Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships

In 2013 the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) awarded the Thames Consortium, comprising the National Portrait Gallery, the National Maritime Museum and the National Archives, six Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships (CDPs) per year for the next three years. These CDPs are intended to support doctoral research within the Thames Consortium in collaboration with various UK Higher Education Institutions. The aim of these awards is to sustain and promote high-quality research and skills within the arts and humanities sector, also providing doctoral students with opportunities to gain first-hand experience of work outside an academic environment. Through these awards, the National Portrait Gallery and its Consortium partners are able to offer increased opportunities for interdisciplinary research, knowledge exchange and training. Details of the current studentships within the Consortium are below.

Applications are invited for project proposals from HEI partners for the next round of collaborative doctoral studentships

Along with its partners in the Thames Consortium, the National Portrait Gallery is currently exploring opportunities for new collaborative doctoral projects with HEI partners for studentships starting next October 2015. The following broad areas for research have been identified:   

  • inter- and cross-disciplinary historical studies based on the collections;
  • heritage science: realising the potential of science and technology to address arts and humanities questions;
  • digital humanities: for example, research opportunities in the digital world; the role of the digital archive;
  • museological and archival studies: for example, pedagogy and interpretation.

Academics at Higher Education Institutions interested in working with the Gallery are invited to send a brief outline of their proposed subject area for a doctoral studentship to Dr Ruth Brimacombe, Associate Curator (Research Coordinator) ( for consideration. The final submission date for these HEI applications is Friday 28 November 2014.

Informal enquiries about the CDP programme should be directed to Ruth Brimacombe in advance of the closing deadline (

For further details of the individual competitions for the next round of research studentships being held by the museums, galleries, archives and learned societies with AHRC funded CDP partnerships please see

Current studentships from the Thames Consortium

Started in 2014

The production, transmission and reception of engraved and photographic theatrical portraits in the mid-19th century and their contribution to the promotion of celebrity, The National Portrait Gallery, London and the University of Bristol

Started in 2013

The early National Portrait Gallery and Sir George Scharf: creating an intellectual and professional artistic world, 1770-1909, the National Portrait Gallery, London and the University of Sussex

War widows and orphans in the north of England during the 1640s and 1650s, The National Archives and the University of Leicester

Uncertainty of Damage Functions in Preventative Conservation, The National Archives & the Centre for Sustainable Heritage, Bartlett School for Graduate Studies, University College London

Patronage and the Royal Navy, 1771-1815, the National Maritime Museum and University College London

The Cultural Worlds of African Palm Oil: trade, consumption and museum collecting in Britain and Nigeria, 1850-1900, the National Maritime Museum and the University of Oxford

Imperial Thames: London, River and Empire, 1660-1830, the National Maritime Museum and Queen Mary, University of London