£14.2m for arts and humanities

The Old College

The Old College

16 October 2013

The South, West and Wales Consortium, in which Aberystwyth University is partnered with seven other universities – Bath, Bath Spa, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Reading and Southampton - has been awarded £14.2 million funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) over the next five years to deliver postgraduate supervision, training and skills development from 2014.

The Consortium is one of 11 new Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and seven Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) to have been awarded a total of £164m funding from the AHRC.

The South, West and Wales Consortium will offer postgraduate studentships and training across the full range of the AHRC’s disciplines, with a strong emphasis on collaboration between the members of the consortium and 19 partner organisations including English Heritage, the National Trust, the BBC, Cadw and Welsh National Opera.

The funding, which equates to 200 new studentships, will allow for innovative postgraduate support, including the development of broader skills such as partnership working and language skills, and experience in working outside academia through industry and international placements.

The Consortium's successful bid for funding was praised for its  "consistent and convincing strategy for the provision of a very high quality training environment for postgraduates."

Professor Rick Rylance, Chief Executive of the AHRC, states; “This is an important step forward in delivering the best possible training and support for postgraduate students in the arts and humanities, and in developing a collaborative approach which pools expertise and expands horizons for postgraduate researchers. We are delighted at how the sector, and partners beyond the sector, have responded, and we look forward to working closely with them to support the next generation.”

Professor April McMahon, Aberystwyth University’s Vice-Chancellor explains; “At a time when many claim the Arts and Humanities are under threat, it is wonderful to see the AHRC investing in the next generation of researchers.

“Here at Aberystwyth we welcome the chance to provide studentships, training and opportunities for ground-breaking research collaborations for postgraduate research students, in these areas of great strength. We look forward to working with the other members of the South, West and Wales Consortium over the next five years to advance research and to demonstrate the relevance and impact of the Arts and Humanities for society, and to Wales and the world.”

Professor Tim Woods, who has been leading for Aberystwyth University on the SWW Consortium bid, was delighted at the news: “This is a magnificent fillip for the University, ensuring that we build on our previous AHRC Doctoral Block Grant Partnership award, and is extremely important to the future of arts and humanities research culture at Aberystwyth University. It will also assist us in our strategy for increased interdisciplinarity, providing the opportunity to openly collaborate with researchers in different disciplines based within the Consortium's six other Universities, and to offer students innovative opportunities for collaborative development with major industries, organisations and institutions involved in the arts and humanities across the region.”

The AHRC funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.