Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Pre-announcement: enhance your career through an architecture or design secondment

Apply for funding to enhance your career through an architecture or design secondment.

You must be:

  • a resident in the UK
  • employed by a UK organisation eligible for UKRI funding
  • able to carry out research and innovation at a postdoctoral level (or equivalent).

You can be at any stage in your career.

This opportunity will help you to develop your skills and exchange knowledge between sectors.

The organisation you are being seconded to must be of a different type to your employer.

Your project can cost up to £200,000. We will fund 100% of salary, travel and subsistence costs.

Your project must run between three months and three years.

This is a pre-announcement and the information may change.

The funding opportunity will open in early 2022. More information will be available on this page by then.

Who can apply

The applicant (also known as the principal investigator) can be either:

  • the secondee, who claims salary from the grant
  • a lead representative of the submitting organisation, who cannot claim salary from the grant.

If the secondee is not the applicant, they should be listed in the application as named research staff.

Applying as the secondee

As a candidate for a secondment, you must be:

  • a resident in the UK
  • have a contractual employment relationship with a UK organisation eligible to receive UKRI funding.

An organisation is eligible if they are one of the following:

  • a UK registered business
  • an eligible UK public or third sector organisation
  • a UK university or research organisation
  • a UK independent research organisation.

We welcome applicants at all career stages. You are not required to have a doctoral qualification or a background in architecture or design. We welcome evidence of equivalent professional and practice-based research experience.

You must be able to undertake research and innovation activities in architecture or design at a postdoctoral equivalent level.

Who can host your secondment

Your application must include a collaboration between a:

  • UK research organisation or independent research organisation
  • UK business, policy or civil society organisation.

For example, you can apply for secondment from a business, third or public sector organisation into a university or other eligible research organisation (or vice versa).

At least one of the organisations involved in the secondment must:

  • undertake architecture or design research and innovation as part of their activities
  • have strong capabilities in design or architecture.

This helps to ensure that you have a supportive environment for your secondment, as well as networking opportunities and a chance to learn from your colleagues.

Applying as a lead representative of the submitting organisation

Each employer submitting the secondment application to AHRC must:

  • have a demonstrable, current and ongoing capability to undertake high-quality research and innovation activity
  • be in a position to support you (the secondee) to plan and deliver your secondment
  • lead the application and use the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system for the purpose of submitting it
  • hold a UK bank account
  • be eligible for UKRI funding.

The seconding organisation will be the only organisation eligible to receive funds from the award.

Your employer must include a partner host institution in the application form. For applications submitted by an academic organisation, this should be a non-academic organisation.

A non-academic organisation would be UK private, public or third sector. An academic organisation could be a university or other eligible research partner.

The wider UKRI eligibility criteria for funding applies.

Find out who can apply for funding.

Who cannot apply

Given the aim to support porosity between academia and non-academic sectors (public, private or third sector), we will not support secondments from a higher education institution to another higher education institution. This is the case even if two different academic disciplines are involved.

What we're looking for

You must have a desire to proactively engage with architecture or design and the motivation to work within these fields.

You will need to work on a research and innovation activity in areas of architecture or design (or both). This activity must:

  • be primarily arts and humanities
  • largely fall within AHRC’s remit during your secondment
  • produce outcomes of relevance to those disciplines in the remit.

An example of a relevant outcome would be using architecture or design approaches to address challenges within the secondment environment.

Potential research areas

Potential research areas that you and your seconding and receiving organisations could consider are:

  • architecture or design supporting communities, place-making and levelling up
  • architecture or design for the environment, such as adapting to and minimising climate change, green design and net zero
  • architecture or design for wellbeing and good health, including post-COVID-19 recovery.

We recognise that architecture and design are interdisciplinary fields. We’ll welcome interdisciplinary applications combining the arts and humanities with other research fields and approaches.

Check if your application is in AHRC’s remit

Please note that AHRC’s disciplines of architecture and design may overlap with the remits of:

  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Council (EPSRC).

If you would like to check whether your application falls within AHRC’s remit, then you can submit a remit query before applying for an Innovation Scholars secondment.

Submit a remit query.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal, please contact your employer in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for internal processing.

Ask a question about this funding opportunity


Include ‘Innovation Scholars secondments in architecture or design’ in the subject line.

We aim to respond to queries as soon as possible.

Get help with applying through Je-S



01793 444164

Opening times

Je-S helpdesk opening times

Additional info

This funding opportunity is part of UKRI’s Innovation Scholars programme. The main objectives of the programme are to:

  • increase porosity between academia and other sectors
  • enhance skills and careers of individuals in research and innovation
  • intensify knowledge exchange resulting in innovative outputs
  • add value to the UK economy.

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