PhD research placements at the British Library

British Library PhD Placements

Our PhD research 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. Find out more about past research placement projects. 

Current opportunities 

We run an annual call for applications, inviting PhD researchers to apply to undertake any of our selected research placement projects. The successful candidate is selected through a written application process and interview, and a project start date is then agreed with the supervisor.

The broad scope and areas of the research placement projects is set in advance by the Library. In this way, the placement scheme reflects our current strategic priorities, ensuring placements make a meaningful contribution to our core work and purposes. A project profile for each research placement lists the expected tasks and outcomes, the training and experience expected to be gained by student, and any required knowledge or skills. Each project provides significant ownership responsibilities and opportunities for professional and personal development.

The next round of placement opportunities will be advertised in early 2020 and further information will be published on this page. 


Our PhD placements are open to all PhD students, as long as they have the support of their PhD supervisor and their Graduate Tutor (or equivalent).

International students are eligible if they have the right to study in the UK.

Most placements are also suitable for part-time students – this will be indicated on the individual project profile.

The duration for each placement is 3 months (or part time equivalent). 

Funding and support 

All placement students have their own desk and/or workspace, and are fully integrated into the team/department in which they are based. A dedicated work and development plan for each placement project ensures appropriate induction, training, supervision and support.

Our research placement scheme has been developed in consultation with Higher Education Institution partners and stakeholders. Students applying for a placement with us are expected to consult their Higher Education Institution or Doctoral Training Partnership/Doctoral Training Centre to ascertain what funding is available to support them. 

Please note that we are not able to provide payment to placement students. Expenses incurred in undertaking exceptional work-related travel during the placement (e.g. conference presentations, stakeholder meetings) will of course be covered by the Library. 

We strongly recommend to Higher Education Institutions that a PhD student given approval to undertake a placement is in receipt of a stipend – to a level at least equivalent to the RCUK national minimum doctoral stipend – for the duration of the placement. 

Any questions? 

Contact to find out more or to be added to our PhD research placements mailing list. 

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.

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