Professor Andrew Thompson

Executive Chair

Arts & Humanities Research Council

About Professor Andrew

Professor Andrew Thompson is the Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) International Champion. He is Professor of Global and Imperial History at University of Oxford, Professional Fellow at Nuffield College and the co-chair of the Global and Imperial History Centre.

At the AHRC, Andrew has secured a £19 million grant for Museums and Galleries, as part of the Strategic Priorities Fund, Towards a National Collection: Opening UK Heritage to the World. He was responsible for securing the £10 million Policy and Evidence Centre for Modern Slavery and Human Rights and a further £80 million Creative Industries programme, funded by the Industrial Strategy. In addition, Andrew is the UKRI Champion for the £1.5 billion Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the Newton Funds. He is also Chair of the UKRI Research, Innovation and Strategy Advisory Board. Andrew will step down as Executive Chair in early 2020.

Before joining Nuffield College, Andrew was Professor of Modern History and Director of the Centre for Imperial and Global History at the University of Exeter from 2011-2018. From 2009 to 2011 he was Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds and, prior to this appointment, he was Professor of Imperial and Global History at the University of Leeds.

Professor Thompson’s latest project is on international humanitarianism. His new book – ‘Humanitarianism on Trial: How a global system of aid and development emerged through the end of empire’ –will be published by Oxford University Press, and is linked to his research.

Professor Thompson has also been given access to previously unseen archives of the United Nations and the International Red Cross. Part of this research has been published in his 2016 article on Nelson Mandela, Political Detention on Robben Island and the Apartheid in South Africa  and his 2015 article entitled ‘Humanitarian Principles put to the test: Challenges to humanitarian action during decolonisation’, both published in the International Review of the Red Cross.

A further work, ‘Unravelling the relationships between humanitarianism, human rights, and decolonisation: Time for a radical rethink?’ has been published in Andrew’s co-edited Oxford Handbook on the Ends of Empire (Oxford University Press, 2018). Andrew’s current research closely aligns with a joint project, in partnership with Professor Sir Mike Aaronson, on International NGOs and the Long Humanitarian Century: Legacy, Legitimacy and Leading into the Future.

Another line of Andrew’s research examines postcolonial Britain and immigration in the twentieth century. His research on First Generation Asian Migrants in Britain (2005) was funded by the Institute of Public Policy Research and led to invitations to speak at the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and DCLG. More recently, Andrew was invited to present evidence to the Home Office as part of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review (2019).