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Highlight Notice: Public Policy in the Leadership Fellows Scheme

AHRC has launched a highlight notice in its Leadership Fellow scheme as part of a range of activities to support the contribution which arts and humanities research can make to public policy. The Highlight notice will run until 30 September 2016.

Highlight notices are intended to stimulate proposals under specified themes /strategic priorities in order to rapidly advance thinking or collaboration in these areas. Highlight notices are offered as opportunities within existing AHRC research schemes and are therefore assessed under the same criteria and assessment process. Find out more about our current Highlight Notices.

The aim of this highlight notice is to encourage applications to the Leadership Fellows scheme which propose innovative ways to exercise leadership through engaging policy makers in their research, and explore the potential for impact in policy development. This can be in connection with any area of public policy.

Public policy in this context is understood broadly to include government at local, regional or national levels, as well as in connection with international governance bodies. Equally it covers the policies adopted by major civil society and third-sector organisations, such as major charities or charity partnerships, professional associations etc., which effectively have a role in setting policy in areas which impact public life.

While proposals are welcome in any area of public policy, AHRC has been working with the Chief Scientific Advisors in Whitehall and devolved administrations to identify policy areas where input from arts and humanities researchers are particularly welcome. These areas, along with contact details for the Departments involved, are available in this Highlight Notice document (PDF, 157KB).

The Leadership Fellows scheme is well suited to enabling researchers to explore new research alongside collaborative engagement with policy makers. It is designed to support research leadership in a flexible way, through, for example:

  • funding for sustained engagement with a policy body, or government department, and a period of embedded work with them
  • developing a suite of research seminars within a department
  • bringing policy makers into universities to build relationships with researchers
  • activities to bring policy makers or wider community stakeholders together to participate in discussions linked to the Fellow’s research

Applicants will need to clearly articulate leadership activities connected to their research proposal, demonstrating how these activities enhance the transformational potential of their research, and its policy influence and importance. In keeping with the RCUK commitment to maintain the highest standards in research integrity, proposals should include a declaration of any affiliations which may give rise to the perception of a potential conflict of interest in regard to the independence of their proposed research.

AHRC’s Leadership Fellows scheme has Early Career and Standard routes, and operates as a partnership with the Research Organisation. Applicants should discuss any potential application with their Research Organisation at an early stage, as strong evidence of institutional support for the individual and their proposal is required as part of the application process. Equally, for proposals under this highlight notice, clear support from the policy bodies involved should be provided through a letter of support.