AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships at MOLA

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Project partner: Arts and Humanities Research Council

Date: 2019-2026


Deadline: 16 September 2019
Contact: cdp@mola.org.uk

From October 2020 we will be supporting three new research students a year to study for a PhD at a UK university, co-supervised by a member of our staff. Through the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) award we hope to develop future leaders, specialists and advocates for archaeology, as well as extend our strong record for academic collaboration and engagement.

We are now accepting outline project proposals from UK university supervisors to be co-developed with our staff. Following a selection process, three CDP projects will be advertised to potential doctoral students next spring, and successful candidates will begin their studentships in October 2020. This will be the first of three annual cohorts of PhD research students, and further calls for studentship projects will be announced in summer 2020 and 2021.

We are particularly keen to encourage project proposals that address our three key research themes:

  • Our discoveries: The new knowledge, techniques and specialisms that are created through our archaeological work
  • Citizen science: Diversity and engagement, education and citizen science, public programming, and evaluation of our own citizen science projects
  • Archaeology and the contemporary: Exploring the value of an archaeological approach to the contemporary world and the impact of archaeology on contemporary society

To submit a project proposal you must be a current member of academic staff at a Research Organisation directly supported by the UK funding councils. This includes most UK universities and PhD-awarding colleges. Please note, prospective students cannot apply for the scheme at this stage.


Interest in the CDP scheme is likely to be high, and we are only able to select three studentships to nominate to the AHRC. The selection process will therefore be very competitive.

The selection process will take place in two stages. The first stage is a call for outline proposals from UK university supervisors. These should be submitted using our outline project proposal form (downloadable at the bottom of this page), by the 16th September 2019. It is not necessary to have identified a MOLA co-supervisor at this stage, and we are happy to work with project proposers to identify suitable members of our staff. You may wish to discuss your project idea with us before completing and submitting your outline proposal, and queries should be sent in the first instance to cdp@mola.org.uk.

We will review all outline proposals received by the deadline of 16 September, and will select up to 12 outline proposals to be worked into full CDP proposals. Outline proposals received after the deadline will not be considered.

Decisions will be made based on the following selection criteria:

  • Availability of member(s) of staff at MOLA with expertise to co-supervise the PhD
  • Importance, originality, innovativeness and feasibility of the proposed research
  • Demonstrable links to MOLA’s research priorities
  • Likely contribution to MOLA’s strategic objectives and plans

We will contact all project proposers in early October 2019 to inform them of the outcome.

The second stage of the process will involve up to twelve shortlisted project proposers being invited to complete a full proposal in collaboration with the assigned MOLA staff member(s). In addition to an expanded case for support and information about the qualifications and experience of the supervisory team, the full proposal will also need to include details of training and career development opportunities that would be available to a student ultimately undertaking the project, and how the opportunity would be  advertised in order to attract the widest possible pool of applicants.

A panel comprising MOLA staff, trustees, and representatives from universities and other CDP-holding organisations will review the full CDP proposals and make the final selection of three studentships to nominate to the AHRC. This panel will score each proposal based on the AHRC’s grading scale and consider its academic quality, the suitability of the proposed project to PhD-level research, and the potential benefits to MOLA and the student.

Only in Spring 2020, when the three selected studentship projects are approved by the AHRC, will the opportunities be advertised to prospective students.

Please see the MOLA website for more details.