The following is a list of some of the main areas of study where the AHRC and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) share interests and responsibilities.
AHRC supports research that is concerned with the culture, history, language and religion of specific regions. ESRC supports research that is concerned with the society, economy, politics and human geography of specific regions.
Communications, cultural and media studies
AHRC supports research that seeks to understand communications, culture and media through the study of phenomena such as the visual arts, film and television, history, language, literature and performance. ESRC supports research that approaches communications, culture and media through the study of sociology, social theory, social anthropology, politics and economics. Note that there is also an important interface between AHRC, ESRC and EPSRC in this area where proposed research projects include a significant engagement with, or advancement of, communication technologies. In the case of relevant research applications, the AHRC and/or ESRC will liaise with EPSRC when consulting reviewers and making funding decisions.
Cultural policy and management
AHRC supports historical, comparative and empirical research that addresses questions of human value in creativity and culture, including both the individual and collective experience of creativity and culture. AHRC also supports research in museum studies. ESRC supports research into the psychological processes involved in creativity and the social and economic influences on and consequent impacts of creativity and culture, and public policy and management in this area.
ESRC is the primary funding body for educational research across all subjects, including the arts and humanities. AHRC supports research where the imperative for the research questions resides in the arts and humanities, but there may be an educational element. Examples include research into the history of education, children's literature, creative art and performance in (but not for) educational environments, religious teaching and scholarship, and the role of education in librarianship and museums practice.
AHRC supports research that is concerned with sex and gender as they relate to the creative and performing arts, language, law, literature, religion and history of all periods. ESRC supports research that is concerned with sex and gender as they relate to society, the economy and politics.
ESRC is the primary funding body for human geography; but AHRC also supports research in cultural geography. This includes research into the interpretation of the cultural landscape; cultural constructions of nature and environment; creative and imaginative aspects of geographical thought and practice; and relationships between space, place and cultural identity.
AHRC supports historical research covering all periods of history from ancient times to modern, and in all parts of the world. AHRC takes modern history to end in the late twentieth century. Applicants whose research focuses primarily on the last two decades of that century will need to show in their proposal how and why their focus is indeed predominantly historical, for example how the study will focus on change over a defined period of time or will make predominant use of historical modes of analysis. ESRC supports historical research that seeks to understand the development of social and economic arrangements over time and applies social and economic theories. Research focusing on contemporary or near-contemporary social, political, economic or geographical themes should normally be directed to the ESRC.
ESRC is the primary funding body for international relations, but AHRC supports research that is concerned with the relationship between international relations and the culture, history, language and religion of specific countries and regions.
Librarianship and Information Science
AHRC supports research into the practice and techniques of information and knowledge management as they relate to librarianship, archives and records management, information science and information systems, storage and retrieval, and professional practice in journalism and the media. AHRC also supports research into information use and users in specific organisational environments. ESRC supports research into the broader socio-economic context of information use and policy, information flows within and between organisations, and the shaping, use and potential of information and communication technologies. The ESRC also supports research on knowledge management and on forms and structures of knowledge, as they relate to the wider socio-economic context. Note that there is also an important interface between AHRC, ESRC and EPSRC in this area where proposed research projects include a significant engagement with, or advancement of, technologies dealing with information management. In the case of relevant research applications, AHRC and/or ESRC will liaise with EPSRC when consulting reviewers and making funding decisions.
AHRC supports research into the structure, history, theory and description of language and languages. This includes the development and exploration of theories of language, the elucidation of the historical development of languages and the production of descriptions of languages or features of languages. ESRC supports research in areas of computational linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, and interdisciplinary social science research involving linguistics. Both Councils also fund research into phonetics and applied linguistics relating to the areas for which they are responsible.
AHRC supports research into the content, procedures, theory, philosophy and history of the law. This includes studies of legal systems and legislation in all periods of history and in all parts of the world. ESRC supports socio-legal studies, which are concerned with the social, political and economic influences on and impact of the law and the legal system.
AHRC supports research in philosophy, covering all topics, methods and periods. This includes research into ethical theory and applied ethics, for example bio-ethics, professional ethics and environmental ethics. ESRC supports research into the social political and economic influences on and effects of ethical positions of institutions and individuals.
AHRC supports research into religions and belief systems of all kinds, in all periods of history and in all parts of the world. This includes research into the ethics of religions and belief systems, and their application in socio-economic, scientific and technological contexts. ESRC supports research that is concerned with the social and economic influences on and the impacts of religious beliefs and groups.
Science and Technology Studies
ESRC is the primary funding body for research on innovation and the interdisciplinary study of science, technology and society. AHRC supports research into the history, law and philosophy of science, technology and medicine, as well as their interface with religion. AHRC also supports research into the interpretation and representation of, and engagement with, science, technology and medicine through art, literature, performance, museums, galleries, libraries and archives.
ESRC is the primary funding body for social anthropology, but the AHRC also supports anthropological research where the research questions and methods are significantly concerned with arts and humanities phenomena and critical, historical and practice-led approaches. This includes studies of archaeology, history, language, law, literature, the creative and performing arts and religion.