Collaborative Doctoral Awards

Supported by

Arts and Humanities Research Council

The British Museum supports up to six new research students a year to study for a PhD at a UK University through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Awards scheme.

About the programme

The British Museum supports more than 25 research students researching topics that support our work. Most are funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme.

Under the Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme students are jointly supervised by a member of Museum staff and a supervisor from their University. Students have the opportunity to base their research at the Museum and learn more about how the cultural heritage sector operates. Topics are proposed by a member of Museum staff in collaboration with a colleague from a UK University and chosen on their academic strengths and clear support for the Museum’s objectives. The studentships are administered by the universities, with AHRC funds supporting academic fees and student maintenance and the British Museum providing additional financial support for travel and related research costs. Students can also take advantage of a joint training scheme run by jointly by all the Collecting and Heritage institutions that support the Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme.

We welcome ideas for possible studentships. Experience shows that successful proposals have spent time in developing a proposal that both co-supervisors are committed to.

If you are interested in discussing an idea for a proposal, or to explore what ideas they may have please contact the research student coordinator, Andrew Meek or a relevant curator, scientist or other member of Museum staff to discuss ideas.

Further information about Collaborative Doctoral Partnership studentships is available on the Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships website.

Research priorities

The British Museum actively promotes research to support, directly or indirectly, the future care, display or other uses of objects in the Museum's collection, and in other collections, and to help people learn, understand and be inspired by human history through objects.

We are looking for collaborative doctoral research projects that will investigate

  • The 'lives' of objects from their making, use, reception, loss, collection and later use and understanding.
  • What objects can reveal about the social, cultural, religious, creative and political history of their makers, users, owners, depositors and collectors.
  • How objects can be best cared for in order to ensure their preservation for future generations of researchers and the general public.
  • How objects and their histories can most effectively be presented, exhibited and explored through different media and forms of public and learning programmes.


Each year we may highlight particular areas within these four strands that the Museum would like to encourage proposals from, but will always consider strong applications that fall outside these highlighted areas.