Funding for 12 new studentships in the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) scheme

Two researchers discussing a book

Funding for 12 new collaborative PhD studentships

Published date:

We are thrilled to announce that The British Library has been awarded 12 new studentships in the Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) scheme funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, with the first four studentships beginning in October 2024.

The award comes as a recognition of the Library’s established track record as an Independent Research Organisation (IRO) and co-supervision of PhDs since 2005. The Library is able to offer its collaborative doctoral students an extraordinary breadth of collections, expertise and opportunities. Our collections include materials in multiple formats and languages, spanning 3,500 years of human history, through to contemporary and digital collecting. There is an incredible range of supervisory support from staff in curatorial teams, Digital Research, Digital Preservation, Research Services, Conservation & Collection Care, Collection Management, and Culture & Learning.


The Library has hosted over 40 CDP students since the launch of this scheme in 2012. As part of these collaborative projects, students engage with a range of activities that both provide them with professional development opportunities and support the work of our organisation.


These new studentships will be grouped around four priority research areas:

  • Collection histories - Research into the histories of our collection enhances and develops our understanding, informing how we manage and present them as a keeper of national memory. Studentships in this area may include provenance research; investigating the lives and legacies of collectors and institutions; histories of curation; conservation and dispersal.
  • New narratives - Our collection is full of stories that are relevant to contemporary issues and have the potential to engage new audiences, which need to be surfaced through high-quality research, including doctoral research. Such projects will inform many aspects of our long-term public programming, including exhibitions, live events, broadcasts, digital resources, events and publications.
  • Innovations in library and research services - Libraries are research infrastructure, and as the national library, we must continue to adapt how we provide national infrastructure and services across disciplines in response to changing needs and opportunities.
  • Policy and practice - Our practice-based research engages with areas including cultural and heritage policy and practice; issues of access, equality, diversity, and inclusion in libraries; co-collecting and co-curation; learning programmes; libraries’ engagement with creative industries and their social, cultural and economic value.


Doctoral research shapes how we present our collections to the public as part of our cultural and learning programmes, and research services. It provides vital input to how we can best serve diverse audiences in a changing world. In 2023, we celebrate the Library’s 50th anniversary, and we look forward to doctoral research continuing to play an important role in our work as a national library.


We will be seeking HEI partners for studentships starting in 2024 in the autumn of 2023. Keep an eye on our News space or sign up to our quarterly research newsletter by emailing