AHRC Science in Culture Theme
The sciences and the arts and humanities often seek to answer very different kinds of questions about human nature, the nature of the world we inhabit, and the relationship between the two. Sometimes, however, the questions we seek to answer do not neatly fall within the remit of one or the other.
Situated in a radically different research paradigm, the arts and humanities bring knowledge not normally covered by science, offering exciting possibilities for new scientific discoveries and critical confluences of ideas and practices.
Arts and humanities research in the 21st century will inform science as much as it charts its cultural impacts. It will provoke new scientific enquiry as much as account for the historical, cultural, legal and ethical contexts for the future development of many areas of science.
There are already plenty of examples of interactions between arts and humanities researchers and scientists.
These include medical practitioners working with literary scholars and choreographers, neuroscientists working with lawyers and philosophers and geographers collaborating with mathematicians and historians.
These practical manifestations of current research funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Science in Culture theme embody the aim of developing productive reciprocal relationships between science and the arts and humanities.
The Science in Culture theme invites arts and humanities researchers to go beyond the investigation of the cultural contexts for science and seeks to show ways in which that research contributes to and informs scientific research.
Situated in a radically different research paradigm, the arts and humanities bring knowledge not normally covered by science, offering exciting possibilities for new scientific discoveries and critical confluences of ideas and practices. The arts and humanities can promote a broader understanding of societal views about science, the diverse pathways taken by science in different societies, the role of scientific advances in cultural life and how this shapes broader world views. The Science in Culture theme aims to encourage mutual exchanges between the sciences and the arts and humanities that offer scope for developing new areas of research, methodologies, research frameworks and styles of thinking as well as pioneering new ways of working across the disciplines.
This theme seeks to identify new avenues for cross-disciplinary innovation bringing insights and expertise from across the arts and humanities and science encompassing the full range of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects as well as medical, social, behavioural and health sciences.
Innovative research in the Science in Culture theme might include:
- insights from the arts and humanities that advance scientific discovery;
- what science and humanities have learnt, and might learn, from each other;
- the development of new topics and methods for collaborative inquiry between the sciences, arts and humanities;
- the comparative roles of experts and expertise in the sciences, arts and humanities;
- the making of authority, integrity and trust in scientific and interpretivist research;
- rights, openness and ownership in collaborative research across the sciences, arts and humanities;
- the relationships between scientific, religious and other world views.
In addition to working across the Research Councils and with the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), academies, learned societies, other funders, science educators, museums, regulators and policy-makers, there may be collaborative opportunities with research-led businesses and high technology companies.
There are also opportunities for research under the Science in Culture Theme to contribute to inter-disciplinary collaboration across all of the Research Councils UK’s research challenges, including the RCUK ’Lifelong Health and Well-being’, ‘Living with Environmental Change’ and Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research (RCUK Global Uncertainties) Programmes as well as in ‘breakthrough’ research areas.