AHRC members resign over Big Society

Members of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Peer Review College have resigned over the council’s continued refusal to remove references to the government’s Big Society slogan from its delivery plan.

Maria Manuel Lisboa, a professor of Portuguese literature and culture at the University of Cambridge, told Research Fortnight Today that she resigned a few weeks ago after receiving no response to a letter of complaint to the council.  She described it as “completely unacceptable” that a research council has direct references to a party-political slogan in its delivery plan.

According to an article in The Guardian on 19 June, some 30 academics are planning to resign in the next two weeks. Manuel Lisboa, however, said she was not aware of an organised mass resignation and that her decision was a personal choice. 

In a statement sent to Research Fortnight Today, a spokesperson for the AHRC said the council is not contemplating removing big society from its delivery plan:  “We have over 1,200 members in our peer review college across all the arts and humanities disciplines. Since the initial petition against the inclusion of Big Society in the AHRC delivery plan appeared at the beginning of April only 2 academics have resigned from the peer review college, and they resigned very early on in the process,” he said.

The full story can be accessed on Research Professional