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 are putting 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 for full guidance and a timetable of the process.

Making an expression of interest

Potential academic supervisors need to be academic staff at Research Organisations (ROs) directly supported by the UK funding councils.

If you are interested in co-supervising a CDP PhD, please contact us as soon as possible (preferably by 17:00 on Friday 4 September 2020) to see whether we can support your expression of interest. We ask that you inform the Research team ( about your idea. If you already know a member of staff that you would like to co-supervise with, you can also contact them directly via our staff page.

If you receive a positive response to your initial enquiry, please complete the expression of interest form (Word, 0.05 MB) in collaboration with your proposed co-supervisor at The National Archives.

Please submit your completed form to

The deadline for the submission of expressions of interest is 17:00 on Friday 18 September 2020.

Please note the following:

  • Each member of staff at The National Archives can only be named as first supervisor on one expression of interest.
  • We do not generally invite re-submissions of ideas submitted to The National Archives in previous CDP rounds.
  • Prospective PhD students cannot apply for the CDP scheme at this stage. View our current PhD opportunities or find out more at the AHRC-CDP website.

The National Archives will review all expressions of interest and 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, meets 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.

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