Collaborative Doctoral Partnership – expressions of interest

Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships (CDPs) are PhD studentships jointly supervised by heritage organisations and Higher Education institutions, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The CDP scheme is a unique opportunity for academics to engage with the heritage sector, collaborate with The National Archives’ research-active experts, and support a student to develop a distinctive research pathway. Read more about the CDP scheme.

We recently put out a call to academics who would like to co-supervise a CDP PhD in partnership with The National Archives. Three CDPs will be available starting in the academic year 2021-22, subject to confirmation by the AHRC.

This is a competitive two-stage process across several months, beginning with an invitation for academics to submit expressions of interest detailing their proposed research topic. We particularly welcome expressions of interest that include digital methodology.

Please see below a timetable of the process.

The National Archives is now reviewing all expressions of interest and will select a limited number to be developed into full CDP proposals.

Expressions of interest will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Importance, originality, innovation and feasibility of the proposed research
  • Likely contribution to The National Archives’ strategic objectives and plans
  • Demonstrable links to The National Archives’ collections and research priorities
  • Availability of members of staff at The National Archives with expertise to co-supervise the project; department heads will confirm supervisory capacity


  • Friday 4 September 2020: deadline for initial enquiries from academics.
  • Friday 18 September 2020: deadline for expressions of interest.
  • By early October 2020: all applicants will be informed of the outcome of The National Archives’ review of the expressions of interest and brief feedback will be provided. A maximum of nine applicants will be invited to go forward and develop full CDP proposal forms.
  • Friday 20 November 2020: deadline for CDP proposal forms.
  • Late November 2020: light-touch internal review of CDP proposals at The National Archives. Applicants may be contacted for further information if required.
  • Mid-January 2021: external panel of academics, with expertise in relevant fields, will meet to assess the CDP proposals according to the AHRC’s grading scale. Based on this assessment, they will select three studentships to nominate to the AHRC. Applicants will be informed of the outcome and given feedback on their proposals.
  • March 2021 (subject to confirmation from the AHRC): selected studentships will be advertised to students, to start in October 2021.

Keep up-to-date with all news related to our CDPs – follow us on Twitter or sign up to our monthly research newsletter by sending us an email.