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So you want to be a New Generation Thinker?

If you’re thinking about whether or not you should apply to become a New Generation Thinker (NGT), here are some comments from previous NGTs, as well as some of the people at the AHRC and the BBC, to explain why we run the scheme, just what you would gain if you were lucky enough to be selected and some tips on making the most of this unique opportunity.

 Andrew Thompson

Andrew Thompson,
Chief Executive, AHRC

“Never before has such a scheme provided an opportunity for a better partnership between the BBC, AHRC and applicants. Our NGTs have made the most of the opportunities that have been presented to them, and those they seek. It a superb scheme, and career changing.”


“I’m not exaggerating when I say the NGT scheme has totally transformed my career.”
Laurence Scott, NGT 2011

Matthew Dodd

Matthew Dodd, Head of Speech Programming, BBC Radio 3

“There are many, many people who are interested in the kind of topics that scholars are covering. The task is to find ways in which to offer their insights to an audience that is not professional. Radio 3 commissions and nurtures new talent and the New Generation Thinkers scheme is an integral part of that. There is a huge range of dynamic researchers who aspire to bring their work to a broadcast audience and this always makes our decisions very tough.”

 Daisy Fancourt

Daisy Fancourt,
NGT 2017

“Being an NGT has definitely made a difference to my career. I developed a new citizen science project with the BBC that generated a new dataset for my own research and will be leading to further research publications, so it’s directly supporting my research. The scheme has helped me to connect more with researchers, both within my own university and in my field, and I feel it’s played a role in successful grant applications since too. I really can’t recommend the scheme enough to other early career researchers!”


Katherine Cooper

Katherine Cooper,
NGT 2016

Say ‘yes’ to everything and just revel in it. It’s a great opportunity to work with so many fantastic people, both at the BBC and the AHRC and among the NGTs themselves; just seize every opportunity.”

Seán Williams

Seán Williams,
NGT 2016

“Following Radio 3 appearances this year on Free Thinking and The Essay, as well as interviews with the World Service, Radio Sheffield, Radio Shropshire and Swiss Radio, it was fun to sit back and watch the pros making so many programmes, and to observe their craft. I still have much to learn! I was fortunate to have a track played on Jazz Record Requests, too, a programme my Dad has listened to for 43 years, and which I fondly associate with him cooking Saturday suppers when I was a child.”


Sarah Jackson

Sarah Jackson,
NGT 2016

“One of the main things I’ve learned during the scheme is to relax a little and enjoy being on radio! As I’ve gained a little more experience, I’ve approached it as if I’m trying to tell a really good story to friends, with a hook to catch their attention right at the start. I’d advise current and future NGTs to imagine they are talking to their friends and to let the passion for their subject really show.”

 Leah Broad

Leah Broad,
NGT 2016

“It's been a hugely formative experience for me, particularly because I went through the process quite early, while finishing my DPhil.”

 Edmund Richardson

Edmund Richardson,
NGT 2016

“Believe in the wonder and weirdness of your work: lean into the most unexpected parts, the oddest characters, the most baffling puzzles. People can think that it’s necessary to normalise their subjects for a general audience; quite the reverse, I’ve found. The stranger my material, the more people have responded to it.”


How to apply

To apply to become a 2019 New Generation Thinker, visit the call page for all the details.