Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships: round four

To clarify some existing content please note the following regarding a partner Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP): a less experienced non-HEI might also apply as lead partner in a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) with a HEI, meaning that a non-HEI can partner a HEI in their application. This option is open to a smaller non-HEI, or those with less experience of supporting doctoral students.

Apply for funding to provide high quality doctoral training as a collaborative doctoral partner.

The application must be from a non-higher education institution either:

  • as an individual organisation
  • as a consortia
  • with a university partner.

Your proposal must be:

  • aligned to the organisation’s priorities
  • within AHRC’s remit.

We aim to support up to 50 doctoral studentships per year for three years.

The first cohort of students will start in October 2024.

Who can apply

Applications are welcome from non-higher education institutions (non-HEIs) located within the UK.

Non-HEIs can be any type of organisation that has the research capacity to ‘host’ doctoral students.

Examples of the type of organisations include a wide range of creative and cultural organisations contributing to arts and humanities research, for example:

  • galleries
  • libraries
  • museums and archives
  • the creative industries
  • public and third sector organisations.

Non-HEIs do not need to have held previous awards under this scheme or the Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) scheme to be eligible to apply or have independent research organisation status.

However, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the capacity to manage at least three studentships per year.

Smaller non-HEIs may wish to submit a joint application as a consortium. If successful, the consortium would be the collaborative doctoral partner.

Organisations applying as a consortium should ensure that there is a clear strategic rationale for holding a single allocation between them.

One of the organisations will need to be nominated as the lead organisation. AHRC will liaise with the lead throughout the application process and in managing the award if the application is successful.

A less experienced non-HEI might also apply as lead partner in a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) with a HEI, meaning that a non-HEI can partner a HEI in their application.

This option is open to a smaller non-HEI, or those with less experience of supporting doctoral students.

You will need to demonstrate why this arrangement will enable you to participate in the scheme in a way that applying alone or as part of a non-HEI consortium would not.

The non-HEI must be the lead partner and they must be able to demonstrate an existing commitment to supporting postgraduate research. For example within organisational research strategies and policies.

The non-HEI will work in partnership with the HEI and draw on the HEI’s expertise in postgraduate support. The HEI will need to state their commitment and how they intend to support their non-HEI partner.

The HEI partner will be permitted to host up to 50% of the studentships awarded to this partnership.

The non-HEI partner will be expected to partner with other HEIs to develop and support research proposals. A university museum and gallery can partner with their parent HEI to form a partner CDP.

University museums and galleries, or other HEI-managed organisations, are eligible to apply under the CDP scheme.

Should they be successful, up to 50% of the doctoral projects that are subsequently selected for nomination to the AHRC would be permitted to be in collaboration with the parent HEI.

Consortium collaborative doctoral partners may be thematically focused or regionally or geographically focused.

It is permitted for a non-HEI to be part of more than one consortium. For example, where a department wishes to be part of a different thematic consortium to the rest of the organisation.

A single department may not be part of more than one consortium. In all cases, proposals should include a strong rationale for the partnership, and the choice of partners involved.

In cases where a non-HEI does include departments in different proposals, it would not be permissible for a department which was included in an unsuccessful proposal to access studentships from a successful bid with which their organisation was involved.

Who cannot apply

This scheme is not open to universities or individual researchers or academics.

What we're looking for

The aim of the CDP scheme is to support excellent collaborative research training through:

  • giving non-HEIs greater autonomy in the selection of doctoral projects they would like to support and supervise
  • providing non-HEIs, individual organisations or consortia with a firm funding horizon of CDAs to support their research training strategy. And to enable the development of enhanced programmes of doctoral study that provide students with career development opportunities outside the standard academic route
  • fostering collaboration between CDP-holding organisations and consortia in the development of wider training and development opportunities for the doctoral students they support.

Awards available

AHRC is intending to offer up to 50 doctoral studentships per year, for three years, through the CDP scheme.

Individual CDPs can apply for a minimum of three students per year.

Doctoral projects would be aligned to the organisation’s priorities and undertaken with a university partner.

All doctoral projects will need to be within AHRC’s remit and the first cohort of students would start in October 2024.

You should state in your application the number of studentships per year that you are bidding for (minimum three per year).

However, you should bear in mind that this will need to be justified in relation to your track record of engagement with postgraduate research and training.

You should note the total number of awards available for the scheme. To achieve a balanced portfolio, it may be necessary for AHRC to award fewer studentships than requested.

The CDP scheme will commit to funding 150 studentships (in total) but a small number of studentships will be held back for equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) purposes.

The process for allocating these EDI-focused awards will be communicated at a later date.

What we are looking for

We will need to understand how you will support collaborative doctoral research, ensuring that:

  • individual student needs are considered and met
  • students are given appropriate supervisory support, access to resources and unique training, and development opportunities to deliver their studies effectively.

We want to know:

  • about the previous experience you have of supporting collaborative doctoral research
  • how becoming a CDP award holder will support wider research strategies within your organisations
  • how you intend to manage this award effectively (for example, by ensuring clear and robust arrangements are in place for project and supervisor selection and ongoing review).

An EDI plan will need to be submitted as part of your application so we can understand how you intend to meet and adhere to EDI good practice principles when managing your award.

You will need to ensure that:

  • students from diverse backgrounds are recruited in a fair, open and transparent way
  • any barriers to engagement are mitigated
  • all students receive ongoing support, according to their needs, to deliver the best research they can.

We want to find out how you intend to develop project proposals and relationships with a wide range of HEIs.

We also want to find out how you intend to work with other CDP award holders to provide enhanced research training and development opportunities for students within the four-year period of their studentship award.

Cohort Development Group and collaborating with other award holders

AHRC expects successful non-HEIs and consortia to work together to further enhance the training and development opportunities available to CDP students, and to share good practice.

This is known as the Cohort Development Group and AHRC will provide additional funding to enable coordination and support for these activities.

CDP award holders will need to commit to participating and contributing to the group and provide in-kind financial contributions. For example, use of time, space and expertise.

Collaborating with HEIs

A key component of the CDP scheme is the collaboration and partnership between the non-HEI (the overall CDP award holder) and HEIs they choose to partner with (who will become the training grant holder for individual CDAs) to develop different research proposals.

Non-HEIs will work closely with a range of HEIs to develop proposals, recruit, supervise and support students and manage CDP studentships.

This collaboration and the development of these partnerships is one of equality, where one partner is not simply a support for another.

Ongoing decision making, support for students and management of awards is a joint process with both partners feeding into it on an equal basis.

EDI

AHRC wishes to support students from a diverse range of backgrounds and ensure any barriers to participation are mitigated.

CDP holding organisations will be required to put in place a recruitment strategy that demonstrates a commitment to processes that reflect and embed EDI principles.

In the application, we will expect the submission of an EDI plan outlining how you will ensure recruitment of students follows a robust set of processes that include transparent decision-making structures and an appropriate and open advertising strategy, in line with UKRI’s EDI policy.

The plan will need to outline how the CDP will work with the HEI partner and any other collaborators to ensure all recruited students have equitable access to opportunities and receive the support they need to successfully complete their studies and develop their careers.

AHRC will require CDPs to put in place monitoring of these arrangements, across the consortium partners, if applicable, to enable it to review the effectiveness and openness of its recruitment process and strategies for student support.

This will be an ongoing process of review and analysis. Where this process identifies concerns, responsive changes should be implemented.

How to apply

Case for support

The case for support should:

  • not exceed six sides of A4
  • be in Arial size 11pt font.

You should provide the following information in the application form and case for support.

Organisation details

Please provide the name of the organisations applying and the name and contact details of the person who will be acting as lead for the administration of the application and subsequent award, if successful.

Where non-HEI organisations are collaborating in a single proposal, please list all the partners involved. It will be necessary for one partner to be clearly identified as the administrative lead for the partnership.

For partner CDPs, if a non-HEI and HEI are collaborating, the non-HEI partner will be the lead partner.

However, please also state the name and contact details for an individual from the HEI who will act as the lead contact at the HEI.

Number of studentships requested per cohort

Organisations should apply for a minimum of three studentships per year.

When deciding on the number of studentships to request, organisations should carefully consider their capacity to support students both in staff time and financially, as well as their governance arrangements for selecting projects, supervisors and students

This will be one of the criteria considered by the panel and numbers may be reduced if it does not find sufficient justification for the number requested in the application.

If the panel does not find sufficient justification for the minimum size of award (three studentships per year), no award will be made.

Summary rationale for the application

Please provide a summary of the rationale behind your application:

  • your strategy and vision
  • your commitment
  • your aims and objectives
  • the potential benefits to the organisations, students and the wider public.

The summary should be accessible to a variety of readers, including the general public.

This summary may be used for case studies or published on AHRC’s website should your proposal be successful.

It may also be used for general publicity purposes and as a basis for answering enquiries from the media and others about the research and research training strategy.

Please outline your vision for the award and give detail of how potential studentships will fit into the research strategy of the organisation (or organisations) and a rationale for seeking a CDP.

Applications should outline the priority research areas that may be addressed by the doctoral students over the period of the CDP and explain clearly what additional benefits will arise for the organisations, their mission and the world-class research supported.

Please note, that whilst the opportunity for studentship projects can outline broad priority areas, it is not possible to ring-fence awards for specific projects or organisations.

For partner CDPs, if you are a non-HEI applying in partnership with a HEI, please outline your rationale for applying in partnership.

We support interdisciplinary research (for example, Heritage Science) proposals but ask applicants to demonstrate how interdisciplinary research will benefit the arts and humanities research landscape.

Project and supervisor selection

Use this section to outline how you will engage university researchers to develop projects and collaborations to ensure a broad range of applicants and applications (in addition, how you will select projects for support).

You should outline the criteria you will use to select appropriate projects, in particular, how you will ensure that a proposed project has a robust academic focus, but also how it will provide the student with wider development opportunities.

The projects should be truly collaborative in nature (jointly conceived by the academic and non-HEI supervisors and structured to be delivered as a joint programme of work).

The non-HEI and the HEI partners will play an equal role in shaping the studentship and then supervising and supporting it.

For interdisciplinary research proposals, we ask that students be given supervisory support from supervisors covering the different disciplines the research will explore.

Where the application is submitted by a consortium of non-HEI organisations, this section of the application should also be used to explain how the project and supervisor selection process will be managed across the consortium.

Pre-determined allocations of studentships between partners in a consortium will not be accepted.

Please give details of the involvement of any advisory body or external input into your selection processes.

Student selection

Outline the CDP holding organisations approach to recruitment, detailing how, in collaboration with a range of university partners, the recruitment and selection will be organised to ensure fairness and equality and to support the best future researchers.

Read UKRI’s EDI policy.

Please note you will need to submit an EDI plan (see the ‘EDI plan’ section under ‘how to apply’).

In this plan, you will need to outline how you will ensure recruitment processes will ensure students from a diverse range of backgrounds are encouraged to apply and any barriers to participation are mitigated.

Ways of mitigating barriers to inclusion might include, for example, targeted advertising and recruitment days for students from particular backgrounds or with specific needs or mentoring programmes to support students throughout the studentship experience.

Ensuring recruitment panels are made up of members from diverse backgrounds and panel members are given EDI training on issues such as unconscious bias.

You might also consider developing a system of anonymised applications.

Enhancement of student experience

Enhanced student experience is a primary aim of the CDP scheme.

You should outline how you will seek to provide students with an enriched doctoral training experience, in particular, outlining the approach to enabling students to undertake additional development opportunities as part of a richer PhD programme.

The intention is to support doctoral training that will give students the skills and experience needed to produce a high quality thesis and to enable them to pursue careers either in the academic sector or in other sectors.

It is important that organisations offer more than access to resources, collections or archives.

Assessors will be looking for commitment to placement activities and opportunities for students to be involved in the organisation on a wider scale. Assessors will expect to see details of training provision.

However, they will also be looking for details of how the organisations will seek to give students the opportunity to put training into practice, both for use in their research activities and career development.

Applications should also indicate how the cohorts of students will be given the opportunity to interact and support each other.

Please outline your commitment and the input you will be able to make to the Cohort Development Programme.

Supervisory capacity and supervisor training and support

The application should demonstrate sufficient staff capacity to provide supervision and training for the number of students requested across the duration of the CDP award.

Assessors will also wish to see how staff will be trained and supported, and their effectiveness as supervisors monitored, as well as how consideration of workloads and existing studentship supervision is considered in decisions about selecting studentship projects.

Provision of training support

In this section, you should give details of training offered by the organisation, partnership or consortium as standard, such as inductions, and specialist training opportunities that may be offered to candidates where relevant to their field of study.

Please provide details on how training requirements will be identified, and the process for ensuring that these are provided to students.

AHRC has a research training framework for doctoral students which it expects all award holders to follow for its funded doctoral students.

This complements the UKRI statement of expectations for postgraduate training (PDF, 167KB), which sets out common principles for the support of all research council funded students.

Financial support for students

The collaborating organisation is expected to make a financial commitment to the students recruited, recognising the higher costs which doctoral students may incur in undertaking a collaborative project (especially where the HEI and non-HEI partners are geographically distant).

Please set out here what funding will be made available to students, and how this will be managed.

Each organisation is expected to make an in-kind contribution to the Cohort Development Fund (for example, use of time, facilities and access to resources). Please set out here what you could offer.

Governance, monitoring and student progress

Please explain the governance arrangements for the CDP award, in particular how the organisations will ensure senior management oversight of their research training activities.

This should include how the organisations monitor the progress being made by students, the effectiveness of their supervisory support, and the availability of any necessary resources for their research or training throughout the period of their award.

Where the application is being submitted by a consortium or partnership, this section should make clear the governance arrangements across the consortium or partnership, as well as what responsibilities for monitoring training and student progress sit with individual organisations.

Partner CDP applications should also set out how governance, monitoring and student progress will be monitored in this partnership, noting that the non-HEI is the lead partner so must take a lead in this activity.

The HEI partner should play a supportive or advisory role in ensuring processes are planned, implemented and given the right support, and best practice principles are adhered to.

Track record of support for postgraduate research

Please provide an attachment (maximum of four sides) which gives details of the engagement of the organisations in postgraduate research and research training using the headings listed below.

This might include AHRC-funded awards, collaborative doctoral projects supported by other funders, or other ways in which the organisations have played a significant role in a doctoral research project.

If you are applying as a partner CDP (a non-HEI in partnership with a HEI), then please outline how the HEI partner will support their non-HEI partner in supporting postgraduate research and training.

Please provide information under the following headings:

  • type of activity, including project title (if relevant)
  • HEIs involved and academic staff member’s name (if relevant)
  • non-HEI staff member’s name and job title
  • start and end dates of the collaborative work
  • brief details of the organisation’s involvement (for example, full collaborative partner or provision of expert input on an aspect of a student’s project).

Letter of support

A one-page letter of support from the director of each organisation involved in the application should be provided.

This should demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to postgraduate research, its commitment to supporting the staff involved in student supervision, and any specific additional support or resources not otherwise mentioned in the application.

If applying as a partner CDP with a HEI, then we will require a letter from the pro–vice chancellor, or equivalent.

Each letter should be uploaded as a separate attachment.

EDI action plan

Please produce an EDI action plan (include as an attachment, do not exceed four sides of A4, Arial size 11pt font) outlining how EDI principles will be upheld in all aspects of being a CDP award holder in terms of:

  • recruitment of students
  • ongoing support of students
  • training
  • decision making
  • governance
  • management of awards.

The plan will need to outline how the CDP will work with the HEI partners and any other collaborators to ensure all recruited students have equitable access to opportunities and receive the support they need to successfully complete their studies and develop their careers.

AHRC will require CDPs to put in place monitoring of these arrangements, across the consortium partners, if applicable, to enable it to review the effectiveness and openness of its recruitment process and strategies for student support.

This will be an ongoing process of review and analysis. Where this process identifies concerns, responsive changes should be implemented.

Your approach to supporting EDI is expected to exceed all relevant legal obligations, including but not limited to those of the Equality Act 2010.

For example, you are expected to undertake open, merit-based and transparent recruitment of students, selecting candidates regardless of background or any protected characteristic as defined by the Equality Act (2010).

We encourage you to ensure your recruitment process is inclusive, that you seek to attract students from under-represented groups and to review your application criteria to ensure they do not introduce bias.

All staff involved in recruitment should be skilled in reducing bias and inclusive and evidence-based processes.

As a CDP award holder, you will be expected to collect information on students, including diversity monitoring data.

We encourage you to use monitoring data on protected characteristics and consider adding other aspects such as social inclusion and caring responsibilities if you have not done so already.

You are expected to ensure that supervisors receive support and training that they individually need to provide the highest quality supervisory support to their students.

And be aware of their responsibilities under the Equality Act (2010) to treat all students in a fair, open and non-discriminatory manner and also to be able to assist in ensuring student health and wellbeing.

The working environment for doctoral students should be inclusive, supportive and welcoming.

You must have clear, well-publicised policies, processes and training in place to prevent bullying and harassment, consistent with good practice.

There should be processes in place for people to raise concerns and you should act when they do.

Please structure your plan with the following headers.

Known equality, diversity and inclusion needs in your community

Include an analysis of any known or anticipated EDI issues within your doctoral community. Include any groups that are under-represented and any actions already taken.

Strategic actions to increase equality, diversity and inclusion

What action do you propose to take to improve EDI in your student cohort?

If you already have an EDI strategy, action plan or framework within your organisation, include some detail on how the plan has been developed, advice sought or other strategies utilised.

Plans for supporting students once recruited

Outline plans to ensure you continue to create an inclusive environment for students, founded on sound EDI principles.

Strategy for monitoring the delivery of this action plan

This should measure success and identify the need for improvements, as well as any governance, reporting or advice structures that are in place to support EDI on which you will draw.

Other points include:

  • plans for future recruitment rounds to increase diversity
  • possible challenges or barriers and how you will address them
  • other relevant actions.

Areas you may wish to consider are:

  • engaging potential students
  • advertising your studentships (for example, making this targeted to under-represented groups if appropriate)
  • support for individual candidates at application stage
  • recruitment practice (for example, using tie breaker approach if suitable and ensuring a diverse recruitment panel, anonymised applications, providing EDI training, including unconscious bias training, to recruitment panels)
  • consideration of positive action, or other targeted support activities
  • support for individual students (for example, mentoring programmes in place to give students specific support)
  • range and diversity of partnerships
  • collaborations with organisations with special expertise or interests relating to EDI
  • cohort support
  • support and advice for supervisors
  • administrative and financial arrangements and governance
  • communication and engagement activities
  • lessons learned from any previous strategies you have implemented
  • risk management.

Learn more about UKRI’s EDI policy.

How we will assess your application

Applications will be checked for eligibility and required content by AHRC.

Eligible applications will then go through specialist peer review by members of AHRC’s peer review college.

You will have a right to reply to assessors’ comments before the application is considered by a moderating panel where final grades and a ranked ordered list will be agreed.

The panel will make a recommendation to the AHRC Executive on which applications should be supported.

The panel will be made up of experienced assessors with a mixture of HEI and non-HEI backgrounds.

It is important that your application addresses as broad an audience as possible and does not assume prior specialist knowledge of the organisations involved in an application, or their expertise, resources or collections.

Assessors may use only the information provided within the application form.

Assessment criteria

Assessors will be asked to consider the fit of applications to the funding opportunity and assess the evidence provided against the following assessment criteria:

  • the extent to which the proposal sets out a clear and compelling collaborative research training strategy and the case made for how it supports the wider research strategy and ambitions of the organisations involved
  • the extent to which the application demonstrates a track record of engagement with postgraduate research
  • the extent to which the proposal sets out the provision of enhanced research training and development opportunities for students within the four-year period of their studentship award
  • the extent to which there are clear and robust arrangements for project and supervisor selection, including strategies for developing effective collaboration with a wide range of HEIs
  • the quality of the plans for managing student recruitment, including assurance on EDI to ensure the process is open, fair and transparent, and any barriers to participation are mitigated
  • the quality of the EDI plan which demonstrates that there is a commitment and clear strategy for recruitment and ongoing support, adhering to EDI principles
  • the quality of the governance arrangements for the consortium, including plans for reviewing student progress, and ensuring that necessary resources for their projects are made available
  • the quality of the specialist training, and wider professional development, which will be provided for students, and how individual student training needs are assessed and supported
  • the extent to which the organisations are providing financial support to CDP students in recognition of the higher costs that students on collaborative projects can incur
  • the quality of the provision for supervisor support and training, and the procedures for monitoring the effectiveness of supervisory support to students
  • whether the organisation or consortia has the capacity to take on the number of studentships requested
  • a commitment to engaging with the other CDP award holders to collaboratively provide support, development and training across the CDP student cohort.

Grade descriptors

The following grade descriptors will be used.

Grade six

This application is a high priority for funding.

This grade highlights an excellent proposal demonstrating the highest quality and standards of collaborative research training in its plans and strategy.

It provides a fully convincing case of how the organisations involved will enter in HEIs and provide significant and tangible added value to the research to mutually beneficial collaborations that HEIs can provide.

It excels against all the assessment criteria for the scheme and provides full and consistent evidence of a real commitment to added value in the doctoral research it will support within the proposed collaborative framework.

It provides clear evidence and justification for the management of student provision in terms of:

  • project and student selection
  • training provision
  • employment related skills development
  • student support
  • award management.

It provides confidence in its capacity to manage the number of studentships requested and has submitted an excellent EDI plan, demonstrating strong commitment and capability of upholding best practice EDI principles across the management of the award, for example:

  • student recruitment
  • ongoing support
  • monitoring
  • training
  • governance
  • decision making.
Grade five

This grade highlights a very good proposal demonstrating the highest quality and standards of collaborative research training in its plans and strategy.

It provides a high degree of confidence that the organisations involved will enter into mutually beneficial collaborations with HEIs and provide significant and tangible added value to the research training that HEIs can provide.

It substantially meets all the assessment criteria for the scheme and provides strong evidence of a real commitment to added value in the doctoral research it will support within the proposed collaborative framework.

It provides clear evidence and justification for the management of student provision in terms of:

  • project and student selection
  • training provision
  • employment related skills development
  • student support
  • award management.

It provides a well thought out and robust EDI plan which carefully considers commitment to EDI principles.

This application is a priority for funding.

Grade four

This grade highlights a good proposal demonstrating a high quality and standard of collaborative research training in its plans and strategy.

It provides a broad level of confidence in the ability of the organisations involved to enter into mutually beneficial collaborations with HEIs and provide considerable added value to the research training that HEIs can provide.

It meets all the assessment criteria for the scheme in some measure, though there are one or two areas of relative weakness in the case provided.

It has provided a sound EDI plan with a clear understanding of what is needed to ensure EDI principles are upheld in all aspects of the management of the award.

This application meets the criteria for funding.

Grade three

This grade highlights a satisfactory proposal in terms of the overall quality and standard of collaborative research training in its plans and strategy.

It provides some degree of confidence in the ability of the organisations involved to enter into mutually beneficial collaborations with HEIs and provide added value to the research training that HEIs can provide.

It broadly meets the assessment criteria for the scheme, though there are areas of weakness or some lack of evidence in the proposal for the management of AHRC’s funding or training provision.

The EDI plan is acceptable but has areas of weakness which need to be developed further.

This application is not recommended for funding.

Grade two

This grade highlights a proposal of an inconsistent quality where the proposed collaborative research training has some strengths but provides only limited confidence in the ability of the organisations to enter into mutually beneficial collaborations with HEIs.

It does not adequately meet the assessment criteria, and there are major weaknesses or flaws in its plans for its management of AHRC funding and the proposed training provision.

The EDI plan is inconsistent and does not provide reassurance that EDI principles will be adhered to across the breadth of the award.

This application is not suitable for funding.

Grade one

This grade highlights a proposal of an unsatisfactory quality in relation to the proposed collaborative research training. It is unconvincing in relation to the mutual benefits and added value of collaboration with HEIs.

It does not meet the assessment criteria for the scheme and does not provide satisfactory evidence and justification for its management of AHRC funding or proposed training.

The EDI plan is not acceptable and demonstrates lack of understanding of EDI principles.

This application is not suitable for funding.

Balanced portfolios

The moderating panel will be asked to provide AHRC with recommendations for a balanced portfolio for supporting excellent collaborative research training.

The panel will be empowered to recommend that a bid receive a lower number of studentships than requested if, either they are not convinced of the case made for supervisory capacity, or if by doing so, a more balanced portfolio can be achieved.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal, please contact your research office in the first instance. Please allow sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity

Email: cdp@ahrc.ukri.org

Get help with applying through Je-S

Email

jeshelp@je-s.ukri.org

Telephone

01793 444164

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Additional info

Background

The CDP scheme was introduced in 2012, with the first cohort of studentships beginning in 2013.

It is intended to give non-HEI partners (with a proven track record in postgraduate research) the opportunity to apply for a cohort of a minimum of three studentships per year over a three-year period.

Awards available

Organisations that are successful in their application to hold a CDP award will be allocated a ‘notional’ number of studentships per year.

The CDP organisation or consortium has the autonomy, within AHRC guidelines, to select the collaborative doctoral projects it wishes to support in collaboration with a UK HEI partner, and nominates these to the AHRC for funding.

The allocation is notional in the sense that the funding for each doctoral studentship is paid to the academic partner involved, rather than to the non-HEI organisation.

AHRC studentship awards provide funding to cover tuition fees and student stipend, in line with the council’s eligibility requirements. AHRC contributes to research costs in the form of a research training support grant.

CDP students also receive an additional payment to reflect the collaborative nature of their awards and the cost this can incur (for example, travelling between the HEI and non-HEI partners).

Each studentship will be funded by the AHRC for four years. The collaborating organisation is expected to make a financial commitment to the students.

They must recognise the higher costs which doctoral students may incur in undertaking a collaborative project (especially where the HEI and non-HEI partners are geographically distant).

CDP students can study full or part time.

Collaboration between CDP and Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP2) award holders

DTP2s are block grant awards made to consortia of research organisations. They support postgraduate studentships across the breadth of AHRC’s subject remit.

AHRC anticipates the CDP award holders working closely with the DTP2 award holders to ensure that there is a coherent and consistent approach to student training and development across AHRC’s studentship funding portfolio.

Successful applicants to the CDP scheme can also be partners on a DTP, either at the training grant-level or as a collaborative partner on individual studentships.

In addition to cohort development activities, AHRC wishes to encourage further collaboration between CDP holders, for example:

  • CDP holders may wish to work together to create multi-studentship projects around shared research themes
  • CDP holders may wish to support a joint project between them. The project can be counted fractionally against the allocations of the different partners involved (for example, 50:50 where two partners are collaborating, or a third against the allocations of three CDP holders).

Post-award management by CDP holders

Successful CDPs will be allocated a notional number of studentships per year over three years.

Funding for each studentship will be for four years’ duration with the expectation that this will include development activities, as applicable to meet the student’s needs, and the thesis will be submitted within the funding period.

Students may undertake studies on a part-time basis.

The non-HEI partner is required to provide supervisory time and desk space for the student as in-kind contributions.

It is expected that additional costs will be incurred by the student, especially where the HEI and non-HEI partners are geographically distant.

To cover this, the non-HEI partner organisation will be required to make a cash contribution to the student over and above the stipend provided by the AHRC.

CDP award holders will be required, on an annual basis, to provide AHRC with a list of projects (including academic supervisor and institution) they would like to nominate to fill their studentship allocation.

The academic supervisor will then need to submit a CDA form via Je-S to allow AHRC to make basic checks for eligibility, and to set up the training grants.

The funding award is made directly to the collaborating university in the form of a training grant, rather than to the CDP.

CDP award holders will be expected to submit an annual report to enable AHRC to gather evidence on the progress and benefits of the CDP scheme and further understand how award holders, HEI partners and students benefit from the scheme.

Award holders will be expected to reflect on monitoring, governance, recruitment, training and development processes, as well as EDI issues and the health and wellbeing of their students.

For further information on the responsibilities of HEI and non-HEI partners in collaborative doctoral training, including guidance on best practice, please refer to the AHRC training grant funding guide.

This guide should be read alongside the UKRI training grant guidance.

AHRC has a research training framework for doctoral students to which you will need to refer when outlining your vision for supporting your students.

This complements the UKRI statement of expectations for postgraduate training (PDF, 167KB), which sets out common principles for the support of all research council funded students.

Alumni

AHRC will expect CDPs to have robust monitoring arrangements in place to track doctoral students’ progression beyond the studentship (alumni careers) should AHRC request this information.

Supporting documents

Equality impact assessment: scheme (PDF, 254KB)
Equality impact assessment: funding opportunity (PDF, 268KB)

This is the integrated website of the seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK.
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