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AHRC says ‘yes’ to costing international researchers

International co-investigators can be costed into grant applications to the Arts and Humanities Research Council from 3 December.

Naomi Beaumont, head of international strategy at the AHRC, told Research Fortnight that the new policy is in response to the wishes of researchers.

The council’s International Co-Investigators Policy is itself based on a policy that the Economic and Social Research Council has been trialling since 2007.

It will allow UK-based researchers to apply for up to 30 per cent of a total grant application to be used for the direct costs of international researchers collaborating on the project.

International co-investigators will need to be bona fide researchers, with a PhD or equivalent experience, based at an organisation comparable to institutions in the UK that are able to bid for funding.

All funds will be distributed to the lead UK researcher, who will be responsible for re-distributing them.

The policy will apply to all of the AHRC’s bottom-up, responsive-mode grants, and will be trialled for two years.

It will also apply to the AHRC’s Follow-on Funding scheme when it re-opens in January 2013.

Beaumont says that a survey last year asked AHRC researchers “about what countries they were either collaborating with or wanted to collaborate with in future, and we got almost 150 different countries mentioned in responses”.

However, she says that researchers have had difficulty bringing international researchers into their projects, because they have to be appointed to an advisory board or taken on as consultants, following careful justification of their skills.

“I’ve had researchers come to me and say: ‘Look, I want to do a substantive research project with these people in country X, and there’s no way to enable me to do it’,” she adds.

Beaumont says the policy will improve transparency, giving the AHRC a clear understanding of which countries UK researchers are working with and where international related costs are going.

The AHRC scheme joins a similar trial being run by the Economic and Social Research Council since 2007.