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AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships

Current arts and humanities doctoral activity at the Library is taking place under the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships programme. This supports collaborative PhD research projects co-supervised with a UK university or other eligible Higher Education Institute (HEI).

Our HEI partners receive and administer the funds from the AHRC for the studentship and, in collaboration with the Library, oversee the research and training of the student. We provide the student with staff-level access to our collections, expertise and facilities, as well as financial support for research-related costs of up to £1,000 a year. The student also benefits from the dedicated programme of professional development events delivered by the Library in tandem with the other museums, galleries and heritage organisations affiliated to the CDP scheme.

Our CDP students enhance the research capacity and capability of the Library, open up unexplored aspects of our collections and help us engage with different research and public audiences.

Call for Applications for Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships to begin in October 2016

Application deadline: 27 November 2015

AHRC funding will be allocated to HEI partners to support CDP projects starting in October 2016 in the following areas of research (please click for more details):

The research themes have been selected by the Library based on their potential to lead to mutually beneficial partnerships which fulfil our wider strategic commitments and core purposes, as outlined in Living Knowledge.

We are particularly keen to exploit the potential of collaborative doctoral research to: capitalise on the breadth and depth of our collections and resources; develop our capacity for new types of research through identifying traditional and emerging methodologies (e.g. digital); open up Library content to broad user audiences; explore the contemporary resonance of our collections in national and international contexts.

Once selected, HEI supervisors will be encouraged to develop and refine their research theme with the BL co-supervisor, in order for all parties – the student, the HEI and the Library – to gain maximum benefit from the collaboration.

Studentships based on these themes will be advertised by the HEIs and the Library, and applications will be invited in open competition. Successful students will contribute to the final agreed research topic.

Studentships are awarded for 3 years as standard but Student Development Funding will be available (equivalent to an additional 6 months of funding per studentship). This is intended to allow time for the student to take up further training and skills development opportunities that are agreed as part of their PhD programme.

How to apply

This call is open to researchers of postdoctoral standing with a contract of employment at a UK HEI. The British Library expects all applications to have been given the consent of the applicant’s Head of Department.

To apply, complete the application form at the link below and send it to by 27 November 2015.

Applications will be assessed according to five criteria: development of the research theme; the proposed academic supervisor’s research interests and expertise; the ability of the HEI to support the student’s research and training needs; track record of collaboration with non-HEI partners; and the articulation of potential impact and benefits to the student, the HEI and the Library.

Applications will be assessed by a panel comprised of senior Library staff and external academic representatives. The panel aims to communicate its decisions to applicants in December 2015.

If you have any questions, please email

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