Call for CDA projects

Faculty members of the OU, Oxford and Cambridge are invited to submit proposals for Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) projects in arts and humanities subject areas. Selected projects will be advertised in the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP's next studentship competition.

We would particularly welcome proposals that may help support our aim to:

  • increase the number of applicants from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, which are under-represented in postgraduate research in the humanities;
  • increase the number of applications for doctoral study in modern languages and in design.

Proposals must be submitted via our online form. A letter of support from the partner organisation must be submitted by email to, as well as draft advert text (of 500-700 words).

The deadline for proposals is midday Monday 27 September 2021. If you have any questions about CDAs or your application, please get in touch with the OOC DTP Manager on

CDAs are doctoral studentship projects that are developed by a university-based academic working in collaboration with an organisation outside of higher education. They are intended as a way of facilitating collaboration with a diverse range of organisations in focused, mutually beneficial ways. CDAs provide important opportunities for doctoral students to gain first-hand experience of work outside the university environment and enhance the employment-related skills and training which a student may gain during the course of their award.

Students in receipt of a CDA receive support in the form of a full award (fees and stipend at UKRI approved rates), an enhanced stipend of £550/annum towards the cost of working with the partner organisation, the provision of training and access to additional funding for individual research expenses or training needs. 

The partner organisation can be from the private, public or voluntary sector. The word ‘organisation’ is used as a generic term and should be interpreted as widely as possible. The AHRC wishes to encourage collaborations from any area within its subject remit and with a full range of organisations, bodies and businesses, including the creative, cultural and heritage industries, both large and small, and including sole traders and partnerships.

Please note:
  • In most cases the partner organisation must have an operating base in the UK. Please get in touch with the OOC DTP Manager on if you wish to collaborate with an organisation outside of the UK.
  • While University museums, libraries and gardens can act as a partner organisation for a CDA, they may not partner with a faculty member at their parent university.
  • A collaboration agreement should be drawn up between the university and the partner organisation before a CDA commences, so as to ensure that all parties, including the student, are aware of, and understand, the requirements and responsibilities underlying the partnership. Your home university will manage this.

Please follow the link at the bottom of the page to submit your proposal via our online application form. The form has three sections. In addition, you must submit two pieces of additional documentation via email to Details below:

1. University supervisor details

All proposals must be submitted by a supervisory team including a lead university supervisor, who takes administrative responsibility for the project. By submitting the proposal the university supervisor confirms that they are eligible to supervise doctoral students at their institution. They also agree to allowing us to include their university email address in the CDA advert to facilitate enquiries from prospective applicants.

2. CDA project

In this section of the form you will need to include a title, a project summary of no more than 500 words, and a brief outline of the potential impact of the CDA on the project partner. 

3. Supervision and training arrangements

All CDAs must be jointly supervised by someone at the partner organisation. In this section you must identify the partner supervisor, and briefly summarise what specialised training, facilities and expertise are offered by the partner organisation and supervisor.

You can also use this section to detail any direct or in-kind contribution offered by the partner organisation, e.g. hours of staff time delivering specialised training or direct costs for additional impact activities. Partner organisations are not required to provide financial resources to support the proposed doctoral project but the practical implications of conducting a project of this nature should be considered.


Additional Documentation to be submitted by email
CDA Partner Letter of Support

The letter should be dated and should be written when the CDA proposal is being prepared. It should be targeted specifically to the project and should:

  • Detail the name, address and website for partner organisation;
  • Confirm the organisation and proposed supervisor's commitment to the proposed CDA project;
  • Explain the value, relevance and possible benefits of the work to the project partner;
  • Give the nature and equivalent value of any in-kind contribution, and/or declare the value of a cash contribution, and period of support; and
  • Describe the added value to the project of the project partner’s involvement. 
CDA  advertisement

Adverts (of 500-700 words) should include details of the supervisory team, a brief project description, and an indication of what disciplinary backgrounds and/or experience you would expect of an applicant. When drafting the advert text, we recommend that you:

  • Keep it concise and avoid jargon and/or overly technical language;
  • Include details of the collaborative partner and what they bring to the project;
  • Flag any training opportunities or professional experience that might be available to the student through the collaboration;
  • Encourage applications from a wide array of candidates by indicating which disciplinary backgrounds could be suitable;
  • Include links to the university supervisor’s departmental webpage and the partner organisation.

    Successful proposals will have clear plans for how a joint doctoral project can be supported, and how the project will benefit the partner organisation as well as fulfil the requirements for a doctorateResearch areas defined by project proposals ought to be broad enough to enable an applicant to develop an individual project within the field proposed.

    Proposals will be assessed as part of a gathered field and in relation to the following criteria:

    1. Quality and feasibility of project, as demonstrated by clearly articulated research aims, focus, and potential impact;
    2. Quality of collaboration, as demonstrated by evidence of relevance of research to partner organisation’s priorities and objectives, and of commitment by partner to provide access to training, facilities and expertise that would not otherwise be available to the student.

    We cannot guarantee that a student will be appointed to every CDA project selected for advertisement, as success ultimately depends on the number and quality of studentship applications received for any one project, and on the total number of studentships that the DTP is able to award in any one year. CDA applications will be reviewed by the DTP's Studentship Selection Panels in a selection process that runs parallel to that for standard route studentships.

    Prospective students are encouraged to contact supervisors before submitting an application in order to discuss how they might shape their own research proposal from the outline CDA project advertised by the DTP. Supervisors are asked to be available to answer enquiries from prospective students in the autumn.

    Outline schedule

    September Review and selection of CDA proposals for advertisement


    Selected CDA studentships advertised


    Deadlines for student applications for CDAs


    Review of student applications for CDAs


    Studentship offers sent out