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Collaborative doctoral awards

We host a growing number of doctoral students engaged in research across the Science Museum Group. Our students work in a variety of ways to develop knowledge, gain professional experience and contribute to a range of programmes and projects.

We also coordinate the Science Museums and Archives Consortium, which offers AHRC-funded collaborative doctoral partnership studentships with us and other leading science museums and archives.

COLLABORATIVE DOCTORAL PARTNERSHIPS AT THE SCIENCE MUSEUMS AND ARCHIVES CONSORTIUM (SMAC)

The SMAC consists of the UK’s leading cultural institutions for the historical study of science. Our PhD students engage with interdisciplinary collections, develop innovative methodologies, and address key issues on science’s role in past, present and future societies.

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the SMAC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) scheme offers fully funded studentships for study towards a doctoral degree. Successful candidates are jointly supervised by subject and collections specialists at both their Higher Education Institute (HEI) and at one or more institutions in SMAC, which comprises:

  • BT Group Archives
  • Science Museum Group (National Science and Media Museum, Science Museum, Science and Industry Museum, National Railway Museum and Locomotion)
  • Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)
  • Royal Society
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

The scheme provides a special opportunity for doctoral students to work across both university and research-led museum and archives environments. Studentships are four years (FT), including up to six months’ professional development activities (e.g. placements, training). Students can therefore undertake a significant PhD research project while developing a range of valuable professional skills.

PROJECT SELECTION PROCESS

Proposals for new studentships are made jointly by a member of staff within a SMAC organisation and a member of academic staff at a UK Higher Education Institution (HEI). Named students can also apply in collaboration with a full supervisory team, as can partner organisations outside the SMAC.

Applications can be initiated by eligible members of staff at either a SMAC organisation or a HEI; but completed applications must be submitted by the member of staff based at the SMAC organisation.

BEFORE YOU DEVELOP YOUR PROJECT

If you are interested in developing a project, we encourage you to get in touch with the named contacts at each organisation in the first instance:

HOW TO APPLY

Application is currently closed.

PROJECT SELECTION ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

All project proposals will be scored on a 1-5 scale.

STAGE 1

Projects will be scored against the following criteria:

QUALITY

  • Key research questions, context, and methods
  • Main collections or activities associated with the project

IMPACT

  • How the project will contribute to the SMAC’s research priorities
  • The benefits the project will bring to the partner organisation(s)

STAGE 2

Projects will be scored against the criteria from Stage 1 plus the following criteria:

SUITABILITY

  • Feasibility as a 3.5-year doctoral project
  • Timeliness of the project

PEOPLE

  • Professional development opportunities for the student (e.g. placements, training, public engagement)
  • Suitability of the project’s supervisory team

EQUALITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

(Assessed via an Equality Impact Assessment)

  • Equitable opportunity & merit-based recruitment of students to projects
  • Support to promote inclusive research, training & working environments

ABOUT OTHER TYPES OF COLLABORATIVE DOCTORAL AWARDS

In addition to the Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme, the Science Museum Group has other PhD students with us working on placements. We also jointly supervise students funded through AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards awarded through Doctoral Training Partnerships, and we welcome enquiries about partnering on new Collaborative Doctoral Award applications to Doctoral Training Partnerships.

Science Museums and Archives consortium member organisations