Skip Navigation or Skip to Content
National Museums Scotland is a member of the Scottish Cultural Heritage Consortium (SCHC). The Consortium is a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Doctoral research at National Museums Scotland is directed towards our collections in accordance with our Research Framework. Studentship projects are proposed by a member of our staff in collaboration with a colleague from a UK university. Proposals compete for funding on their academic strengths and on their orientation towards the Museum’s research and strategic objectives.

About the Scottish Cultural Heritage Consortium (SCHC)

The SCHC brings together five of Scotland’s national collections plus its national heritage agency, all of whom are internationally respected for their work in researching, documenting and promoting understanding of material culture.

The Consortium was founded in 2013. The new consortium supporting PhD research will comprise National Museums Scotland, the National Galleries of ScotlandHistoric Environment Scotland, and the National Library of Scotland and for the first time Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

Each year the Consortium awards up to six funded studentships which enable a Higher Education Institute and a Consortium member organisation to collaborate on a PhD project.

Further information about collaborative studentships funded by the AHRC can be found at the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Consortium website.

The aims of the Consortium are to:

  • Deliver world-class research and high-quality studentships that promote collaboration between the academic community and our work and collections
  • Encourage inter- and cross-disciplinary doctoral research on material culture that contributes to the strategic objectives of the institutions and has public impact
  • Build a supportive training and professional development environment that shares skills across our institutions and promotes integrated access to our collections
  • Maximise the impact and value of the research generated by working collaboratively to provide routes for sharing both between institutions and with a wider public
  • Add economic value by providing training and opportunities that enhance the employability of the students.

The research undertaken by the studentships managed by the Scottish Cultural Heritage Consortium will fit within the following five research priorities, all of which are concerned with conserving, understanding and presenting Scotland’s cultural, material and artistic heritage in a national, UK and international context:

  1. Creation, history and care of Scottish material culture
  2. Analysis, interpretation and presentation of material culture
  3. Impact and understanding of collections
  4. Understanding and valuing the historic environment
  5. Intangible heritage and the history of ideas.

These priorities are embraced within the individual research strategies and priorities of the five national bodies that make up the consortium. In addition, we support the themes prioritised by the Independent Research Organisations: Digital Futures; Heritage Science; Legacies of Empire; and research to support exhibitions, galleries and public programming.

Call for Proposals: AHRC funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Studentships to begin in October 2020

The Scottish Cultural Heritage Consortium (SCHC) is delighted to announce the call for proposals for up to six fully funded four-year Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships (CDP) for studentships to begin in October 2020/21, funded by the AHRC.

Enquiries from Academic Partners should be sent to the Curator/Partner Heritage Organisation (Historic Environment Scotland, National Galleries Scotland, National Library of Scotland, National Museums Scotland or Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh) in the first instance. The SCHC representatives can be found below or you can email for more information.

For most of the consortium Partner Heritage Organisations part of SCHC, there is a two-stage process. Higher Education Institutions are expected to have been in contact with the Museum well in advance of the Stage 1 Deadline.

Deadlines may differ between the Lead Heritage Organisations within the consortium. Note the Stage 1 deadline for applications to be proposed by National Museums Scotland as the main Partner Heritage Organisation is 27 September 2019. Heritage Organisations may have different deadlines and interested parties should contact them directly.

2020-21 SCHC Application form

The Award

The award is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) through the Scottish Cultural Heritage Consortium. Subject to AHRC eligibility criteria, the studentship will cover Home/EU tuition fees. The studentship should to be completed within four years (if full-time); part-time study will be considered. For those settled in the UK, it also covers a stipend towards living expenses. The value for the stipend in 2019/20 is £15,009 per annum plus a £550 additional stipend payment. In addition, the Award carries up to £1,000 p.a. of additional support from National Museums Scotland towards travel and related research costs.

An eligible full-time student shall receive a stipend for 36 months with an integrated period of student development training of up to twelve months to support the cost of training, work placements, and other development opportunities.

Note that UK residency means having settled status in the UK, that is, no restriction on how long you can stay in the UK; and having been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for three years prior to the start of the studentship, that is, you must have been normally residing in the UK apart from temporary or occasional absences; and not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purposes of full-time education.

You can find out more about current CDP research at National Museum Scotland here.

National Museums Scotland CDP assessment process

The Heritage Partner Lead Supervisor completes a full draft of the proposal with the University supervisors by the Stage 1 deadline and sends it to the SCHC representative for submission.

The National Museums Scotland Stage 1 deadline is 27 September 2019.

National Museums Scotland Stage 1 Assessment

Stage 1 proposals being led by National Museums Scotland will be assessed by an internal committee for strategic priority alignment. If successful, applicants will be informed by late October.  

Note that all National Museums Scotland proposals must pass through Stage 1.

Irrespective of internal Heritage Organisation processes, all applications must be sent to their respective SCHC Representative by the Stage 2 deadline 22 November 2019.

Stage 2 Assessment Panel

SCHC Representatives will meet in mid-January 2020 to determine the ranking and allocation of the top six proposals. Successful applicants will be informed by late January.

The JES Window will open in late January, this needs to be completed by the lead University partner. Prior to the submission of the JES form, student agreements should be finalised, if not done so already, in anticipation of the student being recruited. Advertisements for studentships can proceed once approval from the AHRC has been confirmed.  

SCHC Representatives

Historic Environment Scotland
Rebecca Bailey,

National Galleries of Scotland
Ailsa Roberts,

National Library of Scotland
Chris Taylor,

National Museums Scotland
Andrea Cop,

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Lorna Mitchell,

UK CPD Administrator 
Sarah McEvoy (Victoria & Albert Museum),

Supported by


Back to top