The Nahrein Network


Achievements 2022-2023

Take a closer look at what the Nahrein Network achieved in 2022-2023

Annual Report, October 2022 – September 2023


Learn more about the Nahrein Network's work and impact in Iraq.

Infographic displaying logos of the Nahrein Network and its partners

Research Grants Scheme

The Research Grants scheme funds Iraqi-led research into the sustainable development of Iraqi history, heritage and the humanities. The scheme relaunched in autumn 2022 with a deadline of 30 October 2022. We received 56 applications, of which 22 were considered eligible and sent for Peer Review. We shortlisted the best ten of these and invited them to develop full applications. By the end of the reporting period, two were ready to go to contract. 

Infographic chart showing number of applicants to Research Grants scheme

Visiting Scholars Scheme

The Joint Visiting Scholarships Scheme aims to enhance the capacity of Iraqi scholars to engage in the sustainable development of cultural heritage. It enables academics, cultural heritage professionals, NGO workers, and research students to visit the UK for 1-2 months for training and research, or to take up an online placement. The Visiting Scholarships Scheme is run jointly by the Nahrein Network with The British Institute for the Study of Iraq (BISI). During 2022-23, we held two calls, with deadlines in February and August. In total, we received 19 applications and four were awarded placements.

Infographic illustrating number of Visiting Scholarships applications and logos of their home and host institutions

Graduate Studentship Scheme

The UCL Graduate Studentship fully funds one eligible applicant a year to undertake an MA or MSc at one of the participating UCL departments: Department of History, the Institute of Archaeology, or the Bartlett Institute for Sustainable Heritage. We opened applications as soon as the UCL Graduate Prospectus came online in October 2022, and set a closing date of 30 November. We received 28 applications, shortlisted seven and awarded one MSc in Sustainable Heritage.  

Infographic chart showing number of applicants to UCL programmes for Graduate Studentship scheme


AcademIQ is a multi-year programme, led by Dr Mehiyar Kathem, designed to support Iraqi researchers in the arts, humanities and social sciences with academic skills development. AcademIQ consists of online research courses, provision of academic writing workshops and 1:1 academic mentoring.

Academic Research Course

This free online course is hosted on the platform UCL Extend. It consists of sixteen thematic units of 2–3 hours of independent study, released over the course of the year, offering conceptual insights, videos, readings, quizzes, and other activities designed to develop core skills in academic research. We received over 200 eligible applicants in summer and autumn 2022, 55 of whom were accepted to start in November 2022. A total of 12 students completed the course.

Infographic explaining the Academic research course and showing total number of applications and programme completions

Academic Writing Workshops

This free training programme is designed and led by Dr Ersun Kurtulus, Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations, Social Sciences University of Ankara. It offers in-depth training and group-work support for up to ten Iraqi academics in the arts, humanities and social sciences, in research and academic writing. Ten senior university academics from Iraq, including KRI, were selected for the first set of workshops, which ran over academic year 2022–23. The group met with the trainer eight times, six times online and twice in two-day, in-person workshops in Iraq. A total of seven participants completed a research paper as an outcome of this programme.

Infographic explaining academic writing workshop programme and showing number of applications and completions

Core Team Research Projects

Cultural Heritage Organisation — Rozhen Kamal Mohammed-Amin 

Following Rozhen’s move to KISSR, CHO has gone from strength to strength. It now has a very high public profile and reputation in KRI for innovative use of AR to engage publics emotionally in ‘difficult’ heritage — in both senses of ‘traumatic’ and ‘hard to grasp by non-experts’. The much-anticipated internship programme to develop interdisciplinary team-based projects to apply tech to heritage is now getting underway. 

The Forgotten City of Kish: reparative history and knowledge repatriation — Eleanor Robson 

In December Eleanor gave a well-received invited lecture about the project in Leiden, while Parsa made progress on editing the cuneiform corpus from Kish. Parsa’s appointment to a Junior Research Fellowship in Assyriology at Wolfson College, Oxford, from 1 October 2023, is also a successful outcome of this phase of work.

British Museum — Paul Collins 

Paul has started work on the history of the British Museum’s work in Iraq, and is beginning to set up a knowledge-exchange network for museums in the country. 

The Politics of Heritage in Iraq — Mehiyar Kathem 

In November, Mehiyar organised a session on heritage for Chatham House’s annual Iraq Initiative conference, and a closed round-table there for the new Iraqi Minister of Culture in February. He continues to publish and teach on the subject too. 

Infographic displaying core team and their respective research projects

Infographic displaying core team publications

Communications, Publicity and Media

Social Media

The Nahrein Network’s social media channels continued to grow over the year. We share and post on all our platforms on a weekly basis. Facebook and Instagram have gained a lot of followers compared to the year before and we can see an increase in Reach, Impression and Engagement levels overall. We have also added Meta’s Threads to our list of social media platforms. We have built a strong relationship with our audience by consistently updating our readers with the latest news and upcoming events. Across all platforms — Facebook, Instagram, X, YouTube, Threads — we gained over 1,300 followers in one year. 

infographic illustrating follower growth on all social media platforms


The Nahrein Network website is regularly edited and updated. A new Current Work tab has been introduced. This has links to: Visiting Scholars, Graduate Students, Research Grants, AcademIQ Programme and Core Team Research Projects. The Research Grants page and the Visiting Scholar page remain the most visited on the Nahrein Network website. Furthermore, users from Iraq account for nearly 60% of all site visitors.  

infographic illustrating most visited pages and traffic share by country


The Nahrein Network Newsletter is a bi-monthly circular that includes news, updates, and interviews with our graduate student and visiting scholars. Over the past 12 months, we have built a strong community of subscribers with a readership of over 1,300. The campaigns have been exceptionally successful, with an open rate of 55% compared to our peers’ performance of 40%. The click rate of 10.5% and the unsubscribe rate of only 0.1% are also ahead of our category peers. The majority of our readers are from Iraq, UK, and USA. 

infographic illustrating newsletter analytics including subscribers and open rates


The Nahrein Network organised four hybrid (in-person and online) webinars with Visiting Scholars and other distinguished guests over the summer of 2023. The webinars are all available on the Nahrein Network YouTube channel.

infographic illustrating number of in-person and online webinars


Over the past year we have finished uploading all Nahrein Network podcasts to UCL Minds, UCL’s podcast channel. It shares the knowledge, insights, and ideas of the UCL community, with a reach of over 532,000 and accessible on several applications. During the last 12 months and with the help of our interns we uploaded a total of 17 podcasts to UCL Minds, including 12 episodes from the archive and three newly recorded interviews. These episodes have over 10,000 plays, including one episode in the Top 10 tracks played on UCL Minds and another in the Top 25 tracks played.

infographic illustrating podcast analytics and episodes