Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Research partnerships with indigenous researchers

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Apply for funding to allow for equitable collaboration between indigenous and non-indigenous researchers and communities.

You must be based at an organisation eligible for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding.

Proposals can focus on a number of themes, including:

  • gender, inequalities and rights
  • languages
  • community and civic discourse
  • intergenerational justice
  • climate and food security.

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £350,000. AHRC will fund:

  • UK applications at 80%
  • international costs at 100%.

Funding is available for 30 to 36 months. Projects must start 1 February 2023.

Who can apply

Eligible organisations are:

  • UK higher education institutions
  • research council institutes
  • UKRI-approved independent research organisations (IROs).

Check if you are eligible for research and innovation funding.

If your organisation is not on that list, you are not eligible to apply, however, you are eligible to act as a project partner or subcontractor.

IROs and research council institutes can also act as project partners provided that they are not an organisation at which the principal investigator or co-investigators are based.

Read AHRC’s research funding guide for further information on eligibility. Any exceptions or additional eligibility requirements for this opportunity can be found below.

Co-investigator requirement

All applications must include the involvement of at least one co-investigator from an indigenous community named on the application.

Defining peoples or groups as indigenous is not straightforward, particularly in relation to who makes the definition and for what purpose. We will therefore not be using a rigid, ‘one-size fits all’ approach.

A key insight and challenge highlighted by those involved in the previous scoping work of this programme regards the limitations of ‘indigenous’ as a category.

They posed that whilst there is a need for a definition that is wide enough to include global dimensions, the term is complex and political. It was discussed that in many cases ‘indigenous’ can provide a broad guide, but there are problems with universality.

Broadly, indigenous communities are found in all areas of the world and can generally be understood to include some (but not necessarily all) of the following characteristics:

  • they self-identify as indigenous people both individually and collectively
  • communities that predate colonial or settler societies (‘first nations’)
  • are not ethnically the dominant group within a society
  • have retained strong historical links to traditions, territories and languages that predate colonisation
  • possess beliefs or socio-economic systems in parallel to ‘mainstream’ colonial or settler power structures and systems, even though they may have incorporated or appropriated aspects of colonial or settler societies
  • have a commitment to maintaining and recreating traditions, cultures, heritage, language and so forth as a distinct community.

Recognising the need for diversity and hesitation in our use of the term ‘indigenous’ between and within different groups of peoples and communities, you should clearly demonstrate why the form of collaboration and partnership outlined and co-investigators included are appropriate and justified for the specific contexts of which they are working in.

Equally, you should demonstrate that the co-investigators included have the appropriate expertise, skills and experience to conduct the research activity proposed.

International co-investigator eligibility

With the aim of easing barriers to collaboration and partnership between indigenous and non-indigenous researchers and communities, for this funding opportunity there is increased flexibility applied to the standard AHRC eligibility criteria for international co-investigators as set out in section two of the AHRC research funding guide.

As opposed to the standard eligibility guidance, it is not a requirement that co-investigators be “based at an established research organisation with significant research capacity of comparable status and standing to a UK organisation which is eligible for UK research council funding”.

However, applications should clearly demonstrate that the co-investigator(s) be contracted to an organisation or institution that has the capacity (whilst acknowledging that ‘research capacity’ can present differently in different contexts) to support the co-investigator in carrying out the research activity proposed (which should be evidenced within the international co-investigator head of department statement).

A number of indicators of capacity will be used to assess eligibility of the co-investigator’s organisations including, but not limited to, track record of research production, organisation size and budget, number of staff and receipt of state funding.

Not all of these criteria must be met for a co-investigator to be eligible.

It is the responsibility of the lead UK research organisation (RO) to ensure that an international co-investigator’s organisation is an appropriate organisation to receive funds and has systems in place to manage the funding provided. Ensuring that they also have the capacity to be able to sufficiently support the co-investigator in their proposed research activity throughout the lifetime of the award (including issues of governance, control, safeguarding, financial stability and ability to deliver).

The lead UK RO will also need assurance that appropriate agreements are put in place for the delivery of the overseas activities funded under the grant.

It is expected that should an application be successful, a contractual relationship or collaboration agreement will be put in place between the lead UK RO and the co-investigator’s organisation and that the lead RO will deploy their own due diligence and risk management processes and policies.

The Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing (ABS)

We ask that any application with reference to food systems and security follow the Nagoya Protocol. This is a framework for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.

What we're looking for

This funding opportunity aims to allow for equitable collaboration between indigenous and non-indigenous researchers and communities.

Proposals must be collaborative and co-designed with indigenous researchers and practitioners, with a view to the co-production of the research:

  • aims
  • objectives
  • methodologies
  • outputs
  • impacts.

It is anticipated that project teams will actively engage with, co-produce and deploy indigenous research methodologies appropriate to the contexts of which they are working within.

Scope

Like AHRC’s standard research grants scheme, this funding opportunity embodies a broad scope and remit.

Prospective projects can concern and involve collaboration with researchers in any country or countries.

Proposals can be rooted in any arts and humanities discipline or subject remit, or combination thereof. Interdisciplinary applications are welcomed under this funding opportunity. However, proposals must be majority rooted within the remit of AHRC.

Further details of the subjects that fall within AHRC’s remit can be found in AHRC’s research funding guide.

To find out more about areas we fund, read AHRC’s remit, programmes and priorities.

Proposals will be deemed ineligible if they largely lie outside AHRC’s remit.

The previous scoping and exploratory work conducted under this programme and others to date has identified a number of themes, issues, challenges and research questions.

Potential areas of research interest that might be explored under this indigenous and non-indigenous collaboration opportunity are outlined below. This is not an exhaustive list.

Gender, wider inequalities and rights

Often the current literature refers to indigenous peoples as a homogeneous category, glossing over differences in:

  • age
  • gender
  • social status
  • education
  • location
  • urban or rural areas.

Research questions could include:

  • how do we avoid the risk of homogenising indigenous communities and thus concealing internal diversity?
  • how can indigenous knowledge provide a new lense for how we see inequalities and rights?

Languages

The challenges that languages can bring to research have been highlighted in scoping studies, including a lack of reflection in the literature about:

  • which languages were used
  • whether interpreters were present
  • the potential effects of these variables on the research process.

Alternatively, there are opportunities for retranslation and re-contextualisation of knowledge produced about indigenous people from a western template. Research questions focusing on supporting endangered indigenous languages are encouraged.

Intergenerational justice

AHRC’s vision statement commits us to create new levels of sophistication in debate on intergenerational justice.

Research questions could include:

  • how can indigenous knowledge help us understand intergenerational trauma, inequity and reconciliation?
  • how can indigenous ways of seeing encourage intergenerational justice?

Community and civic discourse

Proposals could explore how indigenous communities are engaged in and develop research.

Research questions could include:

  • relationships between indigenous communities and migration, both international and intranational
  • communities in urban contexts and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on indigenous communities, particularly ways in which these have been affected differently from non-Indigenous communities.

Climate justice and food security

Explore the disproportionate impact of climate change, driven by the actions of developed nations on the rest of the world and on indigenous peoples in particular.

Research questions could include:

  • how can we develop more effective, ethical, sustainable and contextually-driven food systems, encompassing production (agriculture and aquaculture), processing, transport, consumption, and disposal?
  • how can indigenous knowledge and understanding be used to transform established ways of understanding our relationship with nature and food?

These example themes are non-exhaustive and interrelated. For example, an investigation of climate justice may also require an understanding of community dynamics.

Given the broad scope of this opportunity, applicants should clearly demonstrate within their proposals why the proposed research questions, methodologies, team make-up, collaboration and partnerships chosen are appropriate and justified for the specific contexts with which they are working.

This includes the regions of focus, subject matter, and disciplines covered.

Funding and duration

The full economic cost of your project can be up to £350,000. AHRC will fund:

  • UK applications at 80%
  • international costs at 100%.

AHRC anticipates making  four to five awards under this opportunity.

The duration of your project can be between 30 and 36 months.

All projects must be able to have a start date of 1 February 2023.

Eligible activity and costs

All requested costs must be in line with the guidance set out in the AHRC research funding guide. Any exceptions are noted in this PDF.

Travel and subsistence costs are eligible for this opportunity, but local COVID-19 restrictions on travel should be taken into consideration when planning activity.

In June 2020, UKRI launched its environmental sustainability strategy, which seeks to embed environmental sustainability across the research sector and work towards net zero futures.

Accordingly, we encourage all applicants of this opportunity call to actively consider managing the environmental footprint of the proposed activities. We welcome proposals that seek to experiment or innovate more environmentally sustainable, as well as inclusive, approaches.

International co-investigators

In view of the anticipated international collaborative nature of projects funded under this opportunity and emphasis on equitable partnerships and collaboration, AHRC’s standard 30% cap on costs associated with international co-investigators (paid at 100% full economic cost) may be exceeded to a maximum of 50% of total grant costs.

Project partners, collaborating organisations and sub-contractors

The involvement of project partners and sub-contractors is permissible under this funding opportunity, in line with AHRC’s standard research grants scheme.

In UKRI proposals, the terms project partner, collaborators and sub-contractors have specific meanings and cannot be used interchangeably and for all organisations with whom you are collaborating.

Refer to the AHRC research funding guide for definitions of each, including what costs can or cannot be associated with the different forms of collaborating organisation.

Supporting skills and talent

In addition to considering equality, diversity and inclusion aspects of any proposed posts to be created under the award (for example, post-doctoral associates or research assistants), UKRI expects research organisations to support the skills and career development of researchers and technicians employed on UKRI grants.

This is in line with the concordat to support the career development of researchers and the technician commitment.

How to apply

You should ensure you are aware of and comply with any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.

Applying using Je-S

You must apply using the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

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.

When applying select ‘new document’ then:

  • council: AHRC
  • document type: standard proposal
  • scheme: development grants (AHS203)
  • call/type/mode: indigenous research methods: 9 August 2022.

Once you have completed your application, make sure you ‘submit document’.

You can find advice on completing your application in the Je-S handbook.

Your host organisation will also be able to provide advice and guidance on completing your application.

AHRC must receive your application by 9 August 2022 at 16:00.

Late submissions will not be considered and you will not be able to apply after this time. Please leave enough time for your proposal to pass through your organisation’s Je-S submission route before this date.

Once the proposal form has been completed, you should upload all attachments required for the scheme (and if applicable, any attachments listed as optional for the scheme), and submit your proposal.

You must ensure that you have obtained the permission of any other person named on the proposal form (for example, any co-investigators or project partners) for:

  • the provision of their personal information to UKRI
  • the processing of their data by UKRI for the purpose of assessing the application and management of any funding awarded.

Attachments

The following are a list of attachments that are permitted for this funding opportunity.

All attachment guidance mirrors that used for AHRC’s standard research grants scheme, as outlined in the AHRC research funding guide, with the exception of:

  • opportunity-specific requirements within the case for support and an associated extra page allowance for this attachment
  • the optional addition of a work plan.

Case for support

The case for support is a compulsory attachment and should be a maximum of eight sides of A4.

It is important that this includes the information described below and that you format the attachment as requested. If you choose to include footnotes or a bibliography (you are not required to do so) these must be included within the page limit.

While you should aim to make the case for support as concise, specific and clear as possible, the work to be undertaken should be fully explained. Failure to provide adequate detail on any aspects may seriously prejudice your application.

In short, you are advised to focus your application and to provide sufficient evidence to enable peer reviewers and panellists to reach a considered judgement as to the proposal’s:

  • quality
  • significance
  • feasibility
  • value for money.

For this funding opportunity, equitable and ethical partnership between indigenous and non-indigenous researchers and communities should be evidenced and embodied throughout your application.

However, the case for support in particular will be utilised by peer reviews and panellists to also assess and moderate the nature of the engagement and collaboration proposed.

You should describe your proposed project or programme of research using the required headings below.

Research questions or problems

You should describe clearly the research questions, issues or problems that you intend to address. What are the issues that you will be exploring in the course of your research?

Research context

You should describe the research context for your project or programme of work:

  • why is it important that these questions or issues are explored?
  • what other research is being or has been conducted in this area?
  • what contribution will your project make to improving, enhancing, or developing creativity, insights, knowledge or understanding in your chosen area of study?
  • to whom will the outcomes of your research be of particular interest?
Research methods

You should address the following questions:

  • what research methods will you be using to address the questions or issues that you have set yourself, or solve the problems you have identified, or to explore the matters you intend to investigate?
  • why have you chosen these methods?
  • why are they the best way to answer the research questions or problems you have identified?
  • what will be your role?
  • if there are other people involved, what will their roles be and why are they the appropriate people to be involved?

In describing your research methods it is not sufficient to state, for example, that you intend to visit a particular archive, or an exhibition abroad. You must provide adequate details of sources to be consulted, and you should state briefly:

  • what kinds of material you will be consulting
  • why they are relevant to your programme of research
  • how you will interrogate them.

Depending on the approach you are using throughout your research, you may also need to explain clearly the creative and performative aspects of the work, explain how you will develop a new process, product or tool, or provide details of who you have consulted or will be involved in the process of research.

Under the research methods heading you should also outline how any copyright or intellectual property issues relating to the project and the production of any outputs will be addressed.

We would also expect you to outline within this heading how your partnership with indigenous communities has been developed, how it is equitable and how you have embedded principles of co-design within the project.

Project management

You should address the following questions:

  • how will the project be managed?
  • what will be the roles of the members of staff involved (including you and, if applicable, any co-investigators or research assistants)?
  • what is the timetable for the project?
  • does it include appropriate milestones and is it realistic?
  • when will the outputs of the project be completed?
  • how will you ensure that they meet the needs of your audience?
  • can the costs be justified?
  • how will you ensure good value for money?

The project management section should also include the management of the digital and data management aspects of the projects, if applicable. It should be coordinated with the information in the data management plan.

It should be clear what the milestones for the completion of this element and the work should be incorporated into the timetable for the whole project.

The project management of the data management aspects of the project should include an assessment of risk in relation to the complexity and delivery of the project.

If a postdoctoral researcher is to be employed, you should state clearly the nature of the work they will be undertaking, and describe clearly the working relationships that are envisaged between all the members of the research team.

You should describe fully the arrangements for supervising and managing the research assistant, including their professional development.

If the researcher is unknown you should state the skills and qualifications sought, as well as outline the professional development opportunities this project will offer them, and how you will adapt these development opportunities to their individual needs.

Similarly, if the project involves a visit to or a secondment from a member of staff from another organisation, you must state clearly what work they will pursue and describe the working relationships envisaged with other members of the team.

In terms of supporting the research staff funded on the project, you should clearly outline the development opportunities which the project will make available.

These should include opportunities both in relation to research expertise, and wider opportunities to acquire transferable skills, for example, in connection with proposed impact activities.

UKRI is one of the signatories of the concordat to support the career development of researchers.

Read AHRC’s statement of commitment to the concordat.

Outputs, dissemination, and impact

The outputs, dissemination and impact section is your opportunity to describe in more detail how the potential impacts of the research will be realised.

Information under this heading should build on details given in the summary and academic beneficiaries sections of the Je-S form whilst also elaborating further on other areas of the case for support.

You should address two main questions:

  • who might benefit from the research?
  • how might they benefit?

Taking into account what is reasonable and appropriate given the nature of the research you propose to conduct, please provide examples of how the proposed research will be managed to:

  • engage any users and beneficiaries that have been identified
  • to identify potential users and beneficiaries as the research progresses
  • to increase the likelihood of achieving impacts.

In presenting your plans, you should tailor and target your dissemination activities to ensure that they are relevant to the specific user and beneficiary groups likely to be interested in your research. They should also be appropriate for supporting the potential research impacts outlined.

You should consider (and address if appropriate) methods for communications and engagement, collaboration and development. You should also detail who will be undertaking any dissemination activities and include any resource implications in the financial summary and in the separate justification of resources attachment.

Please also explain further how the research will benefit other researchers in the field and, where relevant, academic beneficiaries in other disciplines.

Opportunity-specific statement of eligibility

Use this heading to outline why the form of indigenous  and non-indigenous collaboration, partnerships proposed, and in particular the co-investigators included in the application, are appropriate and justified for the specific contexts of which you are working in. This includes the regions of focus, subject matter, and disciplines or expertise required.

You should evidence how the collaboration and partnership between indigenous and non-indigenous researchers and communities is equitable, ethical, responsible and meaningful.

CV

The CV is a compulsory attachment and should be a maximum of two sides of A4.

A summary CV should be attached as separate documents for each principal investigator, any co-investigators and named postdoctoral researchers.

CVs should include basic information about education, employment history, and academic responsibilities.

Publication lists

The publication list is a compulsory attachment and should be a maximum of one side of A4.

Summary lists of publications and research outputs should be attached as separate documents for each principal investigator, any co-investigators or named postdoctoral researchers.

These should cover major publications and outputs in the last five years. Brief articles and conference papers should  not be included.

You should asterisk those of particular relevance to your current research proposal.

Justification of resources

The justification of resources is a compulsory attachment and should be a maximum of two sides of A4.

This statement should be used to justify the resources required to undertake the research project.

You should:

  • explain why the indicated resources are needed, taking account of the nature and complexity of the research proposed. Note that it is not sufficient merely to list what is required
  • have regard for the breakdown of resources into the summary fund headings directly incurred, directly allocated and, where appropriate, exceptions
  • where costs incurred by international co-investigators are sought, a breakdown of these costs should be fully justified under a subheading of ‘international co-investigator exceptions’
  • in some cases, such as investigator time, use of internal facilities and shared staff costs (all likely to be directly allocated costs), the basis of the costing need not be justified, but the need for the resources does need justification
  • try to be explicit about the need for the level of investigator time sought, bearing in mind the complexity of the research, the need to manage the project and supervise staff and any wider considerations such as collaboration, research communication or facilities usage
  • not justify estates and indirect costs
  • include a clear and detailed justification for both why items expected to be found in a department (if sought) are required for the project and why they cannot be provided from the research organisation’s own resources (including funding from Indirect costs).

In drafting the justification of resources, you should ensure you identify which headings in the summary of resources the costs relate to, in order to make cross-referencing more transparent.

Project partner letter of support

The project partner letter of support is a compulsory attachment and should be a maximum of two sides of A4.

A project partner letter of support must be included for all organisations named as a ‘project partner’ on the application.

The letter should be written when the proposal is being prepared and should be targeted specifically to the project. It must therefore be dated within six months before submission (or resubmission) of the proposal.

Read the AHRC research funding guide for further information, including what should be addressed within the letter.

Data management plan

The data management plan is a compulsory attachment and should be a maximum of two sides of A4.

The data management plan should outline the project’s approach to managing data. Read the  AHRC research funding guide for further information, including what should be addressed within the document.

Workplan

The work plan is an optional attachment and should be a maximum of one side of A4.

The work plan should  outline your timetable and schedule for the project. For example, a Gantt chart could be included that details important tasks and milestones and indicates the staff member responsible for each component.

Visual evidence

The visual evidence is an optional attachment and should be a maximum of two sides of A4 non-textual, visual evidence in support of the proposal, to illustrate the proposed aims and objectives and/or research methods.

It is not permitted to include this material to supplement or replace your CV or publications list or to illustrate previous work in any way nor should it be used to circumvent the page limit for the case for support.

International co-investigator head of department statement

The international co-investigator head of department statement should be a maximum of one side of A4.

If your proposal includes an international co-investigator, their institution must submit a head of department statement. This statement must include the following information:

  • what the international co-investigator is bringing to the project and why they are best placed to conduct the research
  • how they will deliver the project’s objectives
  • how their institution will support them during the lifetime of the project
  • the letter should be dated and should be written when the proposal is being prepared. The letter should be targeted specifically to this project.

It is strongly advised that you use the recommended naming conventions for all attachments as this will make it easier for peer reviewers, panel members and staff to identify documents.

Read the AHRC research funding guide for the recommended standard.

How we will assess your application

Applications submitted under this funding opportunity will be assessed on the basis of their quality and individual merits, according to standard scheme criteria.

Applications will also be assessed on the quality of their partnerships, with an emphasis placed on partnerships which are truly equitable, ethical and meaningful, embedding principals of co-design with clear impact for beneficiary communities.

The assessment process for this opportunity will principally follow AHRC’s standard process for assessing research grants in the AHRC research funding guide, with specific consideration to the opportunity specific aims.

The following criteria are all equally weighted:

  • quality and importance
  • people
  • management of the project
  • data management
  • value for money
  • outputs, dissemination and impact

Applications will be peer reviewed by three expert reviewers relevant to your proposal.

The principal investigator will then be given the chance to provide a principal investigator response to the reviews.

The application, peer previews and principal investigator response will then be taken to a moderating panel for final ranking.

Indigenous voices will be included as part of the assessment process.

Following recommendations made by the moderation panel, final funding decisions will rest with the AHRC senior management team.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity

David Ward, AHRC

Email: david.ward@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

Building on previous scoping and exploratory activity, AHRC is seeking to commission research grants with a focus on collaborative and equitable research partnerships between indigenous and non-indigenous researchers and communities.

The proposed research should be centred in arts and humanities disciplines and engage with and deploy indigenous research methods to address chosen themes, issues, challenges, or research questions.

Background

True equitable engagement between indigenous peoples, researchers and methodologies continues to be recognised as vital to effective and ethical research practice and partnerships.

Attention is increasingly being paid to the importance, potential and application of working in collaborative partnerships with indigenous researchers, practitioners, and communities to ensure local research traditions and knowledge are in-built from the outset and continuously mobilised in the research process.

In 2018, AHRC and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded 12 collaborative projects to produce reflective case study pieces in conjunction with the indigenous researchers and communities with which they were working.

The principal investigators and indigenous partners from 10 different countries were brought together at the ‘Indigenous Engagement, Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilisation seminar in Rio de Janeiro in March 2019.

The seminar was hosted on behalf of AHRC and ESRC by:

The seminar looked to explore research partnerships between indigenous and non-indigenous partners, with particular focus on culturally sensitive knowledge exchange, equitable co-creation and mobilisation for meaningful impact.

People’s Palace Projects have since continued this programme’s dialogue in conducting a series of webinar events, culminating in the launch of a UKRI-sponsored publication (PDF, 41MB) in October 2021, on new directions in global indigenous research methods.

Other recent UKRI activity in this space includes the understanding environmental change in Inuit Nunangat collaborative research programme. This aims to investigate changes to the terrestrial, coastal and near-shore marine environments in Inuit Nunangat, as well as impacts on Inuit and community health and wellbeing.

You are strongly encouraged to engage with the insights, findings and outputs from this programme’s preceding activity outlined in this section when planning, constructing, and delivering their proposed projects.

UKRI is committed to ensuring that genuine, equitable partnerships and engagement are embedded within both international and national working. The ongoing learning from this programme and others has informed the development and launch of this funding opportunity.

It is hoped that the projects and teams funded will themselves in turn contribute to the ongoing reflection and development of concepts and good practice in this space.

Supporting documents

Full opportunity (Je-S) guidance (PDF, 235KB)
AHRC’s research funding guide

This is the integrated website of the seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help us test new developments.