Issue date: 04 October 2000

The University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE) leads the field in arts and humanities research among the new universities according to data published this week. The university received the highest number of research grants from the UK's chief research funder in this area compared with other new universities, and was the fourth most successful of all UK universities.

Thirteen research grants were awarded to UWE by the Arts and Humanities Research Board, (AHRB) which has just released its annual report for 1999/2000. This puts UWE in joint fourth position with Edinburgh University, after Glasgow, Southampton and Manchester Universities. No other new university features in the top ten, the next most successful being De Montfort and Northumbria in 17th equal place.

Awards were made to UWE in all five categories of the AHRB’s research grant schemes – large research grants, research leave awards, small research grants, research exchanges and research fellowships.

Madge Dresser, of UWE’s Regional History Centre in the Faculty of Humanities, received a research leave award to extend her research into Bristol’s Atlantic slave trade. Madge Dresser, whose previous projects have included helping to create a town trail linking buildings involved in Bristol's slave trade, is using the grant to research and write a book on the impact of the slave trade on the city between 1660 and 1838. She said, "There is an intense interest in the history of slavery at academic and popular levels and a tendency either to avoid or over-simplify the difficult questions around ethnic and cultural identity".

One of the two large AHRB research grants, worth over £100,000, was awarded to Steve Hoskins of the Faculty of Art, Media and Design. His team is setting up the UK’s first centre for research into old printing techniques, which aim to revive a high quality but labour intensive printing process using the advantages of 21st century digital technology.

Steve Hoskins commented: “This is one of nine AHRB grants awarded to the Centre for Fine Print Research. This success emphasises our international reputation for research in this area”.

UWE had particular success in winning small research grants from the AHRB, receiving a total of eight awards, more than any other university in the UK.

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