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Open World Research Initiative Launched

Date: 10/06/2014

Our ability to fully appreciate the richness of world history, literature and belief requires the research expertise and language skills to better understand the cultures, art and traditions the world around us. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is pleased to announce details of its major new funding initiative aimed to enhance the UK’s research strengths in this area: the Open World Research Initiative. The initiative will be looking to fund exciting and ambitious new investigations rooted in language expertise in cultures from across the world, ultimately helping to inform what it means to be human in a global world.

Ian Lyne, Associate Research Director for the AHRC states: Our daily lives are influenced by global events which are often deeply rooted in contested histories and beliefs; equally, in many ways our lives are enriched by traditions of literature and creative practice from across the world. The Open World Research Initiative will support researchers with highly developed language skills to investigate historical periods, cultures, art, literature across the globe, and explore how these events shape our lives and enrich our culture.

He goes on to say: This is a unique opportunity for language subject communities to work together to define these questions- and in so doing create projects that will not only showcase the richness of UK expertise in world languages and cultures, but also set out a new and fresh vision of the importance of the high-level language expertise which this form of research requires.

Knowledge and understanding of other cultures and societies, drawing on expert knowledge of the languages involved, are important well beyond academia. For example, this knowledge can make a vital contribution in the area of international diplomacy where a deep understanding and appreciation of other cultures can lead to stronger relationships and mutual respect. Policy makers often depend on the skills and knowledge of researchers working in this field to provide a nuanced understanding of the broader context to inform critical and often quick decisions. Equally, research into the cultures and traditions of countries which touch on the UK's own early history, can serve to throw new light on the UK's own cultural richness, and lead to new forms of community engagement and deeper understanding.

The initiative is central to AHRC's wider strategy for language-led research - research that is rooted in a deep appreciation of the language and literary traditions of human cultures. The AHRC will invest around £20m on at least five research programmes over four years from 2016. Programmes will be expected to develop innovative ways of working and to achieve wider impacts by engaging extensively with public audiences, policy bodies, private enterprises, the third sector and international partners. The Research Organisations involved in a programme will be required to demonstrate longer-term strategic commitment to the initiative, including sustainability beyond the initial funding period. It is expected that after the four-year period of Research Council funding, there will be a clear and sustainable legacy of the work, including partnerships, and on-going impact both within and beyond academia.

For further press information from the AHRC, please contact Danielle Moore-Chick on 01793 41 6021 or d.moore-chick@ahrc.ac.uk

If you have any further questions about the call then please contact OWRI@ahrc.ac.uk

Notes to editors

  • Further details of the initiative can be found on the funding opportunities page.
  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m 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 but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. www.ahrc.ac.uk
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