Dust sampling in the Great Court

Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme

Supported by

Arts and Humanities Research Council

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) awards a number of Collaborative Doctoral Partnership studentships each year for the Museum to allocate to projects to support our work.

Under the Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) scheme, students are jointly supervised by a member of Museum staff and a supervisor from a UK university. Students have the opportunity to base their research at the Museum and learn about how the cultural heritage sector operates.

CDP applications should come from a member of Museum staff and a member of staff from a UK university applying for funding for a specific project. There is a two-stage application process: 

  • Stage 1: First, applicants submit an initial expression of interest outlining the project. The screening panel will choose the outline proposals that go forward to the second stage. The deadline for expression of interest applications is 31 August 2023.
  • Stage 2: The applicants chosen by the screening panel will then submit a second application form describing the project in further detail. The selection panel will convene in early 2024 to choose which projects to support. Successful projects are then advertised in springtime to find the right student for the studentship.

Find out how to apply for CDP studentships below. The deadline for expression of interest applications is 31 August 2023.

For information about working with us on non-CDP doctoral projects, please email cda@britishmuseum.org.

Museum and university collaboration

Studentship topics are proposed by a member of Museum staff in collaboration with a colleague from a UK university. Proposals are chosen based on: 

  • Their academic strengths.
  • How well they support the Museum's research priorities (see below).
  • How the proposal will provide opportunities to develop the student's future career.

The studentships are administered by the universities, with AHRC funds covering academic fees and student maintenance. The British Museum provides additional financial support for travel and related research costs. 

Students can also take advantage of the Joint Cohort Development Programme offered by Collecting and Heritage institutions that support the CDP scheme. 

Research priorities

The Museum actively promotes research to: 

  • Help people learn, understand and be inspired by human history through objects.
  • Support the future care, display or other uses of objects in the Museum's collection, and in other collections.

CDP studentship proposals should support the Museum's Research Strategy. We're particularly interested in projects that: 

  • Have a clear relevance to future exhibitions and/or the development of future permanent galleries.
  • Will improve the care, conservation, presentation and use of the collections in areas such as learning and working with others.
  • Critically examine the history of the Museum's collection and the institution.
  • Build on and support the Museum's work internationally and across the UK.
  • Focus on under-researched parts of the collection.

While welcoming applications covering the above priorities, this year we particularly encourage project proposals that focus on the area of museum practice. These could include, but are not limited to:

  • Partnership and co-curation
  • Audiences
  • Conservation and collection care
  • Examining curatorial practice
  • Digital collections

Across all these priorities, the selection panel will look for projects that develop new approaches and methodologies for research in these areas.

How to apply

Stage 1: Expression of interest

Stage 2: Full project proposal

  • Proposals approved by the selection panel will be invited to make a full application by completing the Museum CDP application form.
  • Applications are for the studentship project and should come from a member of Museum staff and a member of staff from a UK university.
  • We do not accept applications from students seeking funding for their own project.
  • The deadline for submitting the full project proposal form via email to cda@britishmuseum.org is 24 November 2023.
  • Applications are assessed by a panel with members drawn from universities, other cultural heritage organisations and the Museum.
  • Studentships are then advertised in the spring by the university partner, to recruit the right student for the project.