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The Programme has commissionined research in three phases commencing in 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively.

Commissioning Commissiong Panel Chair Professor Ian Netton

Each year a ‘call’ went out to academic researchers to bid for the funding available.

Applicants had to be academic members of staff at UK higher education institutions, because the research councils (AHRC and ESRC) are distributing money which comes from the UK government – and ultimately the UK tax payer – to fund research within the UK higher education system. (Although collaborations with non-UK academics and non-academic partners were encouraged.)

Teams of researchers responded to the ‘calls’ by submitting funding proposals electronically, outlining a proposed project of research, its methods, and personnel. A budget and an account of how the research will be managed, why it is important, and what benefits it will provide also has to be included in such applications.

The proposals were then sent directly to the AHRC personnel who deal with the Religion and Society Programme. They then sent out the applications for review by peer reviewers (other academics working in the field who volunteer to review work). They were also reviewed by the Commissioning Panel [see below].

Depending on the grades received by peer reviewers, proposals either went forward to the Religion and Society Commissioning Panel or were rejected. All the remaining proposals were considered by members of the Commissioning Panel. The Panel determined a final grade for each proposal, and ranked them in order of priority for funding. The Programme objectives were relevant to this discussion, though commissioning is always on the basis of academic merit. Finally, the highest scoring proposals were selected. The Programme Director commented on the shape and range of the overall selection (e.g. to see how many disciplines were represented). The final number commissioned depended on how many proposals could be funded with the money available in each phase.

Enormous thanks go to the voluntary Commissioning Panel who worked incredibly hard and well together to commission the highest quality research.

The Commisioning Panel

  • Professor John Wolffe Open University
  • Professor Andrew Wright King’s College, London
  • Professor Gurharpal Singh University of Birmingham
  • Professor Iain Scobbie SOAS, University of London
  • Professor Fran Lloyd Kingston University London
  • Professor James Conroy University of Glasgow
  • Professor James Fairhead University of Sussex
  • Professor Ole Riis Agder University College, Norway
  • Professor James Beckford University of Warwick
  • Dr Line Nyhagen Predelli Loughborough University
  • Dr Jonathan Scourfield Cardiff University
  • Dr Jeremy Hill British Museum
  • Professor Kate Loewenthal Royal Holloway University of London
  • Dr Chris Lewis University of Ulster
  • Mr Colin Ash University of Reading
  • Stella Yarrow DCLG
  • Professor Gerard Loughlin University of Durham
  • Professor Geoffrey Samuel Cardiff University
  • Professor Ian Netton University of Exeter
  • Professor Elisabeth Jay Oxford Brookes
  • Professor Gwen Griffith-Dickson Lokahi
  • Professor Denise Cush Bath Spa University
  • Professor Simon Burgess University of Bristol
  • Professor Peter Coleman University of Southampton
  • Rosemary Rivett RE Today
  • Professor Stewart Brown University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Chris Partridge Lancaster University
  • Professor James Conroy University of Glasgow

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