Arts enjoy rise in status with promise of own research council

July 26, 2002

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.

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