This year, the Research Centre for the Humanities (RCH) celebrated its first seven years of operation. The RCH was established to initiate a public discussion regarding the difficulties that new researchers come up against in the field of Humanities and Social Sciences. For the past seven years, we conducted a yearly funding program for post-doctoral research projects addressed to early-career academics. Parallel to this, we have conducted an interdisciplinary and innovative research project entitled “The 1821 Digital Archive” as well as we have organized numerous academic events regarding the present state and the future of Digital Humanities.
In the context of these yearly research projects, the RCH cultivated strong bonds with the people who addressed us: we encouraged personal contact and sought to stay “connected” with those who were supported through the annual public calls or worked with us on other projects. The trust that was gradually and steadily built has had a clear impact on the level of the RCH’s interaction with communities of young scholars. This impact manifests itself in the vivid response to public calls for participation in workshops, seminars, publications and working groups, as well as in the active digital community that follows our Centre through social media.
Drawing on the experience of these past years, we recognize the challenges facing young scholars and the difficulties involved in attaining the material and immaterial means for research. At the same time, we clearly see the benefits of networking among members of the young scholars’ community.
Within this context, we are happy to introduce the RCH Fellowship. The RCH invites young researchers to join us in an experimental project whereby they will be offered, not only an institutional affiliation, but also material benefits: financial support for a 3-6 month period as they prepare their research proposal for submission to funding bodies, scientific guidance from experienced academics in the Humanities and Social Sciences, technical support in the actual submission process. Furthermore, the RCH will offer its new, hospitable space where researchers will be invited to work, meet, discuss.
As part of the mutual support that is one of the cornerstones of the Commons, RCH Fellows, in turn, will return a small percentage of their potential funding back to the Centre to be used for the support of the next generation of Fellows. Additionally, each Fellow will organize an academic event (a seminar, a conference, a lecture etc.) as an opportunity for promoting public discussion on the topic of their proposed research project. Thus, the RCH aspires to become a space (both physical and symbolic) in which relations of cooperation, mutual support and exchange of ideas can be developed between young researchers in the Humanities.