Deans call for extra Pounds 25m

October 10, 1997

Humanities call for cash

THE proposed Arts and Humanities Research Council would need extra money if it is to work, say university deans.

The Council of University Deans of Arts and Humanities has written to Baroness Blackstone endorsing the Dearing proposal for a council. But they estimate that it would need Pounds 25 million in addition to Humanities Research Board funding to give an annual budget of Pounds 45-50 million.

Chairman Michael Worton says that the deans reached this view following an extraordinary meeting addressed by John Laver, chair of the HRB and a member of the Dearing Research Group.

The deans say extra cash should be front-loaded, built up over three years. The block grant should be preserved and protected to ensure the effectiveness of the dual-support system. The deans also:

* welcome the recommendation that arts and humanities are linked in a single funding body

* call for AHRC to follow the research council model, with "a place at the table" in all discussions of research policy

* want AHRC to have an academic chief executive, a non-academic chair and a membership drawn equally from academic institutions, beneficiaries such as national libraries, museums and galleries, and industry

* call for consultation mechanisms to ensure academic institutions, learning societies and professional associations are heard

* recognise the importance of long-term speculative research by the lone scholar, and also the value of "directive schemes" promoting specific fields or science of research. But this should not exceed 30 per cent of available research funds

* call for the independence of the British Academy to be preserved.

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