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Research in Film Awards

Research in Film Awards 2021

The AHRC Research in Film Awards (RIFA) is the only film awards dedicated to celebrating and recognising arts and humanities research through film.

Connecting people with research through film

The UK's only arts and humanities research film awards

£25,000 prize fund


The Awards Ceremony

Join us on 1 December 2021, 8pm UK time, for the annual Research in Film Awards ceremony. This year, the ceremony will be hosted online via a special livestream on the AHRC youtube page. You can sign up here to receive a link to the ceremony a few days before the event.

Cultural historian and broadcaster, Dr Janina Ramirez, will be hosting this year’s online ceremony and will be joined by:

  • Jessica Loveland, Head of New Writing (BBC) who will be presenting the Best Doctoral or Early Career Film of the Year
  • Mole Hill, BAFTA award-winning animator and director who will be presenting the Best Animated Film of the Year
  • Julian Hector, Head of BBC Studios Natural History Unit who will be presenting the Best Climate Emergency Film of the Year
  • Dr Tina Gharavi, BAFTA and Sundance-nominated director and Senior Lecturer in English: Digital Media/Film (Newcastle University) who will be presenting the Inspiration Award
  • Monisha Shah, Senior Independent Member (AHRC) and Chair of Wikimedia UK who will be presenting the Best Research Film of the Year.

We can’t wait to toast this year’s nominees and reveal our five winners for RIFA 2021! Winners will receive a prestigious trophy and a £5,000 prize.

You can watch clips from the nominated films here. We hope you enjoy the show!

Applications for the 2021 Research in Film Awards have now closed. We will be announcing the shortlisted films in September. Keep an eye out on our website and follow us on social media @ahrcpress for further news. You can join in the conversation by following the hashtag #RIFA2021.

The Research in Film Awards celebrates the best in academic filmmaking. Since 2015, it has inspired researchers across the UK to think more deeply about how they share their work with the wider world. Previous RIFA winners have gone on to win BAFTAs and other awards, been screened at film festivals, or gone on to secure funding and further achievements. Now in its seventh year, RIFA continues to bring cutting-edge arts and humanities research to a public audience through the medium of film.

You can enter your research film in up to five categories:

  • The Best Research Film of the Year
    This category celebrates films that bring new and excellent research to wider attention and that highlight the value and importance of the arts and humanities.
  • The Best Doctoral or Early Career Film of the Year
    This category is for films produced as an output or by-product of doctoral or early career research in the arts and humanities. They showcase new or important ideas, questions and subjects in the field.
  • The Best Climate Emergency Film of the Year (public category)
    This category is our ‘special’ category and for a second year running will focus on the Climate Emergency as the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) will be hosted in Glasgow in November 2021. Films in this category will demonstrate the relevance of the arts and humanities in responding to the climate emergency.
  • The Best Animated Film of the Year
    This category recognises films that use animation to creatively tell stories and explore ideas in arts and humanities research, demonstrating excellent technical ability.
  • The Inspiration Award (public category)
    This category recognises films which have been inspired by the arts and humanities. This could be as a result of attending an arts festival, visiting a museum exhibition, or through books, plays or performances which have helped to fire the imagination.

You can read more about each of the categories in our call guidance (PDF, 312KB).

Find out more

 RED camera

RIFA 2021 winners

Find out who won from 2021.

 A screen in a small cinema

RIFA 2021 shortlist 

We are thrilled to announce this year’s shortlist for the Research in Film Awards (RIFA) 2021.

 Past RIFA winners

Past RIFA Winners

Find out who won from 2015-2020.

 Meet the 2021 judges

Meet the 2021 judges

Each year entries are judged by a prestigious panel of academics, film industry experts and sector leaders. Meet the 2021 panel.


Watch the RIFA 2020 Awards ceremony online

Film maker in action

How to make an award winning film

Hear from TV producer and RIFA judge Steve Evanson about how you can make sure your film is as successful as it can be.

Film maker in action

Listen to our BBC podcast episodes on RIFA

Listen to two BBC podcasts featuring our 2020 winners and 2019 winners as they share their experiences of participating in RIFA.

Download PDF

RIFA 2019 brochure (PDF, 1.7MB)

Find out what happened at RIFA 2019, including an article on Exceptional and fascinating times from Shaminder Nahal, commissioning editor at Channel 4, and more on the AHRC and film.

Download PDF

RIFA magazine (PDF, 3MB)

Our online magazine showcases the winners from the first three years of RIFA, with a feature about the Zimbabwean rapper who won the 2016 Inspiration Award.


Follow us on social media

Follow us on Twitter @ahrcpress and use the hashtag #RIFA2021 to let us know you've entered.