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School of Advanced Study secures future funding from Research England

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Research England has confirmed a further five years of funding for the School of Advanced Study. 

The award follows a recent review of the School by the national funding body Research England, which reconfirmed the School's special funding status and backed an ambitious new strategy for SAS, including the establishment of a flagship Digital Humanities Institute.

SAS, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2024, brings together eight internationally renowned institutes for humanities research and receives special funding from Research England for its national role in promoting and facilitating humanities research.

The review, which was carried out by the Research England Advisory Group (REAG), found that SAS has successfully achieved the strategic goals set out in its 2018 review, describing the school as “an important component of the national infrastructure for humanities research in the UK.”

Professor Dame Jessica Corner, Executive Chair, Research England, said, “We are delighted that the outcome of this review cements Research England’s relationship with the School of Advanced Study, University of London, for a further 5 years.

"The School is a unique and important component of the national infrastructure for Humanities research in the UK and to the critical role it plays as an advocate for humanities research and in strengthening the impact it can have internationally as well the wide contribution of these vital disciplines to research and innovation”.

Professor Jo Fox said: “We’re delighted to confirm our future funding from Research England, which not only highlights the importance of humanities research in the UK and beyond, but the key role played by the School of Advanced Study in making it happen. 

“Since SAS’s founding 30 years ago, we have developed and cultivated our unique national role, and we are delighted to be able to continue and strengthen this over the next five years, with Research England’s support. As part of this, we will deliver a substantial humanities promotion programme, making the case for the value of these disciplines with a wide range of stakeholders and with the public, and helping UK humanities researchers to maximise their engagement and impact. We will consolidate and develop the Being Human Festival of humanities, deliver extensive research training nationwide through our digital training platform ReSHAPED, and pioneer new projects in policy engagement and the future of academic events. Our research leadership in digital humanities has grown significantly over the past few years through our Digital Humanities Research Hub, and we’re excited to be able to create a new Institute to inspire and enable research that pushes at the frontiers of knowledge in this area.” 

Since its last review in 2018, SAS has focused on cross-institute and interdisciplinary working and forged strong collaborations, like those with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the British Academy, to co-create projects and resources that provide vital research connections that would not be possible for other institutions to do alone. Projects like Mapping the Arts and Humanities, funded by the AHRC and Research England, are highlighted in the review as examples of SAS's national role in building infrastructure to support humanities research across the higher education sector.

Initiatives like Being Human, an annual festival launched in 2014 in collaboration with the AHRC and British Academy, demonstrate SAS’s ongoing impact in engaging the wider public with humanities research and its relevance in a fast-changing world. Organisation of the festival draws on SAS’s partnerships across higher education and the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums sector to support humanities researchers in sharing their work with the wider public. Now approaching its 10th anniversary edition, Being Human's impact and accessibility continues to grow through international partnerships, including previous collaborations in Australia and the launch of Being Human in the USA planned for 2024.

Through its eight constituent institutes, SAS also provides specialised expertise that underpins its national facilitation role across the humanities. While collaborating on key strategic programmes, each institute also works closely with others in their disciplinary communities to help humanities scholarship thrive and make a difference to society. The Institute of Classical Studies is building networks connecting researchers across small Classics departments to amplify impact and public engagement. The Institute of English Studies works with key partners in the subject community and in the book world to drive innovation in policy and in practice. The Institute of Historical Research plans new initiatives and resources to champion history's public value. Others like the Institutes of Philosophy and Advanced Legal Studies foster innovation and interdisciplinary policy insights within their fields.

Building on SAS’s reputation for cutting-edge scholarship, this year will see the creation of a Digital Humanities Institute to build on the pioneering work of the Digital Humanities Research Hub. The new Institute will deliver and coordinate key digital initiatives, advise stakeholders on digital development, support networks like the UK-Ireland Digital Humanities Association and develop research training programs and fellowships in digital scholarship. The Digital Humanities Institute will respond to the critical demand for digital innovation across arts and humanities research, reinforcing SAS's unique role as a national centre for the advancement of the humanities in the UK.

Alongside the Digital Humanities Institute, a number of other key priorities are outlined – including an increased focus on equality, diversity and inclusion, deeper partnerships with the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums sector and a stronger emphasis on public engagement.

Our National Role

Find out more about the School of Advanced Study's national role supporting humanities research across the higher education sector.