Press Office

Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

Press Release

Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers scheme – the search begins for the brightest academic minds with broadcast potential

A pilot scheme launched by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to find the next generation of public thinkers from within the academic community has received more than 1,000 applications.

Launched in November 2010 at Radio 3's Free Thinking festival of ideas, the scheme has generated a high level of interest. Emerging academics with a passion for communicating the excitement of modern scholarship to a wider audience were invited to apply to the scheme.

Over the next few weeks a judging panel will shortlist applicants, take them through a selection process and choose the 10 academics who will become Radio 3's resident New Generation Thinkers. They will benefit from a unique opportunity to develop their own ideas for Radio 3 and will have the chance to appear on-air in special New Generation Thinkers debates and sessions.

Those chosen from the initial applications will be invited to attend one of a series of BBC-led workshops in March 2011. Each day-long workshop will consist of an introduction to programme-making; a chance to hear from a regular Radio 3 contributor who is also an academic; a meeting with producers from Radio 3 arts programmes; an opportunity to develop original programme ideas; and finally a pitching session to win a place among the final 10.

Judging the applications will be Radio 3 commissioners, AHRC directors and academics.

Roger Wright, Controller Radio 3 and Director BBC Proms, says: "Radio 3 has a strong record in its support for emerging talent through the New Generation Artists scheme for musicians.

"There is a wealth of fascinating research being done by academics in universities and the exciting New Generation Thinkers initiative is a pilot scheme to help Radio 3 bring new voices from within universities alongside the many other disciplines we feature and to a wider audience."

Professor Rick Rylance, Chief Executive of the AHRC, says: "The AHRC has an active arts and humanities research base of around 16,000 in the UK so the fact we received over 1,000 applications for this opportunity shows that there is a real hunger and passion out there from researchers to talk about their work to a wider audience."

In the last nine months Radio 3 has broadcast programmes presented by academics on subjects as varied as 16th century Scottish history, Johnsonian linguistics, Turkish literature and the history of astronomy.

Its daily arts and ideas programme Night Waves has provided a platform for debate and commentary from scholars across the world as well as thinkers from a non-academic background.

As the judging process for Radio 3's New Generation Thinkers gets underway, Radio 3 broadcasts a debate recorded in front of a live audience at Radio 3's Free Thinking festival: Academics And The Media – Friends Or Foes?

Rana Mitter, Night Waves presenter and Professor of the History of Modern China, joins Rick Rylance, and a panel that includes Tim Kirby (former Channel 4 commissioning editor) and the historian Jon Conlin as they debate the tricky relationship between academics and the media.

The programme will air on Night Waves on Radio 3 on 26 January.

The judging panel consists of the following people:

  • Matthew Dodd, Head of Speech programming, Radio 3
  • Professor Rick Rylance, Chief Executive of the AHRC
  • Dr Philip Pothen, AHRC Head of Communications
  • Kirsty Pope, Producer, New Generation Thinkers
  • Professor Jonathan Bate, Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at Warwick University
  • Abigail Appleton, BBC Learning Commissioning Editor

More details can we found on the Arts and Humanities Research Council website.


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