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Cambridge Global Challenges


The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) have announced a joint call for research proposals addressing the theme of ‘Cultural Heritage and Rapid Urbanisation in India’.

The scale and speed of urbanisation in India has placed pressure on its rich and diverse cultural heritage as well as presenting opportunities for integrating the preservation of heritage into sustainable urban development. From 1991 to 2011, the urban population in India has increased from 100 million to 200 million. By 2041, 50-percent of India’s population is expected to live in cities. On average, the population of India’s six major metropolises nearly doubled between 1981 and 2001.

A workshop held in New Delhi on 24-25th May 2017 was convened by UK and Indian academics to discuss the place of heritage in the development of modern cities over the course of history and future strategies for protecting heritage. An interim workshop report is available here.

The aim of this call is to allow researchers in the UK and India to collaborate on joint research projects which will address critical issues concerning cultural heritage, history and urbanisation in India, including those key challenges that emerged from the workshop. It is expected that projects funded under this call will explore how historical experiences of urbanisation can inform contemporary issues and policy and also examine the role that heritage can play in sustainable economic growth and social cohesion.

Proposals are invited under three thematic areas:

  • Heritage and ownership: the place of contested heritage
  • Cities in the context of multiple forms of migration
  • Different dimensions of core and periphery

Funding of up to £200,000 per project for UK applicants is available on a full economic cost (fEC) basis with AHRC meeting 80% of the fEC. Matched resources are available from ICHR for Indian applicants. Proposals should have a maximum duration of 24 months and will be expected to start on 14th February 2018.


Awards will be funded through the Newton-Bhabha Fund – a programme that aims to strengthen research and innovation partnerships between the UK and partnering countries. Guidance on the scope of the call, additional information on the thematic areas and the application process can be found here.

Cambridge Global Challenges is a Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

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