AHRC-ESRC-FCO Knowledge Exchange Fellowship Scheme

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which are both part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), together with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are pleased to invite applications for the third intake of the AHRC-ESRC-FCO Knowledge Exchange (KE) Fellowships scheme.

This scheme provides the opportunity for Fellows to be seconded into the FCO to work alongside, advise and influence policymakers. Fellows will bring fresh thinking, depth and breadth of expert knowledge and apply their learning to policy challenges. This is not a scheme to support research projects about the FCO or its work, but rather to build new capacity in the FCO and across the UK research base.


The Fellowship scheme goes beyond current ad hoc arrangements, creating deeper engagement between academia and policy, impact on diplomacy, increasing the professional reputation of participating scholars and building long term, two-way relationships. The benefits will flow to the wider academic community through Fellows’ engagement with their home research organisation, students and wider research communities.

On a day-to-day basis Fellows will be placed within a policy team that could be geographic, thematic or institutional in the scope of its work. Fellows will also be attached to a Research Group within the wider Research Analysts Cadre who form a specialist group of geographical and thematic experts.


The call for applications for the first and second intakes of Fellows (2018–20, and 2019–21) resulted in more applications from social scientists than arts and humanities researchers; for this third intake (2020–22) the scheme partners wish to strongly encourage applications from eligible arts and humanities researchers, including historians, languages and area studies, alongside applications from social scientists. Candidates with relevant experience and expertise will be considered from any disciplinary background within the arts and humanities and social sciences. For scholars from all disciplines, modern language skills are highly valued.

For this intake, the partners envisage supporting between 2–4 Fellows to work within the FCO between 0.6 to 0.8 FTE for 24 months. The scheme will cover the salary costs of the Fellow (at 80% fEC), indirect costs, and travel and subsistence costs related to attending the FCO offices in London, for applicants based at universities outside London.

Potential applicants should ensure they meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the call document, and that they pay close attention to the requirements for security clearance, and code of conduct.  Applicants who have previously applied to this scheme are welcome to apply again.

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