Research Policy


Led by its Research Policy Committee, the Royal Historical Society plays a key role in speaking for historians in the UK on policy issues related to research. The Committee advises the Society on all aspects of the research environment. It coordinates the Society’s relations with the main bodies related to research funding and policy, manages its responses to research-related consultations and issues, and maintains relationships with other History and Humanities associations to lobby in the interests of the discipline.

The Research Policy Committee’s current priorities include:

  • reviewing and responding to the design of REF 2029 through current consultation rounds; this work is undertaken in collaboration with other UK History learned societies on behalf of the historical discipline.
  • creating and maintaining resources to chart and explain current developments in REF 2029 planning for historians
  • working with UK research councils, the British Academy, and representatives of UK archives and libraries to support professional historians at all career stages. Current activities include investigation of the extent and implications, for historians, of AHRC’s late 2023 announcement of reduced funding for open PhD studentships.
  • supervising the Society’s advocacy work both to promote the value of History and support departments facing cuts and closures. This work takes place within Higher Education and with UK parliamentarians and policy makers.
  • monitoring and responding to consultations on subjects relevant to historians and the discipline. Recent submissions include on the future of the REF (‘Futures for Research Assessment Programme’, October 2023) and to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation paper on the future retention and storage of wills post 1858 (February 2024).
  • communicating and updating external data relevant to the historical profession in UK Higher Education
  • pro-actively examining Equality and Diversity within historical teaching and the profession
  • the Open Access agenda. The Society supports for the principle of Open Access research, including in our own publications, while seeking to ensure that historians are not disadvantaged by requirements shaped by the working practices of very different disciplines
  • ensuring that the interests of Early Career Researchers and other historians working outside permanent academic posts are properly represented. As part of these endeavours many of our own funding schemes are focused on supporting postgraduate and early career scholars.

We aim to ensure that the views of historians are taken into account when designing and implementing research policies. A wider commitment to historical research, together with the impact agenda, means that we also look to the relationship between historical research, public bodies and cultural institutions, and wider society.

The Society’s Research Policy Committee is chaired by Professor Barbara Bombi, RHS Secretary for Research and an Officer of the Society’s Council.