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Professor Andrew Thompson to join the University of Oxford as Chair in Global History

Date: 25/03/2019

Andrew Thompson
Professor Andrew Thompson in 2018.

Professor Andrew Thompson will be taking up the prestigious role of Chair in Global History at the University of Oxford and a Professorial Fellowship at Nuffield College from September this year. Professor Thompson will continue in his role as Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) until the end of December 2019, to help with a managed transition while a replacement is recruited.

During his tenure Professor Thompson has led the AHRC through the process of becoming part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). He has played a key role in securing the funding for the high profile £80 million Creative Industries Clusters Programme and for the innovative Living with Machines project from the UKRI strategic priorities fund, which brings together computer scientists and historians and is led by the British Library and Alan Turing Institute.

Professor Thompson has been instrumental in deepening the partnership with Independent Research Organisations (museums, libraries, galleries and archives), building the profile of arts and humanities research across the Government in the UK and leading on the creation of important new bilateral relationships with the DFG in Germany and the Smithsonian museums in the US.

In the last four years the AHRC has also grown its public engagement activities, such as the New Generation Thinkers scheme and the Research in Film Awards, and has announced a second round of Doctoral Training Partnerships.

Since April 2018 Professor Thompson has been the UKRI’s lead for international research, strengthening our global relationships and leading the successful delivery of the Global Challenges Research Fund and the Fund for International Collaboration.

Professor Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair at the Arts and Humanities, said: “My time at the Arts and Humanities Research Council has been the most fulfilling of my professional career.”

“Arts and humanities researchers represent almost one third of the UK research community, and the AHRC plays a vital role in supporting the next generation of researchers, championing the role of core disciplines from which interdisciplinary research is built, and illustrating the impact of the curiosity-driven research we are proud to fund."

“I am deeply committed to ensuring that we continue to provide a strong voice for the importance of arts and humanities research within UKRI and will work to ensure a smooth transition to a new Executive Chair for the AHRC.”

Sir Drummond Bone, Chair of AHRC Council, said: “It has been my good fortune to work with Andrew both before and during his time as Chief Executive and now Executive Chair of AHRC.

“He has transformed the way the organisation is perceived without losing our essential values as an arts and humanities community - no mean trick - and of course our finances are now in a position it would have been difficult even to dream about a few years ago.”

“We will miss him terribly, but of course wish him all the very best in his return to full-time academia - I write ’full-time’ advisedly, because he has never really left his academic roots.”

UKRI Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said: “Andrew has provided strong leadership for AHRC, and the wider community, since 2015.  During his term he has secured significant research programmes, including the £80 million Creative Industries Clusters programme, and played an integral role in the transition to UKRI.  

“Andrew has also served as UKRI's International lead, strengthening our global relationships and leading the successful delivery of the Global Challenges Research Fund and the Fund for International Collaboration. 

“In addition to his academic leadership, Andrew is a distinguished historian of modern empire and I am delighted that he will become Chair in Global History at the University of Oxford with a Professorial Fellowship at Nuffield College.”

Professor Thompson was Interim Chief Executive at the AHRC from the December 2015 until March 2017, when he was appointed permanently. Previous positions also include the AHRC’s Care for the Future Fellow and Dean of the Faculty of Arts, and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at the University Leeds.

Professor Thompson joined the University of Exeter as Professor of Modern History in 2011 and helped to set up the Centre for Imperial & Global History.


Notes to editors

For further press information please contact:

Mike Collins, Head of Communications, Arts and Humanities Research Council
Tel: 07590 463751, email: mike.collins@ahrc.ukri.org

About AHRC

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 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.

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