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. Find out more about the CDP scheme on the AHRC website.

We are putting out a call to academics who would like to co-supervise a CDP PhD in partnership with The National Archives. Two CDPs will be available starting in the academic year 2022-23, 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.

Please see below for full guidance and a timetable of the process.


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

All expressions of interest should be completed by the potential academic first co-supervisor, in collaboration with a potential first co-supervisor at The National Archives. We ask that you do not provide the name of a potential co-supervisor without their consent.

Initial enquiries

All academics interested in co-supervising a CDP PhD should inform our Research and Academic Engagement team in the first instance. Please contact us with a couple of lines about your PhD idea. If you already know a member of staff at The National Archives that you would like to co-supervise with, please include them in your email. If you do not have an existing contact at The National Archives, our team can potentially match you up with an appropriate co-supervisor.

Once we receive your initial enquiry, we will let you know if we can support your expression of interest.

Please submit your initial enquiry to by 17:00 on Friday 27 August 2021.

Expression of interest

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

Please submit your expression of interest to by 17:00 on Friday 17 September 2021.


Please note the following:

  • Each member of staff at The National Archives can only be named as first co-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. Please take a look at our current PhD opportunities or find out more at the CDP website

We particularly welcome expressions of interest that include digital methodology.
Expressions of interest will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Importance, originality, innovativeness and feasibility of the proposed research
  • Likely contribution to The National Archives’ strategic objectives and plans, including our business plan, Archives for Everyone, 2019-23
  • Demonstrable links to The National Archives’ collections or expertise
  • Availability of members of staff at The National Archives with skills to co-supervise the project


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


  • Friday 27 August 2021: deadline for initial enquiries.
  • Friday 17 September 2021: deadline for expressions of interest.
  • Early October 2021: 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 limited number of applicants will be invited to go forward and develop full CDP proposal forms.
  • Friday 19 November 2021: deadline for CDP proposal forms.
  • Late November 2021: light-touch internal review of CDP proposals at The National Archives. Applicants may be contacted for further information if required.
  • Mid-January 2022: 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 two studentships to nominate for AHRC funding. Applicants will be informed of the outcome and given feedback on their proposals.
  • March 2022 (subject to confirmation from the AHRC): selected studentships will be advertised to students, to start in October 2022.

Find out more

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