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Looking back on a successful year at SAS

New figures reveal the extraordinary level of research support and leadership provided by the School of Advanced Study last year.

Statistics collected from 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2022 demonstrate the School’s ongoing contribution to the promotion and facilitation of humanities research in the UK and beyond. From research training, to resources and engagement activities, the School has continued to provide strong leadership in its role as a national centre for the humanities. 

Training the next generation

The Doctoral Centre, which launched in April 2021, offered a highly successful and expanded programme of training for humanities researchers in the UK and abroad.

The programme, which is delivered online and is freely available to all, has been designed to meet the need for high-quality training in research methods, skills and software for humanities researchers.

The Centre’s training programme formed a vital part of the School’s combined research training offer, which reached over 13,000 researchers in 2021-22. The programme covered core research and publishing skills alongside emerging digital humanities techniques and the use of new media and creative outputs to engage new audiences.

The programme was particularly valued by doctoral and early career researchers, but feedback also highlighted its benefits for experienced researchers, demonstrating the School’s role supporting researcher development in the humanities across career stages.

Supporting high-quality research

The School also continued to provide access to vital resources and opportunities for humanities scholars.

It supported over 1600 events over the course of the year, which reached over 95,000 participants. These events, which included seminars, lectures, conferences and workshops, provided opportunities for researchers to share knowledge, develop their skills and present their research to a broader audience. Many of these events were jointly organised with national and international partners, demonstrating the School’s commitment to fostering and facilitating cross-sector engagement and collaboration.

The School’s online resources – including blogs, databases and training materials – continued to be widely used by the research community. For example, the British and Irish Legal Information Institute, which provides full-text online legislation and case law, was accessed 15 million times in the last year. The Talking Humanities blog was visited over 80,000 times, and the School’s Open Access repository, SAS-Space, recorded 62,000 page views.

The School also provided a home for researchers of all career-levels: 34 open competitions were held for the School’s fellowship schemes and 164 appointments were made, including 67 early-career researchers. These researchers joined a vibrant fellowship community: in total, the School hosted over 700 research, honorary, associated and visiting fellows in 2021-22, who all benefited from the School’s supportive research environment and world-leading resources.

Championing the Humanities

The School continued to be a champion for the humanities and engage new and diverse audiences. Last year, the annual Being Human Festival supported over 240 public engagement events in 51 towns and cities across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The programme of events included museum take-overs, walking tours, performances, exhibitions, and creative workshops. In total, 18,000 people attended the live events, and 36,000 people watched recordings of the events at a later date. This year’s festival, which took place last month, was similarly successful.

The University of London Press published 18 new books, edited collections and other scholarly works in 2021-22. Two-thirds of the Press’ frontlist titles were available via Open Access, and 700,000 downloads were recorded in 2021-22  – an increase of 40% compared with the previous year –with usage across over 240 countries, reflecting the Press’s goal to ensure a diverse and wide audience.

Meanwhile the School’s own research continued to be impactful and engaged in contemporary debates. It made 16,000 headlines across various media (blogs, newspapers, prints), and reached millions of people, consolidating the visibility of its research. 

And there is plenty more to come. As the new calendar year approaches, and the global challenges and opportunities of the next 12 months become clear, the School of Advanced Study will continue to lead on major humanities research initiatives, cross-sectoral collaborations, and the delivery of training and resources that advance humanities research across the UK and beyond.