Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships

The V&A awards up to three new studentships a year to support doctoral study at UK Universities, funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) scheme.

Since 2005, the V&A has worked with UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) on AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Awards, delivering on a wide range of doctoral projects. As part of the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) consortium that began in 2014, we have been able to award a number of fully funded PhD studentships anually, each of which is jointly supervised by specialists at the V&A and a HEI. The HEI administers the studentship, receiving funds from the AHRC for fees and maintenance. The Museum provides additional financial support to the student towards travel and related costs. The programme is helping us to produce a new generation of scholars working between the academic and heritage sectors and we are proud to host a thriving postgraduate community. Further details on the CDP schemes are available from the AHRC and CDP Consortium websites.

Calls for Expressions of Interest will open for the academic year 2021 – 22 in July 2020.

Due to the current pandemic, the museum is reviewing its timetable for developing Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships. A new call for Expressions of Interest from HEIs wishing to develop a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership project with the V&A for studentships starting in the academic year 2021 – 22 will open in July 2020.

We welcome applications for Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) studentships on any subject relevant to AHRC themes and the V&A collections. However we are particularly keen to encourage applications on the following:

  • Photography
  • Nineteenth Century collections
  • Digital objects and collections
  • Histories of collecting, including contested and ‘difficult histories’
  • Digital humanities
  • Embodied learning
  • Museums and community engagement

Please note: Due to the major move in 2020 – 23 of collections from Blythe House in Olympia to a new purpose-built Collections and Research Centre in Stratford's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, we are not currently able to develop CDP proposals related to the Theatre and Performance, Fashion or Textiles collections.

Studentship projects must be jointly proposed by a member of staff at the V&A and a colleague from a UK HEI. Students cannot submit proposals for projects, though supervisors can submit applications with a nominated student; those interested in following this route should consult the studentship FAQs below.

Completed Expressions of Interest must be submitted to ahrcresearch@vam.ac.uk in order to be considered. These will be assessed by an internal panel at the V&A. Those that meet the academic requirements of the PhD and the V&A’s research priorities will be supported in developing full length proposals. Applicants will be informed of the panel’s decision by early October.

Please refer to the following guidance when preparing your application:

Please address any enquiries relating to the V&A’s CDP scheme to: ahrcresearch@vam.ac.uk.

Information for prospective PhD students

Studentships at the V&A are advertised on the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership consortium webpage between January and June each year to start in the next academic year.