• Do you want to supervise a PhD based on collections held in Cambridge, Norfolk, Colchester, Ipswich or Peterborough? 
  • Do you have an idea for a PhD project that uses Arts and Humanities methodologies on those collections?
  • Could this project fit within one of the following themes: society & identity, environment & sustainability or health & wellbeing? 

Following our recent successful award of 15 fully-funded PhD studentships we are now looking for projects to start in October 2024.

A banner showing some of the different collections forming the CC-EE consortium. Represented L-R: Peterborough Museum & Art Gallery (a pot from the Must Farm Exhibition), Norfolk Museum Services (Three people examining a projected schematic), Cambridge University Botanic Gardens (a woman touching green tree leaves), Colchester & Ipswich Museums (two people looking at tombstones in Colchester Castle), Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences (a family completing an activity sheet in the museum)

Just some of the collections which are joining the CC-EE consortium. Represented L-R: Peterborough Museum & Art Gallery, Norfolk Museum Services, Cambridge University Botanic Gardens, Colchester & Ipswich Museums (photo credit Rodger Tamblyn Photography & Colchester Museums), Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences

Key highlights of this scheme

  • AHRC-funded scheme that offers 15 fully-funded PhD studentships based in Cambridge, Norfolk, Colchester & Ipswich and Peterborough collections.
  • 5 start in October 2024, 5 in October 2025, 5 in October 2026. Funding is for 4 years, though part-time studentships over 8 years are also possible.
  • Each PhD will be a partnership between a collection (or multiple collections) and a UK university, with supervisors in each. The studentships will be externally advertised.
  • All students will have access to training delivered by the consortium, the UK wide Collaborative Doctoral Programme scheme and dedicated research funds.
  • Research can cover all aspects of collections work – e.g. curatorial, interpretation, learning, conservation etc – but must use arts & humanities methods.
  • Two stage selection process (Expression of Interest by 2 October; Full Application by 24 November).
  • Proposals are encouraged to include participatory methodologies and focus on one or more of the following areas: health & wellbeing, environment & sustainability, society & identity.

Participating Collections

  • Colchester & Ipswich Museums (CIM) brings together Colchester Castle, Hollytrees Museum, Natural History Museum, Ipswich Museum, Ipswich Art Gallery & Christchurch Mansion.
  • Norfolk Museums Service (NMS) consists of Ancient House Museum, Cromer Museum, Elizabethan House Museum, Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, Lynn Museum, the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Strangers’ Hall, Time and Tide Museum of Great Yarmouth Life, and the Tolhouse Gaol, alongside partnerships with Norfolk Records Office, and Millennium Library.
  • Peterborough Limited (PL) includes Flag Fen and Peterborough Museum & Art Gallery, and Libraries & Archives.
  • University of Cambridge collections comprise the Fitzwilliam Museum, Museums of Archaeology and Anthropology, Earth Sciences, and Zoology, the Polar Museum, Kettle’s Yard, University Library, Botanic Garden, and Herbarium. 

Process and Timeline

The timeline below sets out the expected milestones for the CC-EE CDP for the academic year 2023/24.

27 July Town Hall meeting (open to all)
2 October (9am) Expression of Interest form deadline
24 November Full application form deadline: to be completed collaboratively by collection(s) and HEI
Early January 2024 Selection Panel convened to choose applications to submit to AHRC
Mid-late January 2024 Selected projects submitted to AHRC for approval
March 2024 Application due via JeS (or the new Research Council Funding Service): to be completed collaboratively by collection(s) and HEI
Spring 2024 Recruitment of student
October 2024 Student starts


We expect that project development for studentships starting in October 2025 will begin in Spring 2024, but would encourage collections to be considering potential opportunities for CC-EE studentships throughout the year. 

How do I get involved?

We are looking for colleagues interested in supervising a PhD who are either: 

  • staff at one of the above institutions. Proposed collections-based supervisors do not need to have a PhD in order to supervise a PhD or
  • are based in a UK HEI and would like to propose a collaboration with one, or more, of the above collection institutions 

If you are interested in supervising a PhD, you will need to complete an Expression of Interest form (deadline 2 October, 9am). It is strongly recommended that you contact the co-ordination team to have an initial discussion and get support for developing the proposal. The CDP team can also provide introductions to colleagues in those collections, and CC-EE offers training and support for those new to supervising. 

What types of projects have been funded previously?

If you have an idea but would like to see the types of projects which have been previously funded by other consortia through this scheme, the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Consortium curates a list of Highlighted Projects, giving an insight into the types of projects that might be supported by the CC-EE CDP.

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