AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships

CDP students British Library

Up to four AHRC PhD studentships are available each year to support collaborative research projects drawing on our collections, resources and expertise.

Published date:

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
  • build our collections and open up Library content to broad user audiences
  • explore the contemporary resonance of our collections in national and international contexts

Application process 

We select a limited number of strategic CDP research themes each year through internal staff consultation. This takes account of wider strategic commitments such as Living Knowledge. We then issue an open call for proposals from academics at UK HEIs interested in co-supervising doctoral research around one of these research themes. Applicants are invited to develop the theme according to their own research interests and expertise. The call window is usually open in October and November, for projects starting in October of the following year.

The selection of HEI academic partners is overseen by a panel comprised of senior Library staff and an external academic representative. Assessment takes account of:

  • the development of the research theme by the applicant
  • the fit to the proposal of the applicant’s research interests and expertise
  • the ability of the HEI to manage co-supervision with the Library, support the student’s training and development needs, and promote research engagement and impact
  • the track record of the applicant/the HEI in collaborating with non-HEI partners

Once selected, the HEI academic supervisor may further refine the research topic with the Library supervisor in order for each partner to gain maximum benefit from the collaboration.

Once recruited, the successful PhD candidate will contribute to the development of the final agreed research project. 

Student recruitment and funding 

Our HEI partners receive and administer the funds from the AHRC for the studentship and, in collaboration with the Library, oversee the recruitment, research and training of the student. 

All our CDP studentships must be advertised in open competition. Standard RCUK eligibility criteria apply. Studentships are awarded for 3 years. Additional Student Development Funding (equivalent to an additional 6 months of funding per studentship) is available to allow time for the student to take up further training and skills development opportunities that are agreed as part of their PhD programme. 

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. 

Further details 

Our strategic research themes and the application timetable and full guidelines for the next round of CDP projects will be published here when available.

Contact: Research.Development@bl.uk