About our Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships

What are Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships?

Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships (CDPs) are partnerships between heritage organisations and Higher Education institutions, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Each student has at least one supervisor at a heritage organisation and one at a university.

As well as working within their host heritage organisations, the students have a chance to get to know the wider heritage sector, extend their networks and belong to a cohort of CDP students (about 50 per year). They also participate in a range of development opportunities provided by the consortium of host heritage organisations.

CDPs offer distinctive opportunities for collections-based and applied research across the arts and humanities in partnership with the heritage sector. Each PhD is designed to contribute in practical ways to the research interests and strategic objectives of the host heritage organisation. A large proportion of CDP students go on to work in the heritage sector after completing their PhDs.

For more information see AHRC-funded collaborative studentships: Their nature and impact on partners, subject areas and students (2019).

How is The National Archives involved in the CDP scheme?

The National Archives is one of 14 heritage organisations, or consortia of heritage organisations, which hold CDPs in the third round of the scheme and work together as a consortium.

In this third round, The National Archives has been awarded an allocation of three studentships a year for three years, starting in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Through its CDPs, The National Archives aims to:

  • Collaborate with a wide range of university partners;
  • Help prepare students for future careers in heritage or Higher Education;
  • Pursue our unique and interdisciplinary research priorities and carry out our business plan, Archives for Everyone 2019-23;
  • Make a distinctive contribution to the broader field of arts and humanities research;
  • Unlock our iconic archival collection for the benefit of existing and new audiences;
  • Innovate our practice in ways that will deliver practical benefits to us and to the wider archive sector.

How do I get involved?

Each summer The National Archives puts out a call for proposals from academics who would like to co-supervise CDP PhDs. The two-stage selection process culminates in an external academic panel, held in January each year for studentships to start in the autumn. Selected studentships are advertised to students in the spring.

For updates on the selection process or to see which PhDs we are advertising to students, see PhD opportunities.