RCUK Demand Management week on the blog! AHRC and demand management

Welcome to RCUK Demand Management week on the blog! Today’s focus is on the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and their views on, and actions around, demand management. The AHRC’s current approach is to develop good practice guidelines for institutions (such as good practice in internal peer review and setting up an internal institutional triage system whereby only the best applications are submitted to Research Councils). However, along with the other Research Councils, the AHRC are keen to reduce the number of applications by implementing demand management procedures.

What are the AHRC’s future plans for demand management? – The AHRC’s Delivery Plan for 2011 – 2015 identifies demand management as a key aim of the AHRC, with a view to implementing procedures that will ensure that resource is used to maximum advantage for researchers, HEIs and the AHRC. The AHRC will disseminate information on application success rates and then enter into strategic discussions with HEIs falling below the average to develop ‘self-management of demand’ (p21). If this is ineffective, AHRC will introduce sanctions (e.g. institutional quotas). The AHRC’s approach to demand management will also use more targeted schemes to include longer and larger awards with greater use of the Expression of Interest phase, and an increase in the number of ‘sandpit’ style workshops to limit the number of applications on specific schemes to those which have been invited.

Will sanctions be introduced for repeatedly unsuccessful applicants? – The AHRC only plan to introduce sanctions as a last resort however they will be monitoring success rates as the basis for strategic discussions with institutions and introducing sanctions if deemed necessary.

I am interested in applying to the AHRC. How can I make sure my application stands the best chance of being funded? – BU has established an internal peer review scheme (Research Proposal Review Service) which has been up and running in its current form for almost 12 months now. The scheme is managed by Caroline O’Kane and a whopping 21 proposals have been reviewed since July. If you are submitting an bid to EPSRC then I strongly encourage you to work with Caroline through the RPRS. You can also check the Blog to see what proposal writing sessions are running at BU. For example, on 23 and 24 November Dr Martin Pickard will be visiting BU to run sessions specifically focusing on writing and preparing applications for Research Council funding – read more and book a place here. Martin’s sessions are excellent and always well received, and I would encourage anyone considering applying for research funding to attend.