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New Generation Thinkers 2015 – now open

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

The AHRC has today opened the 2015 New Generation Thinkers scheme. This is a great development opportunity for postgraduates and early career researchers in the arts and humanities to appear on BBC Radio 3, with associated media coverage for their respective universities and departments.

Nationwide search for new intellectual broadcasters

The Arts & Humanities Research Council, BBC Radio 3, and BBC Arts are today (10th November) launching a nationwide search to find the UK’s next intellectual broadcasters in the arts and humanities.

From lively intellectual debates on air, explorations of ancient civilisations, and nationwide commemorations of World War One, academic research has never been so visible in the media. The New Generation Thinkers scheme is seeking innovative programme ideas, talent, and expertise from early career researchers who are passionate about communicating their research across the airwaves.

The scheme, led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) with BBC Radio 3, will invite up to sixty early career researchers to BBC-run workshops to develop their programme ideas alongside experienced BBC producers. From these sixty, the ten resident New Generation Thinkers for 2015 will be selected, and will go on to develop their ideas for BBC Radio 3 in a year-long partnership.

The scheme is partnered with BBC Arts to provide opportunities for the New Generation Thinkers to develop their ideas for television and have the opportunity to make a short taster film of their idea to be shown on the BBC arts website –

Past New Generation Thinkers have appeared on radio, on television, in print, and at cultural festivals. This is the fifth year the scheme has been run.

Matthew Dodd, Head of Speech programming at BBC Radio 3, said:

“BBC Radio 3 is delighted to be working with the AHRC again. As part of BBC Arts commitment to cultural programming, we’re looking for scholars at the start of their career who have a real passion to reach out to a non-academic audience, and who have research that they believe would make great broadcasts. There are many different ways to make a good programme, and that’s why each year BBC Radio 3 is genuinely interested in meeting academics who think they’ve got an idea that will transfer to radio. We’ve been very impressed with the New Generation Thinkers we’ve worked with in previous years. I heartily encourage researchers to apply, and look forward to reading the applications”

Professor Rick Rylance, CEO of the AHRC, said:

“The New Generation Thinkers scheme is a unique opportunity for talented early career researchers to disseminate their research and bring their ideas into the public arena. There is so much exciting research that deserves a broad audience, and so many members of the public who are interested in it. This scheme connects the two.”

A Twitter chat for potential applicants and anyone interested in the scheme will be held on #ngt2015 at 2pm on Wednesday 26th November.

BBC Radio 3 have also been featuring the 2014 New Generation Thinkers in The Free Thinking Essay series. Find out more and listen to these broadcasts now (opens in new window).

For further information, contact Alex Pryce (AHRC),, 01793 41 6025.

Notes to Editors

New Generation Thinkers was launched in November 2010 at Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival of Ideas. The New Generation Thinkers scheme invites applications from academics at an early stage of their career who are passionate about communicating modern scholarship to a wider audience.

Radio 3 broadcasts high-quality, distinctive classical music and cultural programming, alongside regular arts and ideas programmes, jazz and world music.

The station features more live classical music programming than any other and is the home of the BBC Proms – broadcasting every Prom live and more than 600 complete concerts a year – alongside daily speech programming, 90 full-length operas, over 25 drama commissions and over 20 new BBC music commissions a year.

Radio 3 is the most significant commissioner of new musical works in the country and is committed to supporting new talent, from composers to writers and new young performers, through schemes such as New Generation Artists and New Generation Thinkers.

  • The BBC aims to provide the broadest range and depth of music and arts programmes across television, radio and online.

  • The BBC aims to provide context through original, fresh discussion and perspectives.

  • The BBC is the biggest investor and creator of original arts and music programming.

  • The BBC creates non-commercial partnerships with the arts sector that go beyond broadcast, from sharing expertise to widening public engagement in UK arts.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. For further information on the AHRC, please go to:

BBC Arts produces over 100 hours of programming across the BBC’s television channels including returning strands Imagine and Film 2014 on BBC One; The Culture Show on BBC Two and What Do Artists Do All Day, Mark Lawson Talks To… and Timeshift on BBC Four alongside numerous award winning landmark documentaries and series. For more information please visit


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