GRANTS of up to Pounds 500,000 will be given to research projects by the new Arts and Humanities Research Board if plans are approved in the autumn.
Researchers will be able to ask for a maximum Pounds 100,000 a year for up to five years. The existing humanities research board has been able to give only one-year grants of up to Pounds 25,000. Advertisements calling for project bids have gone out in this week's THES.
But staff at universities in Scotland and Wales will not be eligible to apply because their funding councils are not supporting the board. Both councils say they want to consult further before joining.
The British Academy will continue to administer projects in Scotland and Wales now funded by the Humanities Research Board and smaller grants of up to Pounds 5,000 as it does already.
Michael Jubb, deputy secretary of the British Academy, said: "It would be very desirable to say the least, if this body were to cover the whole of the UK and we want that as soon as possible."
But both the Scottish and Welsh higher education funding councils say the money they give to humanities research already exceeds that given in England. They are awaiting details of this week's comprehensive spending review.
Plans for the new board include subsidising the full salary costs of academics on research sabbaticals rather than paying institutions only for replacement teaching. It is also likely to support more interdisciplinary research and to insist on transparency and keeping dual funding arrangements.
Prioritising themes for research and improving the infrastructure of arts research could follow. The new board will meet for the first time in October to approve the plans.