Research for Development in the C21st: what do we need from a Global Challenges Research Fund

Harvard Lecture Theatre Alan Walters Building R29 Campus Map
Tuesday 29 October 2019 (16:00-17:00)

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SPEAKER – Professor Andrew Thompson

Professor Andrew Thompson is the Chair in Global History at the University of Oxford and a Professorial Fellow at Nuffield College and will continue in his role as Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) until the end of December 2019.

Since April 2018, Professor Thompson has been the UKRI’s lead for international research, strengthening global relationships and leading the successful delivery of the Global Challenges Research Fund and the Fund for International Collaboration.

Professor Thompson led the AHRC through the process of becoming part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and played a key role in securing the funding for the high profile £80 million Creative Industries Clusters Programme. He also secured funding from the innovative Living with Machines project from the UKRI strategic priorities fund, which brings together computer scientists and historians and is led by the British Library and Alan Turing Institute.

Professor Thompson has been instrumental in deepening the partnership with Independent Research Organisations (museums, libraries, galleries and archives), building the profile of arts and humanities research across the Government in the UK. He leads on the creation of important new bilateral relationships with the DFG in Germany and the Smithsonian museums in the US.

In the last four years the AHRC has also grown its public engagement activities, such as the New Generation Thinkers scheme and the Research in Film Awards, and has announced a second round of Doctoral Training Partnerships.

Professor Andrew Thompson is a historian of modern empire. He studied for his D.Phil at Nuffield College in Oxford under the supervision of John Darwin, and was a Tutorial Fellow in Modern History at Corpus Christi College. The major strand of his research interests have focused on the effects of empire on British private and public life during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including Imperial Britain (2000) and The Empire Strikes Back (2005) and, most recently, a companion volume to the Oxford History of the British Empire series entitled Britain's Experience of Empire in the Twentieth Century (2012). He has also written on Anglo-Argentine relations, colonial South Africa, transnational migrations and migrant remittances, and public memories and the legacies of empire. A project on Asian Britishness, undertaken with the Institute of Public Policy Research and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, led to an invitation to address the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit of the subject in 2005. His co-authored monograph Empire and Globalisation. Networks of People, Goods and Capital in the British World, 1850-1914, with Professor Gary Magee, (Cambridge, 2010) offers a fresh perspective on the historical roots of modern globalisation and its relationship to imperial expansion.

He co-founded Leeds University's Institute of Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, and was also previously Dean of the Faculty of Arts, and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, at the University Leeds.

Professor Thompson's latest project is on international humanitarianism. His new book linked to this research, which will be published by Oxford University Press, is called 'Humanitarianism on Trial: How a global system of aid and development emerged through the end of empire.' He has also been given access to previously unseen archives of the United Nations and the International Red Cross; the outcome of this research is a forthcoming article on Nelson Mandela, Political Detention on Robben Island and Apartheid in South Africa.