British Library PhD Placement Scheme

Two researchers pointing at the pages of an open book on a table

Our PhD placement scheme supports the professional development of researchers for future career paths both within and outside academia.

We host a range of projects each year, both based in our specialist curatorial teams and in areas such as research engagement, digital scholarship, corporate affairs and public policy. Here you can view a list of previous PhD placement projects at the Library.

Opportunities 

We run an annual call for applications, inviting PhD researchers to apply to undertake any of our selected placement projects. The duration for each placement is 3 months (or part time equivalent). Most placements are also suitable for part-time students, and there may be opportunities to undertake placements remotely. This will be indicated on the individual project profiles.

Successful candidate are selected through a written application process and interview, and project start dates are then agreed with the British Library placement supervisors.

The broad scope and areas of the PhD placement projects are set in advance by the Library. Projects reflect our current strategic priorities, ensuring placements make a meaningful contribution to our activities and purpose as a national library. A project profile for each placement lists the expected tasks and outcomes, the training and experience offered to the student, and any required knowledge or skills. All projects provide scope for students to define areas of focus depending on their own interests and and include a range of opportunities for professional and personal development. 

Our latest call for applications is now closed. If you would like to be added to our mailing list for future PhD placement opportunities, please contact us: Research.Development@bl.uk 

Eligibility 

We welcome applications to our PhD Placement Scheme from all current PhD students registered with a UK university. International PhD students are eligible to apply, subject to meeting any UK visa/residency requirements.

The Library is an equal opportunities placement provider and encourages applications from PhD students from all backgrounds.

PhD placement scheme applicants must have the support of their supervisor. Successful applicants must also secure the approval of their institution and training grant provider as necessary.

 Full eligibility criteria are published in the application guidelines for each round. 

Funding and support 

UK research funders, HEIs, Doctoral Training Partnerships and other postgraduate and early-career training providers encourage doctoral students to engage with research users and audiences outside the academic context, broaden their skill set and consider a wide range of career paths. The British Library PhD Placement Scheme is intended to provide such training opportunities.

It is essential that applicants obtain the support of their PhD supervisor in advance and that they ascertain what funding is available to them through their HEI, Doctoral Training Partnership or other sources to support the period of the placement. The Library strongly recommends that a PhD student who is given approval to undertake a placement is in receipt of a stipend at least equivalent to the current UKRI national minimum doctoral rate for the duration of the placement.

Students unable to secure sufficient funding through their institution, training grant provider or other sources will be invited to apply to the Library’s PhD Placement Fund for assistance.  

PhD placement projects

Archiving Activism

Exploring the archiving of radical protest.

Multimedia PhD theses

See our case study series on multimedia and non-text PhDs

All projects

PhD research placement case studies

More Case studies
…This placement introduced me to a career path I had not considered before.…

During her PhD research placement, Laura examined the Library’s holdings of North American migrant literature.

…Data visualisation tools allowed me to present a new perspective on the EAP projects in Africa…

Data visualisation tools allowed me to present a new perspective on the EAP projects in Africa.