Our Museums

National Museums NI awarded funding for Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships scheme

Two young males in a library looking at an open book
Date published

We are pleased to announce our participation in the Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships (CDP) scheme funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Under this scheme, we will be able to offer nine fully-funded PhD studentships over the next three years, with the inaugural cohort commencing their studies in October 2024. 

This marks a significant milestone for our organisation, as it is the first time National Museums NI has secured this funding, placing them in esteemed company with some of the leading research institutions in the GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) sector.

Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships are allocations of AHRC-funded collaborative research studentships made to a museum, library, archive or heritage organisation, or group of such organisations, to allocate to collaborative projects that support their work and objectives.

National Museums NI is made up of the Ulster Museum, Ulster Folk Museum, Ulster Transport Museum and Ulster American Folk Park and serves as the custodian for 1.4 million objects in Northern Ireland's national collection. The selected students will conduct research aligned with our museums' strategic priorities, which reflect the challenges posed by societal, environmental and political uncertainties. Moreover, the research aims to underscore the positive role museums can play in representing diversity, championing equity and supporting wellbeing.

National Museums NI has identified several research priorities, including 'The Troubles and Beyond', 'Inclusive Global Histories', 'Understanding Environmental Change', 'Sustainable Built Heritage', 'Democratising the Museum', and 'Conflict, Peacebuilding, and Legacy of the Past in Education'. 

Through their research in these thematic areas, the selected students will play an active and instrumental role in fostering the organisation's commitment to impactful scholarship.

In addition to their research, the students will benefit from the comprehensive CDP Consortium training programme, designed to enhance their initial and continuing professional development. This holistic approach will develop their academic and professional skills, creating opportunities for future careers in the sector.

Dr Sarah Baccianti, Principal Investigator of the award and Research Manager at National Museums NI, emphasises the strategic importance of CDP studentships to our collections and values: 

"The CDP scheme presents an exciting opportunity for National Museums NI to engage with academic partners, foster interdisciplinary research, and further establish our reputation as a sector leader in collections research that delivers meaningful impact."

By participating in the Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships scheme, National Museums NI reaffirms its commitment to advancing knowledge, fostering innovation and expanding its role as a leading institution within the GLAM sector.

The Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) scheme of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is designed to encourage and develop collaboration between UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and non-HEI organisations like museums and galleries.

Under this route, specific organisations are allocated a cohort of AHRC-funded studentships, for which they can nominate individual doctoral projects jointly developed by museum staff and HEI partners. The CDP scheme is now in its fourth iteration (CDP4).