15 Oct 2013

Major funding boost for arts and humanities research at The Open University

Students applying for arts and humanities doctorates at The Open University and six other partner institutions across the South East will share in a £17m funding award, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) announced today (Tuesday 15 October 2013).

The funding was awarded to CHASE (Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East England) – a partnership of seven institutions (The Courtauld Institute of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London, The Open University, and the Universities of East Anglia, Essex, Kent and Sussex) formed to promote excellence in research, postgraduate research training and knowledge exchange in the arts and humanities.

The successful CHASE bid, coordinated by the University of Sussex, was one of 18 successful bids out of 30 shortlisted to be awarded funding from the AHRC. More than 230 students across the seven institutions stand to benefit from the award, over five years. The funding will cover fees, maintenance and professional development opportunities, including the enhancement of media skills and placements overseas or with prestigious arts organisations..

The £17m will fund doctoral students who apply successfully to the members of the CHASE consortium. Applications will be considered jointly by the partner universities via four panels. Applications will be considered on a competitive basis.

The funding opportunity will be advertised to prospective students on partnership university web sites and on the CHASE web site in November 2013.

Open University Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Scholarship and Quality, Professor Tim Blackman said: “We are absolutely delighted with this recognition of the excellent environment we provide at The Open University for research students. We are especially pleased that the OU's sector-leading innovation in the use of technology means that our Virtual Research Environment will be available to AHRC-funded students across the consortium.

“The OU's mission of being “open to people, places, methods and ideas” mirrors the CHASE ethos and means we are absolutely committed to the success of this initiative and to the work that Dr Paul Lawrence from our Arts Faculty has done to incorporate our experience and expertise. We are also very pleased that some of our partners outside academia, including the BBC, Tate and the British Library, will be contributing to the doctoral training programmes, creating exciting opportunities for CHASE students.”

Professor Rick Rylance, Chief Executive of the AHRC, says: “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."

Notes to Editors
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (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.

The Open University Research
The Open University's innovative research and development ranks in the top third of UK universities. It influences policy and practice from local to global levels. Two-thirds of the OU's subject areas were ranked in the top 20 of all UK universities in the 2008 national Research Assessment Exercise, and our Art & Design research was ranked third in the UK. The OU has a vibrant research environment with more than 1,000 research students registered for postgraduate degrees with the OU, on a full-time and part-time basis.

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