The AHRC is to cut the 'speculative' route within its Grants scheme. This is, perhaps, unsurprising: most people I spoke to didn't really understand this route. Surely all research, by its very nature, is speculative. The intention of the route, however, had been to target the riskier fringes of research, 'where the speculative, experimental or exploratory nature of the work means that results or outcomes are uncertain or cannot be guaranteed, or where a significant degree of risk is involved.'
It was a matter of degree, I guess, and the majority never felt that their research was sufficiently 'speculative, experimental or exploratory' to warrant a separate application to this route. You do have a final window of opportunity to apply to it, though: the deadline for applications is 4pm on 28 January 2011. After that you risk takers out there can still apply to the AHRC's standard grants scheme.