The Leverhulme Trust renews commitment to humanities and social sciences through funding boost for British Academy research schemes

20 Sep 2023

The Leverhulme Trust is renewing its generous long-term support for research in the SHAPE disciplines (Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts for People and the Economy) by committing to increase funding for two of the British Academy’s most popular funding schemes.

The agreement builds on a longstanding partnership between the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy: the Trust’s support for the Academy’s Senior Research Fellowships scheme began in 1989 and extended to the Small Research Grants programme in 2012. From autumn 2023 the Leverhulme Trust will increase its financial support for the Small Research Grants from £500,000 per year to £600,000 per year, funding ten additional grants. The Trust will also expand the number of Senior Research Fellowships it supports from seven to ten each year.

Worth up to £10,000 each over a period of up to two years, the British Academy / Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grants support academics working at universities and research institutions across the UK – as well as independent scholars – by covering the cost of expenses arising from a particular research project. The awards meet a clear need among researchers in the SHAPE disciplines as they provide funding for pilot and development stages of larger projects and frequently offer the first grant opportunity for early career researchers.

By relieving individuals from teaching and administrative work, the British Academy /Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowships help bring existing research projects – typically a career-defining work – to fruition. These awards focus particularly on individuals who have worked on a project for a long time with little or no prospect of completing it without the relief from normal academic duties offered by these awards. The scheme has now run for over thirty years, benefitting more than two hundred scholars since its inception.

Professor Julia Black, President of the British Academy, said:

“We are extremely grateful to the Leverhulme Trust for their longstanding commitment to our Small Research Grants and Senior Research Fellowships schemes, both of which enjoy well-earned reputations for nurturing groundbreaking research in the SHAPE subjects. Leverhulme are a trusted and reliable partner for the Academy: we are fundamentally aligned in our mission to support the best research in our disciplines.  This is evidenced by increased funding for two key schemes, but also through the support that they have given us as we trial a partially randomised model of allocating our Small Research Grants. We look forward to working closely with the Trust over many years to come.”

Professor Anna Vignoles, Director of the Leverhulme Trust, said:

“The Leverhulme Trust has a long track record of funding exciting fundamental research across all disciplines. Given the nature of the environmental, social and economic challenges that we are facing, blue skies thinking in the arts, humanities and social sciences is needed more than ever. We are therefore delighted to be able to increase our support for these important and popular schemes.”

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