The British Academy have recently announced a review of the way they fund research, in line with other strategy documents and delivery plans published by the research councils last month. This review covers the same time period as the research council documents (i.e. 2011 to 2015) and changes will come into effect starting this year.
The significant messages are:
- Supporting the very best individuals at early and mid-career level through fellowship schemes (annually up to 50 early career, post-doctoral fellowships over three years and up to 40 mid-career fellowships up to 12 months);
- Ensuring that fellowship awards take account of, but are not wholly determined by, the need to contribute to a wide range of national and international challenges (e.g. environmental issues), to maintain capacity in vulnerable academic disciplines (e.g. languages) and to develop research skills (e.g. quantitative methods);
- Ending the project awards (mid-career and small grants) and conference grants schemes as these are seen to duplicate funding which should be provided from universities’ own funds. Further details of the final rounds for small grants and conference grants will be announced imminently, with expected deadlines in March 2011;
- Maintaining the focus on international, public and policy engagement.
The termination of small grants and conference grants will make it even more essential for researchers interested in gaining funding to collaborate and network in order to join larger bids. This is a trend we have seen across most of the research council delivery plans.