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Science Museum Group

AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Studentship Proposals for the Science Museums and Archives Consortium—2019 Call

The Science Museums and Archives Consortium is delighted to announce the 2019 Call for Proposals for AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Awards to be supported through our Collaborative Doctoral Partnership.

About the programme

The Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) programme provides funding for doctoral projects jointly proposed by a university-based academic in collaboration with a member of staff at the Science Museums and Archives Consortium (SMAC).

Following appointment, doctoral candidates are jointly supervised by subject and collections specialists at both their Higher Education Institute (HEI) and at one or more of the institutions of the SMAC Consortium, comprising BT Archives, Science Museum Group (National Science and Media Museum, Science and Industry Museum, the National Railway Museum and Locomotion), The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers), the Royal Society and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

We encourage CDP applications on topics that are grounded in the studies of objects and practices relevant to the SMAC sites and institutions. Research topics should critically relate to the organisation’s collections, strategy, policy for future projects and collecting areas, conservation and collections management, as well as aspirations for new audiences.

We are keen to explore innovative methodologies in the theory and practice of curation and collecting, digitisation, archiving and preservation, object and collections discovery, and access and re-use in historical and contemporary organisational and societal contexts. Specific research priorities include:

  • Experiences of science and technology
  • Spaces, places and environments of science and technology
  • International perspectives on science and technology
  • Digital humanities, collections and engagement
  • Addressing under-representation, diversity and inclusion across collections and audiences
  • Visual culture and the senses in relations to objects, collections, museums and archives

Proposed projects must demonstrate academic originality, be appropriate for collaborative study at doctoral level, and fall into the AHRC subject remit. Projects will be funded for four years to allow for up to 12 months of professional development activities, which should also be outlined in the proposal. We particularly welcome applications that involve two of the collaborating museums and archives.

The scheme provides a special opportunity for doctoral students to work across both university and research-led museum and archives environments. Students are able to develop a significant PhD research project while developing a range of valuable professional skills. Research projects establish lasting relationships that benefit student and collaborating partners alike, providing access to resources and materials, knowledge and expertise that might not otherwise be available.


This is a two-stage collaborative process that may be initiated by either an HEI academic or member of staff at SMAC.

The deadline for the first stage is 13 September 2019 and we therefore recommend making initial contact no later than mid-August to informally discuss your proposal.

Requirements for stage 1 – Expressions of Interest

Please supply no more than 2-sides that answer the following:

  • What is the project title?
  • What is the project about?
  • What are the likely research questions?
  • What is the research context?
  • What are the main works or collections in this area?
  • What is the proposed approach?
  • Why is this a doctoral project?
  • What professional development opportunities might be available during this project?
  • Who will supervise the project?

Stage 1 proposals should be submitted as a Word document to [email protected] no later than midnight on Friday 13 September 2019.

Candidates selected for stage 2 will be notified and supplied with a form for the full proposal.

The deadline for Stage 2 is Friday 22 November 2019, with successful candidates being notified in January 2020.


Those interested in developing a research project are encouraged to contact Sarah Wade, Research Manager at the Science Museum ([email protected]) to discuss ideas in the first instance. You can also contact the Consortium members directly to inquire about possible areas of interest and request further details about priority research areas.