Arts and humanities subjects are to get their own research council and should share in the funding available to science, according to a review led by the Department for Education and Skills, writes Caroline Davis.
The review recommends that the Arts and Humanities Research Board be reconstituted as a research council with its funding transferred to the Office of Science and Technology from April 2003.
David Eastwood, AHRB chief executive, said he was delighted with the outcome. He said: "It's not about money, it's about status and structure. We should not have ringfenced funding but compete on a level playing field."
The review says: "The arts and humanities field is of increasing economic significance, with growth in the creative industries being three times faster than in the economy as a whole."
It says that moving to the OST offers the best prospect of furthering arts and humanities research to enable it to play a full part in enhancing national life.
The AHRB was set up in 1998 following a recommendation in the Dearing report. Its budget - £70 million this year - comes jointly from the funding councils and the DFES through the British Academy.