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AHRC Peer Review College: Thoughts and Reflections

In today’s blog we hear from Professor Genevieve Warwick, Strategic Lead of AHRC at the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, about recent activity to develop a campaign of excellence for the College.

On behalf of the Research Office and the AHRC Developing Research Excellence campaign, I was delighted to recently gather and welcome for the first time our home community of AHRC Peer Review College members. This was an opportunity to share thoughts and ideas on the instrumental role of our Peer Review members as key figures in developing our AHRC profile at Edinburgh. We were particularly pleased to have Greg Walker, Chair of the AHRC Advisory Board, join us to speak about the importance of promoting arts and humanities research through the AHRC.

Topics of discussion included changing definitions of interdisciplinary research as our research councils move together under one umbrella, RCUK, in Spring 2018. Our focus groups talked about interdisciplinarity from a range of different perspectives: its potential in terms of their own research, within their different subject areas, and for the future of arts and humanities research more broadly. We also talked about how UofE PRC members can contribute to encouraging more applications to AHRC, working together with the Research Office.

Collectively the discussion focused on developing thematic events over the course of the following academic year that expand our depth of understanding of current and upcoming AHRC funding for interdisciplinary research, and to ways of pooling perceptions and experiences on what makes for a strong grant application, and how to develop prospective ideas for future bids.

This event was a follow on from a recent visit by the AHRC themselves to the university, where new AHRC Peer Review members were inducted into the college. We were delighted to welcome the AHRC team leading staff induction for the Peer Review College to the University of Edinburgh.  New members of the peer review college from across Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the north of England joined us for this key event in peer review training.  AHRC staff Anne Sofield and Russell Leake spoke to the vital role of peer review within the research council, and guided us through the ethos and responsibilities of the role.

Able and experienced reviewers then chaired parallel sessions, or ‘mock panels’, to introduce new PRC members to the working methods of AHRC review procedures for consideration.  Delegates were asked to prepare a selection of anonymised applications for presentation and panel discussion.  Each panel was composed of a wide range of disciplinary perspectives as well as institutional affiliations in order to give full representation to all Arts and Humanities subjects. The discussions brought consensus through a thoughtful attention to all aspects of each application’s research project and a clear understanding of funding priorities.

Joining the AHRC peer review college is an invaluable experience for all Arts and Humanities researchers, enabling us to work with the AHRC as reviewers as well as applicants, and generating a shared understanding of the vital role played by the AHRC in continuing to secure a sure future for our research funding.

Keep your eyes open for more news an events from the AHRC Developing Research Excellence Campaign trail.

Professor Genevieve Warwick is a leading scholar of Renaissance and Early Modern Art c. 1400-1750 and is currently a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellow. Genevieve was Editor of Art History 2012-2017, flagship journal of the national Association of Art Historians UK. She is currently the AHRC Strategic Lead for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.



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