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Collaborative doctoral awards

Following an application by the Science Museum Research and Public History Department, a consortium of the Science Museum Group Museums, BT Archives, the RGS-IBG and the Royal Society has been awarded eighteen AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral studentships over three years (starting 2016, 2017 and 2018)

To learn more about other partners in the scheme and training available to current CDP students visit the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Website

For more details of the funding of these studentships please visit the AHRC website

Available Collaborative Doctoral Studentships 2017

We are now inviting applications for seven studentships (3.5 years full-time) due to begin in October 2017 and funded by the Science Museums and Archives Consortium Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships scheme.

The AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships (CDP) scheme has allocated a number of studentships to non-HEI organisations, one of which is the Science Museums and Archives Consortium (SMAC). The consortium members (Science Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, National Science and Media Museum, National Railway Museum, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), Royal Society and BT Archives) have now nominated projects together with academic partners. All studentship projects require collaboration between a university-based researcher and the staff at one of the CDP consortium institutions.

Invitations to apply for these collaborative doctoral studentships are now open and are listed below.

False Teeth for the Masses: Artificial Teeth as Technologies, Prostheses and Commodities in Britain, 1848-1948

Organisations: University of Kent and the Science Museum
Application Deadline: Monday 1 May 2017

Brief Description:
The Centre for the History of Medicine, Ethics and Medical Humanities at the University of Kent in collaboration with the Science Museum invites applications for a fully-funded three-year PhD studentship on artificial teeth in Britain, 1848–1948. The studentship award has been made by the Science Museums and Archives Consortium under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme. The project, due to begin in October 2017, will be supervised by Dr Claire L. Jones at the University of Kent and Dr Oisín Wall at the Science Museum.

Full description and application details

Constructing and Consuming Imagined Futures: Advertising Healthcare to Publics and Professionals in Twentieth-century Britain

Organisations: University of Leeds and Science Museum
Application Deadline: Friday 24 March 2017

Brief Description:
The project will investigate, compare and explain the use of language, expertise and authority in printed advertisements and publicity produced for public audiences and medical professionals regarding different healthcare products and campaigns in twentieth-century Britain. 

Drawing especially on extensive records at the Science Museum and Boots Company Archive the student will focus on three case studies across the twentieth century.  This will provide a national picture of the interactions between healthcare producers and consumers before the NHS, shortly after it was founded, and once it was well-established.

Full description and application details

Making Electronics in Interwar Britain: Gendered Labour in the Thermionic Valve Industry

Organisations: University of Leeds and Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester
Application Deadline: Monday 3 April 2017

Brief Description:
This project looks at the mostly female workforce that brought about the enormous boom in British electronics after the First World War. This saw millions of fragile hand-made amplifying valves become essential components in the new technologies of radio, hearing aids, public address systems, automatic telephone exchanges, televisions—and Bletchley Park computers in the Second World War.

Potential research questions include: why were women so preponderant among the skilled workforce for electronics? How much did this new kind of manufacturing owe to women's prior experiences in the textiles industry or to factory work during the Great War? Why did the electronics industry grow so fast and with whose innovations? How was improved quality control for fallible valve hardware accomplished: improved manual dexterity, innovative laboratory research or collaboration via the British Radio Valve Manufacturers’ Association? 

How can all of these stories be used to inform collecting practice and interpretation within the Science Museum Group's large holdings of early electronic technologies?

Full description and application details

The Art of Earth-Building: Placing Relief Models in the Culture of Modern Geography

Organisations: Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and the University of Glasgow
Application Deadline: Monday 20 March 2017

Brief Description:
Applications are invited for an AHRC-funded PhD studentship (3.5 yrs full-time), which will examine the place of relief models in modern geography. The studentship is in collaboration with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and makes use of the Society’s collections. Due to begin in October 2017, the project will be supervised by Professor Hayden Lorimer and Dr Simon Naylor (University of Glasgow) and Dr Catherine Souch (RGS-IBG).

Full description and application details

Beaming the British Empire: the Imperial Wireless Chain, circa 1900-1940

Organisations: University of Exeter and BT Archives
Application Deadline:  Monday 3 April 2017

Brief Description:
Applications are invited for an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award with the University of Exeter and BT Archives to research and study the origins, development and impact of the Imperial Wireless Chain, the global network of shortwave radio stations that reputedly played a critical role in British colonial integrity from the 1920s to the 1940s.

Full description and application details 

Science, Technology and Road Safety in the Motor Age

Organisations: The Science Museum and the University of Leicester
Application Deadline: Monday 10 April 2017

Brief Description:
The successful candidate will undertake a project about how new scientific and technical approaches to mass automobility and road safety (including pollution) were created at the highpoint of Britain’s 'motor age' in the 1960s. The project examines the experimentation with new technologies through applied research carried out in government agencies such as the Road Research Laboratory. The experiments include developing innovations, such as the driverless car and seat belts, as well as testing devices designed to reduce accidents, such as anti-lock brakes and road safety furniture. There is scope for the student to define the PhD project in alignment with their areas of interest.

Full description and application details 

Power-assisted learning? Exhibiting, interpreting and teaching on technology in the twentieth-century industrial city

Organisations: University of Manchester and the Museum of Science and Industry
Application Deadline: Friday 31 March 2017

Brief Description:

Model devices and demonstration equipment have found a wide variety of uses as tools for technical education, sources of public spectacle, aids to informal learning in museums, icons of industrial heritage, and physical symbols of the technological future. Through case studies of museum development and industry-teaching relations in twentieth-century Manchester, this project will chart how approaches to machine display have changed over time, exploring past practices to find possible lessons for present-day interpretation. Research will focus particularly on the challenges and opportunities of displaying working artefacts, such as model engines, and the meanings of 'authenticity' in demonstration.

Full description and application details

List of CDP students and projects currently funded


  • Literary Cultures, Social Networks and the Railway Worker, 1840–1920 (University of Stirling/ National Railway Museum)
  • Emanuel Mendes da Costa (1717–1791): multicultural and multinational networks in Georgian London (University of Lincoln/ Royal Society/ Science Museum)
  • Instruments and their makers: A study of experiment, collaboration and identity in seventeenth-century London (University of York/ Science Museum)
  • Making the pulse": the Reception of the Stethoscope in nineteenth century Britain, 1817–1870 (University of Leeds/ Science Museum)
  • The indigenous map: native information, ethnographic object, artefact of encounter (Royal Holloway/ Royal Geographical Society)
  • The Cultures of Radio Research in India, 1890–1947 (University of Exeter/ BT Archives)


  • Gemma Almond, Correcting vision in nineteenth-century England: A social, cultural, medical and material history of spectacles (Science Museum/ University of Swansea)
  • Kevin Tracey, Calculating value: using and collecting the tools of early modern mathematics (Science Museum/ University of Swansea)
  • Frances Morgan, Electronic Music Studios in musical, commercial and international perspective (Science Museum/ Royal College of Art)
  • Tom Ritchie, Meccano: The nuts and bolts of science (Science Museum/ University of Kent)
  • Dom Weldon, Mapping the Historical Growth & Cultural Context of the British Fixed Line Network (Science Museum/ BT Archives/ Kings College)
  • Rebecca Smith, The Daily Herald: Popular desires and managing the production of photographs (National Media Museum/ DeMontford University)
  • Sophie Vohra, Railways and Commemoration: Anniversaries, Commemorative Cultures and the Making of Railway History
    (National Railway Museum/ University of York)
  • Josh Butt, The rise and fall of the Manchester motor industry, 1896–1939 (Museum of Science and Industry/ Manchester Metropolitan University)


  • Benjamin Regal, Conserving doped fabric aircraft: historic origins; heritage outcomes (Science Museum/ Imperial College London)
  • Charlotte Connelly, Investigating the flow of electrical ideas through the instruments of their discovery, from 1800–1850 (Science Museum/ University of Cambridge)
  • Paul Coleman, Danger—High Voltage: the rise of megavolt electricity supply in 20th century Britain (Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester/ University of Leeds)
  • Philip Roberts, Magic Lantern Culture in Britain (1850–1920): Exhibition, Reception and Mixed Media Landscapes (National Media Museum/ University of York)
  • Hannah Reeve, Women and the ‘railway family’ (1900–48) (National Railway Museum/ Keele University)
  • Alison Rees, Home on the rails: the design, fitting and decoration of train interiors in Britain c.1920–1955 (National Railway Museum/ Open University)


  • Caitlin Doherty, Representations of Flight: The Eighteenth Century Imagination and Modern Collections (Science Museum/ University of Cambridge)
  • Noeme Santana, Building an empire: corporate vision and the global geographies of infrastructure (Science Museum/ Royal Holloway, University of London)
  • Laura Newman, Making germs real: creating, performing and learning about a dangerous invisible thing in the public sphere, c.1860–1930 (Science Museum/ Kings College London)
  • Rachel Boon, Jacob Ward, Alice Haigh, ‘Research is the door of tomorrow’: the networks and culture of the Post Office Research Stations, Dollis Hill and Martlesham, c. 1910–1983. A collection of three doctorates (Science Museum/ BT Archives/ University of Manchester/ University College London/ University of Leeds)
  • Tanya Kenny, Britain’s Railways in the Great War, 1914–1918 (National Railway Museum/ University of Aberdeen)
  • Thomas Spain, Food Miles: the Imaginings, Politics and Practices of Food Distribution in the UK, 1920–1975 (National Railway Museum/ University of York)
  • Emily Marsden, 2016: Media in the First World War (National Media Museum/ Durham University)
  • Erin Beeston, Spaces of industrial heritage: a history of uses, perceptions and remaking of the Liverpool Road Station site, Manchester (Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester/ University of Manchester)