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UK and German research collaboration supports innovation in the arts and humanities

Date: 06/01/2020

UKRI’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - DFG) are pleased to announce funding for 19 UK-German collaborative research projects.

The first round of this new bilateral annual funding call will bring together arts and humanities researchers in the UK and Germany to conduct outstanding joint research projects. The successful projects were selected through a competitive process, leading to a joint peer review panel meeting in autumn 2019.

Demand under this first call was much higher than anticipated, with over 170 joint applications submitted. In the light of unanticipated demand, both funders agreed to support 19 projects and increase the budget for the first call. The total funding was over £5m in the UK, matched by over €6m for research teams in Germany. The projects, which span a wide range of research subjects within the humanities, will start in early 2020 and are expected to run for three years until 2023.

AHRC Executive Chair Professor Andrew Thompson and former President of the DFG, Professor Peter Strohschneider, jointly state “we are delighted to see the launch of this first round of projects funded under the bilateral agreement between the AHRC and the DFG. Both organizations are strongly committed to supporting international collaboration and we are delighted to work in partnership to create this new collaborative funding opportunity. It sends a strong message that the first call generated such high levels of interest in both the UK and Germany and that through this first call we have been able to support such a fantastic range of outstanding projects, indicating the far reaching cross-national importance of arts and humanities research. We hope that this first cohort of projects will help to strengthen and deepen research cooperation between the UK and Germany in the arts and humanities and contribute to the growth of a transnational collaborative research culture in both countries.”

Professor Thompson and Professor Strohschneider add that “the current joint funding initiative of AHRC and DFG brings to light the need for further commitment of funding agencies to pay particular attention to scholars that work in research fields that are politically less prioritised and appreciated but that at the same time are of paramount societal importance.”

The AHRC and DFG are strengthening their own commitment in this area with a second bilateral open funding call for arts and humanities researchers based in Germany and the UK.  The second call will build on the success of the first round and address the entire spectrum of the arts and humanities (including law and linguistics) that fall within the remits of DFG and the AHRC. It will be managed by the AHRC in close partnership with the DFG. The second call will follow the same jointly agreed policies and procedures set out in the first call. In the first instance applications should be directed towards the AHRC’s application systems.

Besides these funding calls, AHRC and DFG will support efforts to highlight the value of the humanities as essential for the interpretation of the world. Profs. Thompson and Strohschneider jointly assert that “Across the world we face uncertain and politically challenging times, and in this context the AHRC and DFG seek to intensify their cooperation to make a better case for scholarship in the humanities”.

Funded projects

"Twisted Transfers": Discursive Constructions of Corruption in Ancient Greece and Rome

Filippo Carlà-Uhink, Universität Potsdam; Marta García Morcillo, University of Roehampton

Discipline: Ancient History


Historicising Natures, Cultures and Laws in the Etosha-Kunene Conservation Territories of Namibia: From Deutsch Südwestafrika’s “Game Reserve No. 2” to “Kunene People’s Park”?

Ute Dieckmann, Universität zu Köln; Sian Sullivan, Bath Spa University

Discipline: Social and Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology


Complexity in Derivational Morphology: Theory and Experimental Evidence

Carsten Eulitz, Universität Konstanz; Aditi Lahiri, University of Oxford

Disciplines: Linguistics; Cognitive Neuroscience


The Intertwined World of the Oral and Written Transmission of Sacred Traditions in the Middle East

Alba Fedeli, Universität Hamburg; Geoffrey Khan, University of Cambridge

Disciplines: Islamic Studies, Arabian Studies, Semitic Studies; Religious Studies and Jewish Studies


Jewish Pimps, Prostitutes and Campaigners in a Transnational German and British Context, 1875–1940

Stefanie Fischer, Technische Universität Berlin; Daniel Lee, Queen Mary University, London.

Disciplines: Modern and Current History; Religious Studies and Jewish Studies


The Íslendingasögur as Prosimetrum

Stefanie Gropper, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen; Judy Quinn, Cambridge University

Discipline: European and American Literature


Seascapes: Tracing the Emergence and Spread of Maritime Networks in the Central and Western Mediterranean in the 3rd Millennium BC

Lucy Cramp, University of Bristol; Maria Ivanova-Bieg, Universität Heidelberg

Discipline: Prehistory


Reading the Library of Ashurbanipal: A Multi-sectional Analysis of Assyriology’s Foundational Corpus

Enrique Jiménez, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München; Jonathan Taylor, The British Museum

Discipline: Ancient Near Eastern Studies


Beethoven in the House: Digital Studies of Domestic Music Arrangements

Johannes Kepper, Universität Paderborn; Kevin Page, University of Oxford

Discipline: Musicology


The Law of Protracted Conflict: Overcoming the Humanitarian-Development Divide

Robin Geiß, University of Glasgow; Heike Krieger, Freie Universität Berlin

Discipline: Law


Looking in from the Edge (LIFTE) - The Impact of International Commercialization on North-West Europe’s Peripheral Communities 1468-1712: Production, Commerce and Consumption in Orkney and Shetland

Sarah Jane Gibbon, University of Highlands and Islands; Natascha Mehler, Deutsches Schifffahrtsmuseum

Disciplines: Prehistory; History


Risky hormones, pregnant patients and the contested science of birth defects: the rise and fall of hormone pregnancy tests in the FRG and UK, 1950-81

Birgit Nemec, Universität Heidelberg; Jesse Olszynko-Gryn, University of Strathclyde

Discipline: History of Science


From Icon to Abstraction in Sign Language: how Iconicity Shapes the Lexicon in the Visual Modality

Gerardo Ortega, University of Birmingham; Pamela Perniss, Universität zu Köln

Discipline: Linguistics


Corridor Talk: Conservation Humanities and the Future of Europe’s National Parks

Graham Huggan, University of Leeds; Katie Ritson, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Disciplines: European and American Literature; General and Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies


How Does it Feel? - Interpersonal Understanding and affective Empathy

Neil Roughley, Universität Duisburg-Essen; Thomas Schramme, University of Liverpool

Discipline: Philosophy


Finance, Law and the Language of Governmental Practice in Late Medieval Towns: Aberdeen and Augsburg in Comparison

Jackson Armstrong, University of Aberdeen; Jörg Rogge, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Discipline: History


Conquest, Ecology and Economy in Islamic North Africa: The Example of the Central Medjerda Valley

Corisande Fenwick, University College London; Philipp von Rummel, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Berlin

Disciplines: Prehistory, Physical Geography


The Restitution of Knowledge: Artefacts as Archives in the (Post)Colonial Museum, 1850-1939

Dan Hicks, University of Oxford; Bénédicte Savoy, Technische Universität Berlin

Discipline: Art History


The History of the Jewish Book in the Islamicate World

Judith Olszowy-Schlanger, University of Oxford; Ronny Vollandt, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Discipline: Religious Studies and Jewish Studies


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