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AHRC seeks views about the next phase of AHRC-funded studentships

Date: 24/09/2015

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) are developing ideas about the next phase of AHRC funded studentships, which will recruit students from October 2019. As part of this process we are looking for the arts and humanities community to reflect and comment on our proposals.

Postgraduate funding is a core element of the AHRC’s overall portfolio, spending over a third of its budget on supporting students.  The AHRC aims to support innovative training environments for doctoral-level research through awards made to Doctoral Training Partnerships. We hope to develop a robust structure where students will have the best opportunities to enable them to complete a high quality research projects and to develop a range of skills, knowledge and understanding necessary for their future employment. 

This next stage of development seeks to build upon the strengths and flexibility of the current arrangements as well as simplify the AHRC’s approach to doctoral funding.

A full outline of the proposed changes can be found AHRC Doctoral Training – Developing the Next Phase (PDF, 332KB).

Dr Ian Lyne, Associate Director for the AHRC commenting on the plans said: “The nature of the PhD in the arts and humanities has evolved considerably in the last few years, with a strong emphasis on providing students with a wide set of skills, and a broad understanding of the variety of careers in which their research training can make an impact.  The proposals we are setting out for discussion seek to build on this development, and set out how we see PhD training further evolve.”

We are proposing that in the next phase:

  • all AHRC studentships will be fully funded over four years to allow time for collaborative partnership work and broader experiences alongside a challenging research project
  • there will be an expectation that all Doctoral Training Partnerships will be collaborative between a number of university partners
  • we will provide funding for specialist networks
  • there will be no upper limit on the number of studentships to be awarded to a single Doctoral Training Partnership
  • there will be a requirement of a minimum level of co-investment from the Universities involved, alongside AHRC funding

Feedback and views are welcome from all interested parties via a Smart Survey. We are hosting two discussion events one in London and one in Leeds; Dr Lyne will outline the current proposals and facilitate discussions with those in attendance about the process and structure of the funding. We will also hold discussion meetings specifically with current AHRC PhD students in order to gain their views.

As part of our on going support for collaborative PhDs, we are also now moving to embed Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDA) in our existing Doctoral Training Partnerships and Centres for Doctoral Training. This will mean no longer running the stand-alone Collaborative Doctoral Award scheme after the current round, which will start in October 2016.  Collaborative doctoral research, where a PhD student is jointly supervised by a University and non-University supervisor, is and will continue to be a key dimension of the postgraduate training supported by AHRC.

We are keen to stress this will not impact on current CDA students and awards, or applications to the current round. There will also be no change to our Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme (which makes awards via major cultural institutions and consortia of non-university organisations). There are further FAQs (PDF, 115KB) available regarding this change.

Dr Lyne said: “The move to embed Collaborative Doctoral Awards within our existing Doctoral Training Partnerships reflects our view that this important form of PhD should now not be seen as a separate, special case.  Rather, it fits alongside the way that existing PhD training in the arts and humanities is changing in order to provide students with wider experience outside of their University environment.  Our existing Doctoral Training Partnerships and Centres for Doctoral Training are all developing extensive partnership arrangements with cultural and community organisations, as well as wider civic bodies and creative SMEs. They are therefore, are well-placed to discuss the development of collaborative doctoral projects alongside their other partnership work.”

For further information from the AHRC, please contact Danielle Moore-Chick on 01793 41 6021 or d.moore-chick@ahrc.ac.uk

Notes to Editors:

  • To register your interest in attending one of the events please see our events pages London and Leeds.
  • We will not formally be using social media to collect feedback or data on the AHRC Doctoral Training – Developing the Next Phase. However we will be using the hash tag #ahrcdtp to promote the smart survey and the events. Only formal responses via the Smart Survey to discussion document AHRC Doctoral Training – Developing the Next Phase (PDF, 332KB) will be passed onto the Review Group. However if you would like to discuss your thoughts with others on social media please feel free to use #ahrcdtp.
  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. www.ahrc.ac.uk
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