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New Generation Thinkers 2018: now open to candidates from all research backgrounds

Date: 21/07/2017

Katherine Cooper

New ideas, new voices and new creativity are being sought for the 2018 New Generation Thinkers scheme. The Arts and Humanities Research Council and BBC Radio 3, are keen to hear from academics that are passionate about communicating their research and have a keen interest in working with a variety of media from blogging to TV.

Now in its eighth year, for the first time the scheme is open to academics from all research backgrounds, as long as their research fuses with the arts and humanities.

The New Generation Thinkers scheme is seeking innovative programme ideas, talent and expertise from early career researchers who bring fresh and interesting ideas on communicating their research across the airwaves.

This exciting opportunity aims to develop a new generation of academics who can bring the best of university research and scholarly ideas to a broad audience – through BBC broadcasting. It’s a chance for early career researchers to cultivate the skills to communicate their research findings to those outside the academic community.

The call opened today (21 July) and researchers can apply until 4pm on Thursday 12 October. This year, we welcome applications from inter-disciplinary researchers whose work fuses arts and humanities research with disciplines outside the remit of the AHRC.

Katherine Cooper
Dr Katherine Cooper, New Generation Thinker in 2016
Dr Edmund Richardson
Dr Edmund Richardson, New Generation Thinker in 2016

Dr Katherine Cooper, English Literature Senior Research Associate at the University of East Anglia and a New  Generation Thinker in 2016, is encouraging those thinking of applying to go for it. She says: “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."

Dr Edmund Richardson, lecturer in classics and ancient history at Durham University and a New Generation Thinker in 2016 adds that researchers should have confidence in themselves and their research. “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.”

Each year, up to 60 successful applicants have a chance to develop their media skills, including programme-making ideas with experienced BBC producers at a series of dedicated workshops.

Of these up to ten will become BBC Radio 3’s resident New Generation Thinkers and benefit from a unique opportunity to develop their own programmes for the station and a chance to regularly appear on air.

There will also be the possibility of working with BBC TV, a number of speaking opportunities and the chance to become a regular blogger.

Andrew Thompson, Chief Executive of AHRC, says: “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 is a superb scheme and career changing.”

For more information on the scheme and details of eligibility and how to apply please see the New Generation Thinkers 2018 Call.

BBC Radio 3 and its Programmes Free Thinking, the Verb and the Sunday Feature have provided a platform for debate and commentary from scholars across the world.

You can listen to current New Generation Thinkers on the Radio 3 Website:

The Essay

Free Thinking

The Sunday Feature


Notes for editors

Arts and Humanities Research Council funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98 million to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits and contributes to the economic success of the UK but also to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe. You can find out more information via www.ahrc.ac.uk or following us on Twitter at @ahrcpress, on Facebook at Arts and Humanities Research Council, or Instagram at @ahrcpress.

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