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Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Research Funding and Strategic Initiatives

Keywords: Indigenous, Displaced, Social, Political, Aesthetic, Rural, Policy, Resilience, Sustainable, Participatory, Co-develop, Engineering, Design Science,  History, Colonialism, Climate Finance, Ethics, Uncertainty

Summary of plan

The group discussed the benefits of having a Humanities and Social Sciences-led focus group on the proposed theme.  They recommended considerations for the need to foster long-term support for collaboration with international colleagues that will enable co-developed research projects/ that address/redress many of the complex inequalities associated with research funding and policymaking. 


Suggested focus and ambitions of the theme

Sustainability of networks and funding: There is concern that the duration of three years may not enable the collaborative connections required to advance defined objectives under this umbrella, particularly when substantial funding would be needed beyond the seed funding offered through the Research Framework.

Questions to consider when developing theme objectives:

  • How will the funding provided enable the development of a meaningful and sustainable research cluster? 
  • How can Cambridge Zero be a connector while this theme/cluster provides something distinctive?
  • How might this funding be used to directly support collaborators in the Global who may not necessarily have the resources or the level of institutional support to participate in large scale projects?

What mechanisms can be put in place to ensure that these objectives are not compromised when external funding expectations don’t match the priorities of the communities they’re working with?

Innovative tools: consider how academics can take a bottom-up approach to identify innovative tools to break down some of the barriers created through the power imbalance related to funding and funding support. 

Influencing Policy as a central objective of the theme’s development.

The group also wondered how this theme overlapped with Theme 1: Area Studies, Global Inequality and Economic Development.  Is there the opportunity to maximise efforts across thematic groups.

Benefits for collaboration under the umbrella of the theme


Humanities and Social Sciences leading in the study of climate change and conservation: How does the School position itself in relation to a field that has been dominated by natural scientists and technocratic solutions? Climate policy and conservation policy are currently much more open towards taking social factors into consideration, making it a good time for social scientists and others to take part in these sorts of conversations.