guidelines, a list of the 19 countries and the application form can be found here. The deadline is 24 November 2013.