Call for Proposals for AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships

British Library PhD students

Academics at UK universities are invited to submit proposals for AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships with the British Library. We will support up to three co-supervised PhD projects, to start in October 2020, developing our specially selected research themes.

Published date:

The British Library’s is now accepting applications for AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships (CDP) proposals. The application deadline is 22 November 2019.

AHRC CDPs provide funding for PhD research drawing on our collections, resources or expertise. The research is co-supervised by the Library and selected academic partners at a UK universities or Higher Education Institutes (HEIs).

Each year, the Library selects a limited number of strategic research themes around which to develop these partnerships. For CDPs starting in October 2020, the selected research themes are:

(Click on the links for more details about each theme and the BL co-supervisor)

Please note: The British Library has an allocation of three studentships from the AHRC for this round of the CDP programme. Consequently, not all of themes above will be developed into CDPs. In January 2020 we will select one HEI partner for each of the three CDP studentships that we are able to allocate. This will be done through an assessment panel taking account of:

  • the academic viability, timeliness and potential impact of the proposed development of the research theme
  • how well this will complement British Library collections, resources or expertise
  • the fit of the proposal to the applicant’s research interests and expertise
  • how the applicant and their department propose to support the training, development and wellbeing of the PhD student over the course of the project
  • how the applicant and their department propose to manage the co-supervision of this project with the British Library and their track record in collaborating with non-HEI partners
  • the commitment of the applicant and their department/HEI to PhD recruitment and selection processes that support openness, inclusion and diversity
  • the fit of the proposal to the overarching aims and objectives of the BL collaborative PhD programme and the wider AHRC CDP consortium

Once selected, the HEI academic supervisor may refine the research topic further with the Library supervisor in order for each partner to gain maximum benefit from the collaboration. The successful PhD candidate will contribute to the development of the final agreed research project once recruited.

How to apply

Applicants must be academics of postdoctoral standing based at UK universities or HEIs.

To apply, download and complete the application form and send it via email, along with a two-page CV, to

If your proposal is for there to be joint HEI supervisors, please provide a CV for each supervisor.

The British Library expects all applications to have been given the consent of the applicant’s Head of Department.

The application deadline is 17.00 on 22 November 2019.

Funding details

CDP projects are expected to last up to four years’ full time (or part time equivalent). Selected HEI partners will be awarded AHRC Training Grants that can support up to four years of tuition fees and PhD stipend payments (at standard UKRI rates).

Projects must include a range of professional development opportunities for the student, including training that will support career development – either as aspects of the project that are ‘built in’ from the start or as opportunities that are developed over the course of the project. These opportunities should ideally take place within years 1-3 of the project, with the final year focused on completion of the research and submission of the PhD thesis.

Direct costs arising from training or development activities (such as travel or accommodation expenses) that cannot be met through other sources of funding may be charged to the AHRC Training Grant. This will reduce the maximum period for which the student can receive a PhD stipend.

In addition to AHRC funding for the studentship, the British Library provides financial support to the student for research-related costs of up to £1,000 a year.

We provide our collaborative doctoral students with staff-level access to our collections, expertise and facilities. The students also benefit from the dedicated cohort development programme delivered by the Library in tandem with the other museums, galleries and heritage organisations affiliated to the AHRC CDP scheme.

For more details about our collaborative PhD programme, visit

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