Cohort Development Funding

Cohort Development Funding

The Cohort Development Fund scheme allows the SGSAH Panels to support training initiatives directed towards supporting the disciplinary & interdisciplinary training needs of doctoral researchers in the Arts & Humanities.

New for 2017 - student-led conference funding!

There are now three main types of SGSAH Cohort Development Funding:

  • Innovative Doctoral Training Events
  • Collaborative Doctoral Training Networks
  • Student-led Inter/Multi-Disciplinary Conferences


Submission deadline 10 November 2016 31 March 2017
Decisions available 19 December 2016 19 May 2017


Who can apply?

Staff &/or doctoral researchers in arts & humanities at SGSAH member HEIs. We expect that Collaborative Doctoral Training Network applications will be led by staff members, & include doctoral researchers as organisers &/or participants. Proposals for conferences will be led by students, & proposals for training can be made by staff, students or a mixture of the two.

How do I apply?

Please select the relevant application form to download. Complete & return it to by the deadlines shown above. Remember to contact the relevant Panel Chairs to discuss your proposal in advance of submission.


The SGSAH Panel Cohort Development Fund aims to support SGSAH staff, students & institutions to work collaboratively to develop & improve doctoral training across Scotland, by funding them to:

  • develop/deliver training that is not possible/viable for individual institutions & is in the vanguard of the field(s);
  • develop/deliver training that is innovative in scope, subject &/or delivery model;
  • lead the development of research training in their discipline(s);
  • develop strong & sustainable peer networks among SGSAH staff & students;
  • build capacity among the student body to identify, lead, manage &/or deliver their own training;
  • develop students' capacity in grant proposal writing.

Innovative Doctoral Training Events

The SGSAH & its Panels are keen to support innovative ideas & encourage applicants to be creative in their submissions. Types of activity might include:

  • Workshops
  • Masterclasses
  • Seminars
  • Visiting speakers

Normally the upper limit will be £2,500 per application, however you should talk to the relevant Panel Chair(s) before making an application. They will be able to advise you of appropriate funding levels, which will depend on the scope & reach of your proposed event.

Events must:

  • Demonstrably meet the aims set out above
  • Have potential for scalability/replicability
  • Include at least three SGSAH institutions in planning &/or delivery, with a single named lead HEI
  • Be aimed at a minimum of 10 students
  • Must be advertised openly to all SGSAH doctoral researchers
  • Include costs for reimbursing travel for doctoral researchers attending an event. Please note that all travel, including that of visiting speakers, can only be reimbursed at standard class & normally at advance ticket rates & that SGSAH institution staff salary & travel costs are not eligible.

Collaborative Doctoral Training Networks

This funding enables groups of staff & doctoral researchers to come together to identify doctoral training needs & develop a costed plan to meet them. These groups might be disciplinary, thematic, inter-disciplinary & so on. Funding of up to £300 is available to support travel & associated expenses (e.g. room hire, catering) to enable the development of a plan for doctoral training in a specific area. Please contact the relevant Panel Chair(s) before seeking funding for such a network. Applications should be led by staff members, although it is essential that doctoral researchers are involved as participants. They may also be involved as part of the organising team.

New for 2017! Collaborative Student-led Conference or Symposium

We recognise that conferences are a key route to sharing research & that organising a conference develops a range of skills & abilities. We have therefore decided this year to pilot support for a very limited number - perhaps two or three in total - student-led conferences. We have deliberately set the criteria bar high for this funding & recommend that you talk to one or more of the Panel Chairs before applying to seek their views on your proposal.

Proposals for student-led conferences or symposia must:

  • Include doctoral researchers from at least three SGSAH HEIs in the organising committee
  • Have a multi-or -inter disciplinary theme, with scope for participation from/contributions by a wide range of researchers & disciplines
  • Be innovative in some way - in subject, approach, method, format
  • Have secured funding from their own HEI(s) or other sources e.g. learned societies, charities
  • Be open to any doctoral researcher to apply
  • Include costs for reimbursing travel for doctoral researchers attending an event. Please note that all travel, including that of visiting speakers, can only be reimbursed at standard class & normally at advance ticket rate & that SGSAH institution staff salary & travel costs are not eligible.

Small awards

CDF may also be used for:

  • A limited number of travel bursaries for doctoral researchers to attend a particular conference in Scotland;
  • A doctoral training workshop/seminar/masterclass that has been organised to take advantage of an existing conference. This must be aimed specifically or mainly at doctoral level students.

Applications for travel bursaries should be made directly to Panel Chairs and will not normally exceed £250 in total.

Applications for doctoral training workshops/seminars/masterclasses organised as part of a conference should be made through the normal CDF route. We would not normally expect the costs for these to exceed £750 in total, including travel bursaries.

Further guidance for applicants

Successful CDF proposals are likely to:

  • Be clearly & simply written, avoiding jargon;
  • Be specific about the proposed training outcomes & how these will be achieved through the training method proposed;
  • Articulate the contribution to the training of the participating HEIs;
  • Have considered the Scottish landscape in the relevant field(s) & sought to involve relevant SGSAH partners (noting that Panel Chairs can help to provide advice & signposting);
  • Be realistic about what is achievable within time limits, particularly where these have already been set e.g. by other events to which the training is linked;
  • Where the training is attached to an existing event or network, articulate clearly the added value provided by the training;
  • Where the proposal is student-led, to have engaged with supervisors &/or other HEI staff for advice & guidance.

The Panel Chairs encourage applicants to think carefully about their approach to evaluation, seeing it as a crucial part of the training rather than as an add-on.