AHRC: Towards a National Collection – Discovery Projects

The AHRC have opened their long awaited Towards a National Collection (TaNC) call. Their deadline for outline applications is 17 November 2020, with outcomes announced by the end of January 2021.
This call aims to fund up to five projects over a maximum of 36 months within the total funding envelope of £15m, with indicative limit for each project of £3m (representing 80% of the FEC). A single independent research organisation (IRO) or higher education institution (HEI) can lead a maximum of three outline proposals (there is no limit to the number of proposals an institution can be involved in as co-investigator/project partner). For this reason Research Services are running a coordinated process to identify the three most compelling, coherent and deliverable Oxford lead outlines, in line with the aims of the call. 
The call will fund strong inter-disciplinary and multi-institutional research partnerships that address the technological and organisational obstacles which currently divide the UK's collections, harnessing digital technology, and beginning to establish common standards and tools, for both research and public access. The UK's museums, archives, galleries and heritage organisations includes not just the great national collections but also a host of smaller regional and local institutions. AHRC takes a broad view of cultural heritage – incorporating the tangible, intangible, digital, intellectual, artistic, and the connections between them. The aim of the call is not to fund extensive digitisation or cataloguing, but a small proportion of the budget may be allocated to this where it is critical for achieving the aims of the project.
Discovery projects should deliver impact in all three of the following areas:

  • enabling digital search by dissolving barriers between collections, addressing technological, organisational and other issues preventing an integrated virtual 'national collection'
  • enhancing research capability to address questions which draw on a range of sources
  • enhancing public engagement facilitating wider, better-informed and more inclusive public access, whether virtual or in-person

Each discovery project will be required to include collaboration between one or more IROs and one or more HEIs. Further collaboration with local, regional or national collection organisations, third sector organisations and/or stakeholders is strongly encouraged.

Project partners make a significant and specific contribution to the project (in cash or in kind), for example expertise, staff time, use of facilities or access to archives. Only minor directly incurred (DI) costs can be charged by project partners (such as travel to meetings where they cannot cover that cost as part of their contribution).

Collaborating organisations can charge the project for the costs of their involvement, and could be smaller, local/regional museums, collections, libraries, archives, galleries, and heritage organisations.

Oxford internal co-ordinated bid process

The process has been designed for discovery projects led by Oxford.

Please provide a 2 page CV of the principal investigator, plus an outline case for support (4 pages maximum). This should:

  • clearly outline how the project will deliver in each of the three areas of impact (defined above)
  • briefly describe/list the topic, areas, questions, challenges to be addressed by the project
  • outline/list partnerships and collaborations (or pathways to develop these) indicating where a relationship/collaboration already exists.
  • state the context for the project – why is it important that this is explored?
  • describe the overall project design and/or approaches the team will be using to address the questions, aims and objectives

The outline case for support and CV should be emailed to Emma Nagel-Smith at emma.nagel-smith@admin.ox.ac.uk in Research Services by 4pm on Monday 17 August to be considered by the internal panel.

Co-ordinated University bids