New Project: Consolidating and championing learning from Arts and Humanities research across the GCRF portfolio

A University of Leeds-led project to help consolidate, champion and share learning from Arts and Humanities research being funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) will demonstrate the distinctive contribution that arts and humanities research can make to tackling some of the world’s most pressing development challenges.

Arts and Humanities for Global Development, led by Prof. Stuart Taberner and Prof. Paul Cooke at University of Leeds’ Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Societies, is a new strand of Cooke, Taberner et al.’s existing GCRF Network Plus project, Changing the Story: Building inclusive civil societies with, and for, young people in post-conflict settings, both of which are funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Since the launch of the GCRF in late 2015, the AHRC has taken a lead in fostering innovative approaches to conflict, forced displacement, disease and poor health, environmental degradation and rapid climate change. This work contributes significantly to the interdisciplinarity that defines the success of the GCRF.

From South Africa to the South Asia, from the Caribbean to the Pacific Islands, AHRC researchers are working with local academics, NGOs and international organisations to make a distinctive Arts and Humanities contribution to tackling seemingly intractable development challenges—understanding social, cultural, political and historical contexts; framing equal partnerships and working with communities; and maximising impact through creativity. To date, the AHRC has funded more than 100 awards, including five international Network Plus projects, including Changing the Story.

Arts and Humanities Research for Global Development will identify thematic focal points to draw out synergies across these projects, maximise learning by developing thinking around methodologies and their relevance for the global challenges; make explicit and maximise the focus on empowering partners that is central to many Arts and Humanities GCRF projects, and collate and publicise impacts, to influence policy and practice at scale and make the case for the relevance of Arts and Humanities GCRF research. In addition to working with Arts and Humanities researchers, AHRGD also seeks to engage with other GCRF portfolio researchers working across a range of other disciplines.

Professor Stuart Taberner said: “We’re delighted that the AHRC has been able to support this new GCRF work—by bringing together AHRC-funded GCRF projects and working with our partners in developing countries, we will be able to show how Arts and Humanities research can make a real difference in tackling the global challenges that we all confront”.

Announced by the Government in November 2015, the GCRF is a £1.5 billion fund to support leading research and ensure the UK takes a leading role in global development. By working with world-leading researchers and institutions, the fund aims to help address the complex global issues faced by developing countries. It focuses on challenge-led, multidisciplinary research, providing an agile response to emergencies in need of urgent analysis and strengthening the UK and developing countries’ capability for research.

More information about international funding opportunities can be found here.

Further information

For information or interview requests relating to the University of Leeds project, contact Gareth Dant, Media Relations Manager, 0113 343 3996,

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) supports cutting-edge research and innovation that addresses the global issues faced by developing countries. It harnesses the expertise of the UK’s world-leading researchers, focusing on: funding challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research; strengthening capability for research, innovation and knowledge exchange; and providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research or on-the-ground need. It is a £1.5 billion fund which forms part of the UK Government’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment and is overseen by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and delivered through 17 delivery partners including the Research Councils, the UK Academies, the UK Space Agency and funding bodies.

The 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.

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