Friday, 30 September 2011

Bring on the Visionaries

The AHRC is seeking out 'visionaries' for its revised Fellowships scheme. The scheme aims 'to develop and promote visionary individuals who set research agendas, lead research communities, provide intellectual leadership in their own disciplines and beyond, have a transformative impact on their subject area and also act as advocates for the value and benefit of arts and humanities research beyond academia.'

I think they missed 'an ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound' off that list. I'll give them a call to rectify that.

The new scheme has a whiff of the ESRC's 'Future Leaders' to it. Not only should they undertake Nobel Prize-level work themselves, but they should also undertake 'a substantial programme of activities which support the development of the Fellow’s leadership role.' These could include networking, knowledge exchange, international collaboration, public engagement and defeating Lex Luthor.

Of course, identifying these visionaries will be no easy task, and the AHRC don't want individuals or institutions to take it on lightly. Whilst not setting specific limits on the number of people who can apply, they are expecting universities to identify suitable candidates, provide an 'appropriate package' of career and leadership development for them, internally sift potential applicants, and monitor their visionary prowess during the lifetime of the award.

Applications will be for between £50,000 and £250,000 fEC and will be for periods of between 6 and 18 months (or 6-24 months for applications from early career researchers). If you think you might have the necessary background - being born on the planet Krypton and brought up by a Kansas farmer, say - then do get in touch with me or my colleague Lynne Bennett.

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