Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Inform policies for culture, heritage and the creative industries

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Apply for funding to spend up to 13.5 months working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). You will work alongside, advise and influence policymakers.

You must:

  • be based at an organisation eligible for UKRI funding
  • have a PhD or equivalent experience
  • meet AHRC’s early career researcher status.

You must have expertise in one of the following fellowship areas:

  • international cultural heritage protection and soft power policy
  • digital and international audiences
  • implementing the culture and heritage capital approach
  • media and creative industries environmental sustainability.

The full economic cost of your fellowship will be £135,000. AHRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Who can apply

This opportunity is open to early career researchers who hold a PhD or have equivalent research experience. As well as relevant subject matter or methodological expertise, experience of working in a policy and knowledge exchange context is beneficial.

Please see the full list of specific fellowship opportunities in ‘additional information’.

These include full details on eligibility and other requirements for each fellowship, including security clearance. You must ensure that you are able to meet these requirements when submitting an application.

Person specification

You must:

  • be based at an organisation eligible for UKRI funding
  • hold a PhD or equivalent research experience
  • be an early career researcher
  • meet any additional eligibility criteria for the specific fellowship opportunity you are applying for (see ‘additional information’)
  • have subject matter and analytical expertise and skills relevant to the specific fellowship you are applying for (see ‘additional information’)
  • be able to work effectively at pace to deliver expected outcomes, including working as part of a team on shared goals
  • have excellent written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to translate complex information into meaningful narrative that is accessible to a non-academic audience.

In addition, we welcome applications from individuals who can demonstrate:

  • excellent stakeholder engagement and collaboration skills
  • insight into working in a policy context
  • the ability to design and lead on knowledge exchange activity between research, policy and funder communities.

AHRC defines early career researcher status as at the point of application, you are either:

  • within eight years of the date of successfully completing your PhD viva (or equivalent professional training)
  • within six years of your first academic appointment (where some or all of this period was a paid contract of employment to work part-time, the duration may be adjusted accordingly).

These durations should exclude any period of career break, for example for family care, health reasons or reasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic such as home schooling or increased teaching load. Further information can be found in the AHRC’s research funding guide.

Evidence of how you meet one of these criteria must be provided in the case for support attachment, failure to do so could result in your application being rejected.

DCMS is committed to creating an open, fair and diverse environment for all. Through our diversity and inclusion strategy, our ambition is to be the most diverse and inclusive department in the UK government by 2025. We encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply for this role. We particularly welcome applications from ethnic minority, disabled and underrepresented groups.

Nationality and residence requirements

The opportunities are broadly open to:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with (or eligible for) status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the civil service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the civil service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals.

Read more information on the civil service nationality rules.

Please note that this role may require counter terrorism clearance, which would normally need applicants to have lived in the UK for the last three years. This is not an absolute requirement, but supplementary checks may be needed where individuals have not lived in the UK for that period. This may mean your security clearance (and therefore your appointment) will take longer or, in some cases, not be possible.

Opportunity requirements

All fellows will be required to:

  • sign a secondment agreement between AHRC, DCMS (the partner) and the relevant research organisation (the employer)
  • meet the security checks and other clearance and declaration of interest processes required by DCMS
  • observe the provisions of the civil service code and the Official Secrets Act 1989
  • complete a ‘conflict of interest’ form before being appointed.

It is a condition of the secondment that the secondee ensures to the best of their ability that in the course of their duties for the department or government there will be no conflict of interest or perception of such that will or may cause either embarrassment to, or difficulties for, the employer or the department.

The applicant’s research organisation must:

  • provide mentorship support for early career researchers, including but not limited to generic project development, engagement and dissemination support, and (if necessary) project-specific thematic, methodological or data support (see ‘what we’re looking for’)
  • commit to supporting any additional costs agreed as part of the inception phase and for knowledge exchange activities through an appropriate full economic cost contribution.

What we're looking for

This scheme offers the opportunity to develop your career and enhance your understanding of applying research in policy contexts, through a secondment based with DCMS. It aims to create deeper engagement between academia and policy, and it is expected that the benefits will flow to the wider academic community through fellows’ engagement with their home research organisation, students, and wider research communities.

As an AHRC-DCMS policy fellow you will:

  • provide research and expert advice on the policy priority areas, including co-designing and delivering research projects and activities
  • engage in knowledge exchange (KE) activities across government and academia
  • build longer-term networks across research and policy.

Fellows will be uniquely positioned to build connections between the policymaking and research communities, as well as to generate and share new knowledge and insights on effective policy collaboration with the wider research community.

Scope

DCMS will host four policy fellows to support the department’s work on developing its research and knowledge across culture, heritage, and creative industries.

Fellows will work with policy officials or analysts to lead on research in some of the most pressing areas and challenges facing the cultural, heritage and cultural industries sectors, as identified by the department.

This placement is best suited to researchers who are motivated to inform and influence the department’s policy work. Fellows will contribute towards the department’s key objectives around strengthening its evidence led approach to policy-making, through greater engagement with researchers and the wider academic community, led and supported by the Chief Scientific Adviser’s office.

Fellowships are available in the following areas:

  • international cultural heritage protection and soft power policy (co-hosted with the British Council)
  • digital and international audiences
  • implementing the culture and heritage capital approach
  • media and creative industries environmental sustainability.

For full details about each fellowship available, please see the attachments below in ‘additional information’.

This high-profile initiative provides a route for you to bring your expertise to bear on critical policy challenges, as well as to generate new knowledge about effective collaboration that will shape your career and support wider change.

These fellowships are demanding and intellectually stimulating roles, providing an exciting opportunity to combine your specialist knowledge and research expertise with the opportunity to inform decision-makers at the heart of policymaking.

Each fellowship will last up to 13.5 months to cover a three-month inception phase for set up activity, followed by a six to nine month placement with DCMS (and British Council for the cultural heritage protection and soft power policy fellowship), and concluding with a knowledge exchange and impact phase lasting up to six weeks.

Fellows will co-design projects and activities with DCMS and produce analysis to inform government decision making across a range of policy priorities. The specific focus for each fellowship opportunity is set out in the attachments below (please see ‘additional information’).

If successful, during the inception stage of the fellowship, you will work with DCMS to refine the focus and priorities for your placement. Alongside these specific activities, during your placement you will also engage across DCMS, building effective working relationships and supporting wider knowledge exchange with researchers. This will be supported through your embedded role within DCMS, including line management support.

Fellows will also be supported for an additional period after the main placement for up to six weeks to complete agreed knowledge exchange, publication, and impact activity.

Objectives and expectations of fellows

Fellows will:

  • scope and lead research-related activity with DCMS
  • work closely with DCMS to ensure alignment of priorities and that analysis is as robust and useful as possible in driving decisions
  • provide advice and peer review to other aspects of DCMS’s work
  • support capability building within your area of expertise
  • strengthen engagement between government and academia through activities such as:
    • connect with related UKRI and AHRC research portfolios, acting as a pipeline for knowledge exchange between them and DCMS
    • publish outputs from analysis produced, subject to clearance processes
    •  undertake knowledge exchange activities with academic institutions and other analytical and policy teams within government
  • support DCMS and funders of this opportunity in the evaluation of the fellowship programme and improvement of future schemes.

Benefits for fellows

As a successful fellow, your benefits will include:

  • undertaking cutting edge research, further knowledge and potentially accessing new and novel data
  • the opportunity to inform decision making on the most pressing policy problems of our time
  • developing a deep, broad, and practical understanding of government analysis, operations, policymaking, data usage, and priority areas for research
  • developing the ability to build your network of policy and analytical professionals within government
  • the potential to influence future policy-academia collaborations
  • the opportunity for publication across policy and academia, subject to clearance processes.

During your placement you will have line management and support from DCMS and throughout your fellowship you will also regularly engage with and receive support from AHRC.

In addition, as an early career researcher you will benefit from funded mentorship support from a more senior researcher in your organisation.

Fellowship phases and milestones

Your fellowship award will last up to 13.5 months and cover:

  • inception phase for project set up, three months
  • placement with DCMS, between six and nine months
  • knowledge exchange and impact phase, up to six weeks.

Inception phase

The inception phase will commence in June 2022 and will last for up to three months. This time will be used to co-produce your final fellowship scope with DCMS, other preliminary activity required to support this such as data access and accreditations, and for security clearance.

Your expected time commitment during this period is up to 0.2 full-time equivalent (FTE). During this period, you will remain based at your home institution but will join in-person or virtual inception meetings with DCMS and AHRC as required, subject to COVID-19 restrictions.

Through close collaboration with DCMS, you will:

  • develop full project or activity proposals for your main placement
  • prepare and  submit applications for and receive the necessary level of security clearance (please note that in some cases obtaining security clearance may take longer than the inception period)
  • apply for additional costs up to the value of £10,000 (full economic cost) that are specific to your placement.

Placement with DCMS

All fellows are expected to start the main placement with DCMS (and British Council for the cultural heritage protection and soft power policy fellowship) in September 2022, once the project scope has been agreed and the opportunity requirements met (including security clearance).

We will consider full or part time (0.5 FTE minimum) placements for up to nine months. Further details on time commitments and duration of each placement are included in the specific opportunity descriptions.

The cultural heritage protection and soft power policy fellowship is co-hosted with the British Council and fellows will be based with the British Council for part of their placement (please see ‘additional information’).

Line management and support will be provided by DCMS who will have their specific requirements in regards to place of work (see ‘who can apply).

During this period, you will also be expected to take up opportunities for connection with AHRC.

Location of your fellowship

This role will be based in any one of DCMS’s regional hubs. Hubs are currently based in London and Manchester, with further regional hubs set to be established in the near future. Depending on the team and role, candidates will be expected to adopt a hybrid working pattern, with some attendance at the office, and some home or remote working.

The International Cultural Heritage Protection and Soft Power Policy fellowship is co-hosted with the British Council and therefore travel to both London and Manchester will be required.

In addition, fellows will be expected to undertake knowledge exchange activities which may involve travel. Not all of these activities can be planned in advance of starting the fellowship. By applying to the fellowship, you are acknowledging and agreeing to this possibility of additional travel.

Eligible costs

The AHRC-DCMS Policy Fellowships will provide up to 13.5 months of justified funding with an overall limit of £135,000 (100% full economic cost) per grant. If successful, AHRC will meet 80% of the full economic costs and the host institution is expected to support the remaining 20%.

Applications should be costed in accordance with normal full economic cost rules.

The nature of the scheme means that only the following costs can be requested:

  • salary costs of the fellow
  • salary costs of other staff, in addition to the applicant themselves, only the following justified staff costs are eligible:
    • a small amount of justified administrative support for the fellow, this will require sufficient justification in your justification of resources attachment
    • mentorship support is required (justified costs can be requested to support the mentor’s contribution to the fellowship and should be detailed in your justification of resources attachment)
  • indirect costs (including indirect costs associated with the fellow)
  • travel and subsistence costs related to attending the DCMS office
  • estates costs.

The scheme does not support the undertaking of research, and therefore costs of research assistants and research-related costs cannot be requested. Project students are not eligible for this opportunity.

During the inception phase, once the final focus of the placement is agreed, you will also be able to apply for up to £10,000 (full economic cost) in further funding to support additional placement-specific travel and subsistence costs, placement-specific mentorship or specific training requirements that were not included in your original application.

During the placement phase you will also be able to apply for up to £5,000 (full economic cost) to support activities in the knowledge exchange period.

Guidance on costs is set out in the AHRC’s research funding guide.

Knowledge exchange and impact

After the placement completes, you will return to your home institution, and will be supported for an additional period to maximise knowledge exchange and impact through agreed wider engagement and publication activity. You can apply for funding to cover a period of up to six weeks at up to 0.2 FTE maximum commitment, to undertake this activity.

Your plan for activities for this period will be further defined and agreed with DCMS and AHRC. During the first half of the fellowship you will be able to apply for up to £5,000 (full economic cost) additional funding to support these activities. Further details will be shared with successful applicants.

During this period you will also be expected to take up opportunities for connection with AHRC and other fellows. After your fellowship award completes, you will join an alumni network to support ongoing opportunities for networking and knowledge exchange.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted through the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system by 6 January 2022 at 16:00. They will need to go through the appropriate institution submission process prior to this.

Please make sure you leave sufficient time to create Je-S accounts if you don’t already have one, and that you gain any required approval from your organisation and ensure you submit before the deadline.

We recommend you start your application early. You can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later.

To prepare a proposal form in Je-S, log in to your account and choose ‘documents’ from the menu, then select:

  • ‘create new document’
  • council: AHRC
  • document type: Fellowship Proposal
  • scheme: AHRC Fellowships
  • call, type or mode: AHRC DCMS Policy Fellowships 6 January 2022.

Je-S will then create a proposal form, displaying the relevant section headings. Using the blue question marks and the ‘help’ link at the top of each section will provide guidance relevant to that section of the form.

All investigators named on the Je-S application form must have a Je-S account. Where this doesn’t already exist, it can be easily set up, but please note that it can take a number of days so it is strongly recommended that the process be started well before the application deadline. Je-S accounts can be created on the Je-S site. During account set-up, an account type of ‘an applicant on a fellowship proposal’ must be selected.

Completing your proposal

Within the Je-S proposal document the following sections need to be completed by all applicants.

Project details

Application titles should be prefixed ‘AHRC DCMS Fellowship’ followed by the applicant’s name. The start date must be 1 June 2022 and the duration up to 13.5 months.

Applicants

Enter details of the fellow, their research organisation and department.

Summary

Please copy the following standard text into the summary section of your proposal.

Each fellowship will last up to 13.5 months to cover a three-month inception phase for set up activity, followed by a six to nine month placement with the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS), and concluding with an impact phase lasting up to six weeks.

Fellows will co-design projects and activities with DCMS and produce analysis to inform government decision making across a range of policy priorities. Fellows will also engage across DCMS, building effective working relationships and supporting wider knowledge exchange with researchers. This will be supported through their embedded role within DCMS, including line management support.

Objectives

Please copy the following standard text into the objectives section of your proposal. Do not enter any additional text.

The AHRC-DCMS Policy Fellowships scheme aims to create deeper engagement between academia and policy by offering researchers the opportunity to undertake a secondment at the DCMS.

AHRC-DCMS policy fellows will:

  • provide research and expert advice on the policy priority areas, including co-designing and delivering research projects and activities
  • engage in knowledge exchange (KE) activities across government and academia
  • build longer-term networks across research and policy.

Fellows will be uniquely positioned to build connections between the policymaking and research communities, as well as to generate and share new knowledge and insights on effective policy collaboration with the wider research community.

Academic beneficiaries

Please copy the following standard text into the academic beneficiaries section of your proposal. Do not enter any additional text.

The benefits from the fellowship for the UK research environment will include:

  • opening up new research agendas across disciplines
  • an understanding across UK academia of what impact is and how it is generated
  • higher levels of mutual trust between government and academia that will lead to improved access to the extensive networks of government at home and abroad.

Proposal classifications

Please select up to five subject classifications that provide an indication of your disciplinary research interests, expertise and knowledge.

Staff

Please ask your research or finance office to assist you with completing this section. All staff involved must be included.

‘Directly allocated staff’ are those who will be working directly on the project, but whose involvement on the grant can only be based on an estimate of the time the work will take (for example mentorship costs).

‘Directly incurred staff’ are those whose time on the project is actual, auditable and verifiable (for example administrative support).

As your time commitment will vary depending on the phase of the fellowship you are in, you should include your average FTE in this section. You should then provide your time commitment for each phase of the fellowship within the case for support.

Resources

All resources must be fully justified in the ‘justification of resources’ attachment.

Travel and subsistence

Travel to and from the candidate’s base office will not be funded by DCMS and should therefore be factored into your application. In the application, please base your commuting costs on the location of your preferred hub.

Enter the details of your anticipated travel costs, noting the rules stated in the ‘eligible costs’ section. As well as your anticipated travel costs, please budget for three joint meetings with DCMS and AHRC (to be held in Swindon or London).

Other directly incurred costs

Eligible costs under this heading include any additional costs associated with the requirements of the inception and placement phases of the fellowship.

Please note that successful applicants will be able to apply for additional project related costs identified during their fellowship, up to a maximum value of £15,000 at 100% full economic cost and funded at 80% full economic cost.

This includes costs identified during the inception phase as required for successful completion of the placement phase of the fellowship (for example travel and subsistence costs linked to accessing data and additional project-specific mentorship requirements or specific data training requirements), as well as costs to support knowledge exchange and impact related activity during the placement and impact phases.

Full details on how these costs will be requested and approved will be shared with successful applicants. Therefore, such costs must not be requested at this stage.

Other directly allocated costs

Including support staff salaries and a share of the costs of departmental support staff.

Estates and indirect costs

Enter the estates and indirect costs associated with the fellow. As the fellow will be seconded to DCMS for the duration of the placement phase, this should be taken into consideration when calculating estates and indirect costs.

Attachments

As well as the Je-S application form, the following documents must be submitted, unless it is indicated they are optional:

  • case for support
  • justification of resources
  • applicant CV
  • mentor CV
  • publication list
  • head of department statement.

General guidance on attachments is provided in AHRC’s research funding guide. Any guidance specific to this opportunity is provided below and takes precedence.

You should attach your documents as PDFs to avoid errors. They should be completed in single-spaced Arial 11 font or similar-sized sans serif typeface.

Case for support attachment

Maximum five sides of A4. Please use the following headings to structure your case for support.

Opportunity applied for

In this section please state clearly the name of the fellowship you are applying for.

Motivation in applying for this opportunity

In this section please outline:

  • why you are interested in becoming an AHRC-DCMS policy fellow
  • what you would hope to gain from the opportunity
  • how you see it fitting into your long-term research career.
Expertise relevant to the specific opportunity

In this section please outline your particular expertise in and experience relevant to what is listed as required for the specific opportunity you are applying for.

Communicating complex information and analysis

In this section please outline your experience and insights on translating complex information and analysis into meaningful narrative for a non-academic audience, verbally and in writing. For example:

  • public policy engagement within or outside government and politics
  • provision of expertise to non-academic users
  • writing reports or giving presentations for the third sector.

The examples given are purely for illustrative purposes and are non-exhaustive.

Using expertise in a non-academic context

In this section please outline your experience and insights on using your expertise in a non-academic setting, including the challenges and opportunities of co-production and collaboration between research and non-academic partners (for example public policy, third sector and business).

Applicants are additionally invited to share their understanding of the analytical needs of the specific opportunity host and how research expertise may be relevant to these.

Designing and leading knowledge exchange activity

In this section please briefly outline:

  • your experience or insights into the challenges of effective knowledge exchange between research, policy and funder communities
  • your initial ideas for how to address the fellowship’s objectives through knowledge exchange activity during the placement and impact phases
  • your initial thinking on how you would approach refining and prioritising knowledge exchange opportunities during the first half of your placement.
Early career researcher status and mentorship

Please provide a description of how you meet AHRC’s criteria for early career researcher status. It is a requirement that early career applicants are provided with appropriate mentorship by a more senior academic with relevant experience from within their institutions.

In this section the mentor should be identified and mentorship arrangements summarised, including support towards generic fellowship development, engagement and dissemination activity.

A CV should also be attached for any mentor included on the proposal.

Applicants are asked to note that mentors are not subject to government security clearance and will not be able to access all resources and documents available to the fellow.

Justification of resources attachment

Maximum two sides of A4. Please provide a justification for costs requested to undertake the fellowship.

Applicant CV attachment

A CV (maximum two sides of A4) must be provided for the applicant.

Mentor CV attachment

A CV (maximum two sides of A4) must be provided for the applicant’s proposed mentor.

Publications list

A summary list of publications (maximum one side of A4) must be provided for the applicant.

Head of department statement attachment

The head of department at the host research organisation must complete a statement in support of the proposal of no more than one side of A4. This statement must be on headed paper, signed and dated within the period that the opportunity is open.

The statement should:

  • confirm that the applicant would be accepted into the department for the purpose of undertaking the fellowship (if the applicant is not currently hosted at the research organisation)
  • explain how the proposed fellowship would fit in with the department’s wider research programme
  • confirm commitment to provide (if applicable) appropriate mentorship support for early career researcher applicants, including but not limited to generic project development, engagement and dissemination support.

How we will assess your application

Assessment will have two stages. All applications will be assessed and shortlisted by a panel of academic and non-academic experts. A shortlist of applicants will be invited to attend an interview with expert panel members.

Interviews are expected to take place in April 2022 via an online communications platform. When the opportunity closes, all applicants will be informed of the final interview dates and when we expect to inform you if you have been shortlisted. We expect the funding decision will be communicated in early May 2022.

The panel will assess the quality of your written application and your interview performance against the following criteria:

  • understanding of the analytical needs of DCMS and ability to grasp and respond to these effectively at pace
  • subject matter or methodological expertise relevant to the requirements of the specific fellowship
  • the ability to translate complex information and analysis into meaningful narrative for a non-academic audience, verbally and in writing
  • an understanding of the challenges and opportunities of co-production and collaboration including with non-academics
  • the ability to design and lead activity that supports effective knowledge exchange between research, policy and funder communities
  • value for money across all budget areas requested, including where relevant for wider institutional mentorship and support.

Contact details

Ask a question about this opportunity

Email

enquiries@ahrc.ukri.org

Get help with applying through Je-S

Email

jeshelp@je-s.ukri.org

Telephone

01793 444164

Opening times

Je-S helpdesk opening times

Additional info

Fellowship description documents

International cultural heritage protection and soft power policy fellowship (PDF, 202KB)

Evaluate and evidence the role of cultural heritage protection within an international context.

Digital and international audiences fellowship (PDF, 183KB)

Explore how the UK’s arts and culture sector has adopted digital practices to reach international audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Implementing the culture and heritage capital approach fellowship (PDF, 178KB)

Opportunity to influence how the value of culture and heritage is articulated and embedded in decision making.

Media and creative industries environmental sustainability fellowship (PDF, 178KB)

Opportunity to develop the evidence base and understanding of the environmental impacts of the creative industries.

Webinar

We will be running a webinar for applicants on Monday 29 November 2021 at 11:00 GMT. This will be an opportunity for potential applicants to hear more about the scope of the policy fellowships and to ask questions.

Please register for this webinar by Friday 26 November 2021.

We would be grateful if questions could be submitted in advance to enquiries@ahrc.ukri.org.

About DCMS

DCMS works on some of the most exciting, positive, and important policies for the future of the UK. The department drives growth and enriches lives and at this moment in time its role is more important than ever. It supports the fastest growing and most innovative sectors of our economy such as digital and tech, media and creative.

Much of our work involves the things that people up and down the country love, that bring happiness. Our work also helps strengthen communities and ‘level up’ access to opportunities, from supporting the voluntary and community sector to greater participation in sport, culture and creativity.

Outputs and reporting

You will be expected to produce outputs for academic and non-academic audiences based on your work as agreed during the inception phase.

DCMS are committed to supporting opportunities for fellows to publish as part of this fellowship, but please note that in some cases published outputs will be subject to clearance.

In addition to standard AHRC reporting requirements, you may also be asked to submit additional information to support wider AHRC strategic objectives and scheme evaluation.

Terms and conditions

This guidance, and these terms, constitute the rules of the scheme.

AHRC reserves the right to alter or amend any of these rules or cancel the funding opportunity at any time in their absolute discretion.

Your participation and your data

Your offer to participate in this funding opportunity is subject to continued acceptance of these conditions. By applying to the funding opportunity, you accept these rules and guidance.

You must supply full details as required and comply with all rules of the funding opportunity.

You recognise that your application and personal data will be shared with AHRC and DCMS for the purpose of administering this funding opportunity. You should also note that if we identify a need to do so we may contact you at a later date for more information about you.

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