Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: International fellowships for doctoral and early career researchers

Start application

Apply for a fellowship at an international institution.

You must be either:

  • a PhD student currently funded by AHRC (or ESRC for specific opportunities)
  • an early career researcher based at a UK research organisation eligible for AHRC funding

Fellowships are available at:

  • Harry Ransom Center, Texas, US
  • Huntington Library, California, US
  • Library of Congress, Washington DC, US
  • National Institutes for the Humanities, Japan
  • Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, US

You will receive £1,000 for travel and visa costs and £1,925 for each month of the fellowship.

Fellowships last between 2 and 6 months.

Who can apply

This opportunity is open to:

  • PhD students currently funded by AHRC (or ESRC for Library of Congress applicants)
  • early career researchers (ECRs) in any arts or humanities subject

AHRC applicants must apply to undertake primary research in an AHRC subject area for all hosts.

ESRC-funded PhD students are only eligible to apply to Library of Congress and as such must be applying to undertake primary research in an ESRC subject area.

AHRC applicants can apply for a fellowship at more than 1 institution in a single round, noting that separate applications will need to be submitted. However, dates and applications must:

  • be for separate and distinct research work packages
  • not overlap
  • not be interdependent

You can only hold an International Placement Scheme (IPS) fellowship at the same institution once in each stage of your career, for example once as a student and once as an ECR.

All placements must take place in 1 continuous block of time.

Deferred entry applications are not permitted. Equally, if your application is successful but you cannot undertake your placement, you must reapply the following year unless your delay is caused by COVID-19.

Before applying, you must secure the approval of your UK research organisation and supervisor (for PhD students) or head of department (ECRs and research assistants) to attend the placement in full, should the application be successful.

Individual eligibility for PhD students

AHRC-funded doctoral students can apply to any host organisation. ESRC-funded doctoral students can only apply to Library of Congress.

Placements must be undertaken during the funded period of your doctoral award.

PhD students must include their AHRC or ESRC doctoral training grant reference in the application form.

Because these fellowships are intended to enrich and form part of the period of doctoral study, no additional time will be added to the doctoral award end date.

Individual eligibility for ECRs and doctoral level research assistants

If you are an ECR or doctoral level research assistant your research must fall within AHRC’s subject remit. ESRC ECRs and research assistants are not eligible to apply.

At the point of application, you must have a contract with a UK research organisation that extends beyond the end date of the IPS fellowship, and be either within:

  • 8 years of the award of your PhD or equivalent professional training
  • 6 years of your first academic appointment

These durations should exclude any period of career break such as family care, health reasons or reasons consequences of COVID-19 like home schooling or increased teaching load. Where some or all of this period was a paid contract of employment to work part-time, the duration may be adjusted accordingly. See AHRC’s research funding guide for further information on the eligibility criteria for early career researchers.

Doctoral level research assistants are eligible. You must:

  • be of postdoctoral standing, having either a PhD qualification or equivalent research experience
  • have a contract with a UK research organisation at the time of application that extends beyond the end date of the IPS fellowship

You will be asked to provide evidence of how you meet the eligibility criteria. Failure to do so could result in your application being rejected. Where previous AHRC or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding has been held, ECRs and research assistants must include their previous grant reference in the application form.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We invite applications from eligible doctoral students, and early career researchers in any arts and humanities discipline (and doctoral students in the social sciences for the Library of Congress) and from all regions and nations of the UK.

We are committed to promoting the values of equality of opportunity, diversity, and inclusivity. A dynamic, diverse and inclusive research and innovation system must be an integral part of UK society, giving everyone the opportunity to participate and to benefit. Therefore, we particularly encourage applications from people who:

  • identify as an ethnic minority
  • have health conditions or impairments
  • diverse gender identities and expressions
  • identify with other groups who are currently underrepresented

Disabled applicants may request an appropriate amount of additional funding where this is essential to taking up the fellowship and where it cannot be provided by routes such as the UKRI disabled students allowance (PDF, 170KB). Applicants requiring this additional support should contact AHRC for further guidance and to discuss how to reflect this request within the application form.

Applications to UKRI through the new Funding Service can only be made if you have completed our EDI survey, which you are prompted to do when you open an account. However, diversity information will never be used in the assessment process nor to make funding decisions.

Host-specific eligibility

Applicants to National Institute for the Humanities (NIHU) looking to work with the following collections, are required to speak and understand Japanese to an advanced level:

  • National Institute of Japanese Literature (NIJL)
  • National Museum of Japanese History (NMJH)
  • (depending on the research field) International Research Center for Japanese Studies (IRCJS)

For all other NIHU institutes, a knowledge of basic (conversational) Japanese is useful, but not compulsory.

If you are applying to the Smithsonian Institution you must select, and approach a contact, at the institution in advance of submitting your application.

This contact will act as an adviser should the respective application be successful.

Please use the 2022 Smithsonian opportunities for research and study guide in order to contact an appropriate Smithsonian academic or staff member.

What we're looking for

We’re looking to fund eligible PhD students and early career researchers to complete a research fellowship at an international institution for 2 to 6 months.

The International Placement Scheme (IPS) provides early career researchers, and AHRC-funded and ESRC-funded doctoral students, with inclusive and dedicated access to the internationally renowned collections, programmes and expertise held at IPS host institutions.

The scheme aims to enhance the depth, range, diversity and quality of research activities conducted by scholars, including research exploring under-represented and under-researched cultures and histories.

IPS provides unique opportunities for networking with other international scholars based at these world-renowned institutions and can have a transformational impact on personal development and career progression.

The IPS host institutions for this round are:

  • Harry Ransom Center, US
  • Huntington Library, US
  • Library of Congress, US
  • National Institutes for the Humanities, Japan
  • Smithsonian Institution, US

Your fellowship must be based on your area of current research (including your doctoral research if you are a PhD student). The proposed research activities and outputs from your fellowship should complement, strengthen, or build on your current area of research. You will need to propose a distinct package of research in your application and explain how this project relates to both your current research and the collections and expertise of your prospective host institution.

Full details of the documentation required can be found in ‘How to apply’, and the assessment criteria for applications to this scheme are available under ‘How we will assess your application’.

Number of fellowships available

The number of fellowships AHRC expects to award at each host can be found in the table below, as well as the eligible period for undertaking a placement.

Available fellowships
Host Number of awards available Window for fellowships to take place (indicative) Fellowship duration
Harry Ransom Center 7 1 September 2023 to 31 May 2024 2 to 3 months
Huntington Library 10 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024 3 to 6 months
Library of Congress 25  1 October 2023 to 30 September 2024 3 to 6 months
National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU) 11 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024 3 to 6 months
Smithsonian Institution 5  1 October 2023 to 30 September 2024 3 to 6 months

Applicants to NIHU should select the most appropriate institute for their research. A list of institutes and websites can be found in the ‘Contacts’ section.

Funding available

The following should be noted with regards to costs and the application process:

  • all IPS placements will be for 2 to 6 months, and the total awarded will be a £1,000 one-off stipend for travel and visa costs (£1,200 for applicants to NIHU) and a living stipend of £1,925 for each month of the fellowship
  • limited additional support may be agreed by AHRC on a case-by-case basis for applicants with disabilities, in order to support inclusive and accessible participation
  • the funding will be paid directly to the submitting UK research organisation at 100% full economic cost. It is a condition of the award that the research organisation pays funds to fellows in full, in advance of the placement. This will allow flights and accommodation to be booked by the fellow in advance of their placement. The research organisation will then recoup the funds when these are paid to them by AHRC
  • IPS fellows will continue to receive any stipend or salary they receive as part of any current AHRC or ESRC award funding. No additional time will be added to the AHRC or ESRC award end date or submission date to account for time spent on their placement
  • you should discuss your work plan with your supervisor (if a PhD student) or head of department (if an early career researcher or research assistant) and the IPS host institution to ensure your proposed research can be completed within a realistic timescale and will appropriately feed into your current research or any AHRC parent project
  • there is no cap on the number of applications that can be submitted by a UK research organisation

COVID-19

We recognise that there continue to be uncertainties relating to international travel as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the point of application, we advise applicants to this scheme to plan their fellowship in accordance with current travel guidance and the timings most suited to their research.

In the event of future travel restrictions or lockdowns, AHRC will support fellows and work with the host institutions to reschedule placements. For doctoral students, rescheduled dates will still need to take place before the end date of their doctoral award.

Successful applicants will be expected to comply with any relevant UK international travel guidance and with any COVID-19 safety requirements within host countries and partner organisations (such as vaccination or testing) applicable at the time of the placement.

How to apply

Preparing your application

You must identify and research the institutions’ collections, fully familiarising yourself with them and how they are relevant to your own research. Please visit the institutions’ individual websites as a starting point to investigate the collections and inform your choice:

Once this initial step is completed, you can proceed to directly contact the relevant International Placement Scheme (IPS) institution to discuss your potential application and for information about the collections.

For NIHU and the Smithsonian Institution, you must contact the institution before applying.

For Harry Ransom Center, Huntington Library and Library of Congress, contact is not mandatory but you may contact the host institutions if desired.

Any contact should be made as soon as possible before the application deadline. Contact details can be found in the ‘Contact’ section.

This IPS opportunity is being run as a single pilot application on the new UK Research and Innovation Funding Service. Please read the ‘links to supplementary information’ section before you apply.

Research office professionals

If an application is created by a member of an organisation where we do not currently have contact details with their research office, we will contact them to enable administrator access. This provides:

  • oversight of every funding service application opened on behalf of your organisation
  • the ability to review and submit applications, which must be received by 4pm 21 February 2023

If you anticipate researchers from your organisation apply for this opportunity but have not yet received an invitation to open an account, email support@funding-service.ukri.org

As an administrator, you will be responsible for the final submission of the application to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and ensuring internal deadlines are made clear to applicants from your organisation. To hear more about the role of administrators, and the current functionality of the new funding service and how it will further develop, please see a recording of the most recent research office webinar.

If a student’s PhD is funded through a consortium of research organisations, the application should be submitted by the student’s home research organisation rather than the consortia lead research organisation.

Applicants

What follows is the essence of the sections and questions you will need to complete and answer on the UKRI Funding Service. You cannot apply for this funding opportunity on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

To create an application, you will need to take the following steps:

  1. Select the ‘Start application’ button at the start of this page.
  2. This will open the ‘Sign in’ page of UKRI’s Funding Service. If you do not already have an account, you’ll be able to create one. This is a 2-minute process requiring you to verify your email address and set a password.
  3. Start answering the questions detailed in the ‘How to apply’ section. You can save your work and come back to it later. You can also work ‘offline’, copying and pasting into the text boxes provided for your answers.
  4. Once complete, use the service to send your application to your research office for review. They’ll check it and return it to you if it needs editing.
  5. Once happy, your research office will submit it to UKRI for assessment. Only they can do this.

In the ‘Applicants’ section, PhD applicants must give the role of principal investigator to their supervisor and select the role of co-applicant for their self. Early career researcher applicants simply choose principal investigator as their role.

Make sure you get any necessary approval from your organisation in advance and give your research office plenty of time before the closing date.

AHRC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your funding service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely.

For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

Details and summary

Project details

If you are a PhD applicant assign yourself as co-applicant and, enter the name, job title and position of your supervisor and ensure you allocate them the role of principal investigator in the ‘Applicants’ section that follows this. If you are an early career researcher, assign yourself the role of principal investigator. No further applicant roles are necessary for you.

Then provide the following details about your proposed International Placement Scheme (IPS) project:

  • title: prefix what you are calling your IPS research project with your chosen host institution, for example: ‘Harry Ransom Center – Investigating the works and revisions of Jane Smith’
  • dates: with reference to the specific guidance for permissible dates, detailed on the funding finder, specify your intended start date and duration of your study period

Summary

In plain English, provide a summary of your proposed fellowship that can be sent to your intended host organisation to determine if they think you are a good fit.

This summary may be made publicly available on external facing websites, so please ensure it can be understood by a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion formers
  • policymakers
  • the general public
  • the wider research community

Your summary must include:

  • the name of the IPS host you aspire to study at (remember, if you are an ESRC applicant you can only apply for the Library of Congress)
  • a summary of the research you propose to conduct during your IPS fellowship, indicating how it relates to your current research

Be explicit about what it is that attracts you about your intended host and their facilities or collections. Also make a case for why you would be a good fit for them.

Word count: 250

Applicants

List the key members of your team and assign them roles, for example:

  • principal investigator
  • co-investigator

You must assign only 1 principal investigator unless defined otherwise in the opportunity specification. If you are applying for a fellowship, you must assign yourself the role of ‘fellow’.

The UKRI Funding Service does not list ‘researcher co-investigator’ as a role. Instead, select ‘researcher’ for team members carrying out this role.

Details about you

Question: provide details about your eligibility status

What the assessors are looking for in your response

With specific reference to the guidance in the ‘Who can apply’ section provide the following details:

  • if you are a PhD student, provide the title of your PhD and the grant reference number for your current AHRC (beginning AH) or ESRC award (beginning ES). If that award is part of an institutional block grant or consortia grant, for example: BGP, DTP, DTC, CDA or CDP, we require that grant reference number. If you are unsure of your grant reference number, you must contact your research organisation
  • if you are an early career researcher or research assistant, state how you meet the eligibility criteria as described in the ‘Who can apply’ section
  • how you meet any additional host-specific eligibility as described in the ‘Who can apply’ section

Word count: 250

About your research

Question: provide details about your current research

What the assessors are looking for in your response

You should provide:

  • a brief summary of your current research, including what you have undertaken to date
  • a timeline for the completion of any current research projects, showing the stage you are at now and the stage at which the IPS fellowship would take place (you may include a table if it helps)
  • if you have applied to the scheme previously, provide the reference number for any previous applications

Word count: 400

About your experience and skills

Question: detail your most recent experience and why you think you are right for this opportunity

What the assessors are looking for in your response

You should demonstrate your ability to successfully deliver your proposed research, providing the following details:

  • a summary of your most recent research experience, including any AHRC or ESRC funded grants
  • how you have the necessary skills, for example language proficiency, required to undertake the proposed research

Word count: 250

About your application: AHRC applicants

Question: explain why we should support you studying at your chosen institution

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Only answer this if you are an AHRC applicant. If you are an ESRC applicant, enter ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move to the next one.

Please describe:

  • why the institution you are applying to study at is right for you, including the relevance of the particular collections or resources you are aiming to use
  • how access to these collections or expertise would add value or relevance to your current and future research
  • a breakdown of how the time spent there would be used
  • if the intended research is to be practice-led, how practice is an integral part of the project
  • if applicable, how your research may be of value to the institution
  • if the fellowship could provide personal development opportunities, other than those arising directly from your research

Word count: 750

About your application: ESRC applicants

Question: explain why we should support you studying at the Library of Congress

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Only answer this if you are an ESRC applicant. AHRC applicants should enter ‘N/A’ into the text box, mark this section as complete and move to the next one.

Please describe:

  • why studying at the Library of Congress is right for you, including the particular collections or resources you are aiming to use
  • how access to these collections or expertise would add value or relevance to your current and future research
  • a breakdown of how the time spent there would be used
  • if the intended research is to be practice-led, how practice is an integral part of the project
  • if applicable, how your research may be of value to the institution
  • if the fellowship could provide personal development opportunities, other than those arising directly from your research

Word count: 750

PhD applicant: supervising staff reference

Question: if you are a PhD applicant, ask your supervisor to provide a statement of support. If you are an early career researcher applicant please type ‘N/A’.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

You should write the name of your supervisor’s institution followed by their name. The supervisor should be listed as a principal investigator on the application.

Then underneath paste in your supervisor’s supporting statement, including:

  • an account of how the proposed research and time spent at the IPS institution will add value to your current and on-going work
  • an account of how, if applicable, your research may be of value to the IPS institution
  • confirmation that you have the necessary skills (like relevant language proficiency) to exploit the available resources effectively
  • their opinion as to whether the chosen IPS institution is the most appropriate institution for you to conduct your research
  • assurance that the time spent on the IPS will not result in extra time being required to complete the current research funded by AHRC or ESRC
  • detail of the supervisory arrangements that will be in place whilst you are undertaking your research during this placement

Word count: 400

ECR applicant: letter of support

Upload a single PDF containing a letter or email of support from your head of department

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Ensure your head of department provides:

  • an account of how the proposed research and time spent at the IPS institution will add value to your current and on-going work
  • an account of how, if applicable, your research may be of value to the IPS institution
  • confirmation that you have the necessary skills (like relevant language proficiency) to exploit the available resources effectively
  • an opinion as to whether the chosen IPS institution is the most appropriate institution for you to conduct their research
  • assurance that the time spent on the IPS will not result in extra time being required to complete any current research funded by AHRC

Word count: 400

Huntington Library applicant: letter of support

Upload a single PDF containing a letter or email of support from an appropriate academic referee for example supervisor, mentor or head of department. If you are not a Huntington Library applicant, please type ‘N/A’.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Ensure your referee provides:

  • an account of how the proposed research and time spent at the IPS institution will add value to your current and on-going work
  • an account of how, if applicable, your research may be of value to the IPS institution
  • confirmation that you have the necessary skills (like relevant language proficiency) to exploit the available resources effectively
  • an opinion as to whether the Huntington Library is the most appropriate institution for you to conduct your research
  • assurance that the time spent on the IPS will not result in extra time being required to complete any current research funded by AHRC

Word count: 400

Once you have completed all sections, the service will require you to send your application to your research office for checking and submission.

How we will assess your application

Assessment Criteria

During the assessment process, the following criteria will be considered:

  • the extent to which the proposed research fits the collections identified in the application
  • the extent to which the fellowship and collections to be consulted would ‘add value’ to their research (especially if the collections are unique or rare), you may suggest how your fellowship may be of value to the International Placement Scheme (IPS) institution
  • the extent to which the fellowship would be an effective use of the applicant’s time (you must include a proposed timetable of activities)
  • the extent to which the application identifies personal development opportunities through networking with other research scholars (this might include the presentation of ongoing work or immediate or longer-term collaborative opportunities)
  • where appropriate, you must demonstrate that have the necessary expertise required to undertake the proposed research, for example, language proficiency if wishes to research works written or spoken in a language other than English

Assessment process

All applications will be checked for eligibility after the funding opportunity closes. Applications that do not meet the eligibility requirements of this opportunity will be rejected prior to the review stage.

Eligible applications will be shared with the respective placement institutions and will be reviewed by their relevant experts. Scores and comments from these reviews will then be moderated by AHRC and ESRC.

Outcomes

Funding decisions will be communicated to the application author and their research office by email.

The email will provide further information about their placement and will request confirmation of the start and end dates of each placement.

Contact details

Ask a question about this opportunity or get help with applying through the Funding Service

For queries about this opportunity, such as eligible activities and costs or remit of the opportunity, please contact the UKRI helpdesk.

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org

Telephone: 01793 547490

Opening time: Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5pm and Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

For questions relating to the host institutions (for example about collections or accommodation), a list of appropriate contacts at each placement institution who can be contacted to discuss the application is below.

Harry Ransom Center

Please consult the collections page for information on collections at the Harry Ransom Center.

For additional information please contact: ransomfellowships@utexas.edu

Huntington Library

Please consult the library collections page for information on collections at the Huntington Library.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact curators with questions related to the collections. Curatorial contacts are listed on the staff directory page.

Contact details for other queries

Vanessa Wilkie, William A. Moffett Curator of Medieval Manuscripts and British History

Email: vwilkie@huntington.org

Natalie Serrano, Fellowships and Institutes Administrator

Email: nserrano@huntington.org

Library of Congress

Travis Hensley, Program Manager, The John W. Kluge Center

Email: then@loc.gov

Travis will direct you to the appropriate individual.

Smithsonian Institution

From the Smithsonian website, please select a name by clicking into the 2022 SORS and searching for the appropriate individual. If successful, the selected individual will act as advisor during your time at Smithsonian.

As such, you must include the name and department of your advisor when submitting their application form to AHRC. When contacting the Smithsonian, please use this email template (PDF, 118KB).

National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU)

Research Institute for Humanity and Nature

International Affairs Subsection

Email: kokusai@chikyu.ac.jp

Research Institute for Humanity and Nature website

International Research Center for Japanese Studies

International Research Promotion Unit

Email: koryu@nichibun.ac.jp

International Research Center for Japanese Studies website

National Museum of Ethnology

International Cooperation Unit

Email: kokkyo@minpaku.ac.jp

National Museum of Ethnology website

National Museum of Japanese History

International Exchange Section Department

Email: kokusai-e@ml.rekihaku.ac.jp

National Museum of Japanese History website

National Institute of Japanese Literature

General Affairs Division

Email: study-ml@nijl.ac.jp

National Institute of Japanese Literature website

National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics

Research Promotion Division

Email: suishinka@ninjal.ac.jp

National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics website

Get help with applying through the Funding Service

For any queries or difficulties including creating an account, signing in, or any other help with the Funding Service, please contact the support team.

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org

Additional info

Attend a webinar

This opportunity is being supported by 2 webinars, which will be held in January and February 2023. Once dates have been confirmed, this page will be updated with details on how to register for the webinars.

Successful applications

Once outcomes are issued, successful applicants will have 10 working days to confirm their start and end dates. Failure to do so will result in AHRC using the dates originally selected in the application. Beyond this, applicants will be required to contact the host institution directly to discuss the feasibility of any changes before contacting AHRC to approve and process any changes.

Around 30 days from the first successful notification, the UK research organisation responsible for submitting the application will receive an official offer document from AHRC confirming the dates and funding amount. This should be sent on to the successful applicant.

Finally, the applicant will receive documentation from their placement institution. Further details of this will be provided if their application is successful.

If successful, International Placement Scheme (IPS) fellows are responsible for booking travel and accommodation (including any travel insurance) and securing appropriate visa arrangements. Local accommodation is available close to each host institution. Further information regarding accommodation options will be provided if you are successful.

The offer letter issued by AHRC and the paperwork from individual placement institutions will be sufficient to support a visa application, and the UK research organisation may be able to offer support for this process. Successful applicants are advised to start the visa application process as early as possible, and to be aware that there is a short turnaround time between outcomes being issued and the earliest possible placement start dates.

Reporting outputs and impacts

All recipients of research council funding are required to enter the details of their outputs and impacts through the Researchfish system. Students are only required to enter details in Researchfish from the third year of their PhD onwards.

Early career researchers are required to enter details from the first year of their main research grant. Invitation emails will be sent to award holders at the point at which they are required to start using Researchfish. More details regarding Researchfish are available on the UKRI website.

For further information on supporting training awards please see:

This is the integrated website of the seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
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