Mark Llewellyn, who holds the John Anderson research leadership chair in English studies in the School of Humanities, will be seconded to the research council from January to fill the post vacated by Shearer West when she joined the University of Oxford as head of humanities earlier this year.
He will be responsible for all areas of research activity, postgraduate funding, peer review and international and knowledge exchange issues at the AHRC.
Professor Llewellyn said he was taking on the job at a particularly “stimulating” time.
“I’ve worked with many AHRC staff over recent years on a range of programmes, and I’m pleased to have this opportunity to join an enthusiastic and dedicated team in making a strong case for the distinctive contribution of arts and humanities research to the UK,” he said.
“I look forward in particular to new relationships with colleagues across the wide range of disciplines within the AHRC’s remit, engagement with the cultural and creative sectors, and collaboration with the growing number of our international partners.”
Professor Llewellyn has previously worked at the University of Liverpool, where he was senior lecturer in English and director of postgraduate research in the humanities and social sciences. He is a specialist in late Victorian literature and culture.
His appointment comes at the end of a year of worries for arts and humanities scholars, who have voiced concerns about the government’s attitude to their fields in light of the abolition of teaching funding and difficulties associated with the impact agenda.
The concerns prompted David Willetts, the universities and science minister, to state in July that it was one of his priorities to convince academics in the arts and humanities “how much we love them”.
Commenting on Professor Llewellyn’s appointment, Sir Alan Wilson, chairman of the AHRC, said the council was “fortunate to be joined by someone with strong leadership skills and a passion for communicating the importance of the humanities”.
Professor Llewellyn will remain a professor at Strathclyde during his term with the AHRC.