Current CDA/ARCS Opportunities

Find listed below a number of SGSAH-funded Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDAs) and Applied Research Collaborative Studentships (ARCS) commencing in 2024 which are currently open for applications. 

SGSAH CDAs provide AHRC funding for PhD-level research projects which are developed in partnership between Higher Education Institutions and non-HEI organisations or businesses. The ARCS funds doctoral research projects that are developed in collaboration with external organisations across creative, heritage, third and business sectors, normally based in Scotland.

Home, Hearth And Heritage – Exploring inter-disciplinary approaches for engaging with fragile, living heritage

University of the Highlands and Islands and Ceòlas Uibhist Limited



The overarching aim of this PhD is to develop and deploy an original methodology to investigate how fragile living heritage, local identity and community memory combine to shape sustainable futures. The outcome of this research will contribute to discussions on how local world views can shape sustainable heritage futures.

Working co-creatively with the community, the student will develop an innovative interdisciplinary approach that will bring together cutting-edge archaeological techniques with oral history techniques to better understand and utilise Uist’s Taighean Tughaidh – domestic dwellings maintained and lived-in throughout Uist by Gaelic communities from the mid-18th until the late 20th century. The remains of these iconic buildings are found widely across Uist - most in decay, hidden beneath newer housing or renovated for tourism markets. Despite their abandonment as homes, the upstanding remains of Taighean Tughaidh function as a vial (albeit fragile) element of the islands’ historic landscape and an important representation of Uist’s cultural heritage and identity. Nevertheless, few of this local vernacular form have been systematically recorded and reported on archaeologically. Consequently, Scotland’s national database for the historic environment includes only 108 Taighean Tughaidh sites across Uist- a gross underestimate of the reality of survival that has significant implications for the way in which Gaelic heritage and culture is acknowledged within formal frameworks by agencies and policy makers. These deficiencies and absences amount to a substantial research gap which this studentship seeks to address.

The student will begin by addressing the need, identified in the regional, archaeological research framework for measured archaeological records of these buildings to better understand the variety of form and function, thereby more convincingly locating Taighean Tughaidh in the context of wider post-medieval landscapes across Scotland more generally.

Importantly and innovatively, partners expect the student to take the project further by drawing together collective memory, techniques of digital archaeological recording and the principles and practice of community development. Consequently, the successful candidate will be expected to demonstrate a commitment to interdisciplinary methodologies.

Uist is a place where Gaelic culture, language and heritage remains, for now, deeply embedded and living within the local community. Taighean Tughaidh, are consequently understood as expression of the local vernacular and mnemonics and manifestations of heritage from below, a concept first developed by the project Director of Studies. Through close collaboration with our partners the successful candidate will be expected to explore and interpret the individual and collective memory of life in, with and through Taighean Tughaidh.

Knowledge exchange collaboration and co-creation will be at the heart of Home Hearth and Heritage, with the full realisation of project epistemology and aims reliant on the coming together and sharing of information between citizens, local stakeholders, and academics in all phases of the research with the successful candidate expected to demonstrate a strong awareness and commitment to this holistic approach. Project partner Ceòlas Uibhist will take a central role linking the academic and community worlds, and facilitating the future heritage strands, as conduit, community facilitator and experts in local knowledge. They are a community-led charity, widely recognised as a leading Gaelic culture, heritage and arts organisation, promoting and nurturing Uist's indigenous culture and heritage through community-based events and activities. Ceòlas are ideally placed to offer the candidate strong support, supervision and immersion in Gaelic, local heritage expertise and community engagement experience.

Such community engagement will begin from the outset, with the student invited to work closely with Ceòlas to facilitate a series of community scoping events to identify appropriate sites and case study areas. The student will then work with community volunteers to survey and record upstanding Taighean Tughaidh sites within the case study areas using a mixed-methods approach central to which will be terrestrial laser scanning alongside photogrammetry, multi-station survey, measured drawings and descriptive records. UHI NWH will provide access to all required equipment, software and training to successfully undertake this strand.

The oral history element will draw on both existing collections and new research to enmesh the individual and collective memory of Taighean Tughaidh with an enhanced physical record. Awareness of and some experience of oral methods is therefore essential, with the student having unrestricted access to professional-level recording equipment for the duration of the project. They will then work alongside Ceòlas and the wider community to co-create a digital archive which will proactively combine 3D records of the tangible remains with the intangible memories attaching thereto to ensure future heritage resilience.

Our central concern is to demonstrate the powerful benefits for future community wellbeing which derive from the alignment of digital heritage tools with community-based oral history ‘culture-first’ practices. The research will enhance understanding of Uist’s post medieval landscape and uncover key aspects of the past, present and future heritage of the Taighean Tughaidh thereby empowering communities to shape sustainable future heritage for themselves.

We are particularly interested to hear from applicants who demonstrate the following attributes:

  • Commitment to the Gaelic language
  • Comfortable with interdisciplinary methodologies
  • Committed to collaborative working.
  • Experience of working with community groups
  • Knowledge of archaeological survey and recording techniques
  • Awareness of oral history methods
  • Enthusiasm for developing innovative and imaginative approaches to heritage interpretation, engagement and presentation. 

Supervisory team:

Dr Iain Robertson, UHI Centre for History - VIEW PROFILE

Dr Rebecca Rennell, UHI North West and Hebrides - VIEW PROFILE

Mr John Joe MacNeil, Ceòlas Uibhist Ltd - VIEW PROFILE


Find out more and apply here. Deadline 17th May 2024. 

An Evaluation of the Scottish Government’s 1+2 Language Policy and its Relation to Uptake of Languages in National Exams

University of Glasgow, University of Stirling and National Trust for Scotland (NTS)

A cultural and natural history of Scotland’s peatlands

  • Start date: 01 October 2024
  • End date: 31 March 2028
  • Application Deadline: 13 May 2024
  • Interview date: scheduled with selected candidates for 24 May 2024

About the Project

This collaborative PhD project will be based at the University of Glasgow, working closely with the University of Stirling and National Trust for Scotland (NTS). The project will create an environmental and cultural history of Scotland’s upland peatlands (loosely defined), including a history of their exploitation, based on archaeological, historical and ‘deep time’ environmental data from peat deposits. It will use existing and archival information, combined with new archaeological and environmental analyses to synthesise, and contextualise the international importance of Scotland’s peatland heritage and its wider significance within NW European peatland archaeology. It will seek to practically and theoretically apply archaeological and historical ecological knowledge to improve the management and resilience of upland peatland systems, for the benefit of nature and culture in the face of climate and land use change.

Globally, peatlands are vitally important for ecosystem services: climate regulation (carbon sequestration, flood alleviation) provisioning (water) and supporting (nutrient cycling, pollination).  Peatlands also have a rich cultural history that contribute significantly to the UK's cultural ecosystem services. However, our peatlands and their services are intensely threatened due to climate and land use change. Scotland contains 60% of the UK’s upland peatland resource, storing >3bn tonnes of carbon and our peatlands are essential elements of some of our most iconic landscapes, imbued with symbolic meaning and legend, deeply connecting people with place, whilst also preserving an array of archaeological sites, artefacts, human remains. Landscapes were used for fuel, fowling, fishing, hunting, grazing, plants, and raw materials. Exploitation has been part of Scottish life from the prehistoric period onwards and remains an important traditional practice within Highland and Island communities. Historically, peatlands were considered either as useful resources or as ‘wastelands’, in need of reclamation. Peatlands also preserve a ‘deep-time’ record of their history, human activities, and land-use. Waterlogged conditions preserve pollen, plants, wood, insects and other remains, crucial for understanding trajectories of peatland development, ecosystem dynamics, resilience, environmental disturbance - revealing the mutual processes of exchange between people and environment.

Scotland’s peatlands are therefore hugely important historic landscapes, deeply transformed by humans. However, despite good peatland archaeological understanding across much of NW Europe, our knowledge of how Scotland’s uplands fit into this picture is relatively limited. Alongside this, these peatland records also offer important clues around their future resilience in the face of climate change.

The aims of this collaborative project are to integrate cross-disciplinary approaches to create a holistic understanding of Scotland’s peatland cultural and natural history to:

  • provide improved understanding, significance, protection and management of Scotland’s peatland archaeology;
  • establish the significance of Scotland’s ‘deep time’ peatland resource;
  • develop protocols for the management and resilience of Scotland’s peatland landscapes for positive benefit of nature and culture ecosystem services.

The geographic extent of the project and case studies to form the basis of practical elements of the project will be determined by the student in consultation with the supervisory team and especially the National Trust for Scotland.

Research questions include:

  1. What is the distribution, significance, and geographical-historical-cultural context of Scotland’s peatland heritage?
  2. What is the significance of Scotland’s ‘deep time’ peatland resource that can be gleaned from previous and new environmental research?
  3. How can archaeological-historical ecological knowledge be applied theoretically and practically and integrated into management, understanding, and resilience of our peatland systems, for the benefit of nature and culture?

About the Team

This 3.5 year fully funded doctoral studentship is a collaboration between University of Glasgow, University of Stirling and National Trust Scotland.

The project will be supervised by an interdisciplinary team of experts in archaeological science, peatland palaeoenvironments and environmental change (Nicki Whitehouse: Archaeology, University of Glasgow; Eileen Tisdall: Environmental Geography, Biological and Environmental Sciences University of Stirling) and historic landscapes (Derek Alexander, NTS). Project Partner Dr Roy Van Beek (Wageningen) is an expert in transdisciplinary research in wetland heritage and will provide opportunity for an international placement and perspectives.

Where you’ll be based

The student will be registered at the University of Glasgow. Because this is a collaborative award, the successful candidate will be expected to spend time at both the Universities and National Trust for Scotland.

The University of Glasgow is ranked World Top 71th University for Arts and Humanities (QS World Rankings, 2024), and ranked 12th University in the UK and second in Scotland. Archaeology at University of Glasgow is ranked 43rd in the world (2024 QS World Rankings) and provides a positive, inclusive and nurturing research culture, which has been recognised in our strong REF 2021 (Research Excellence Framework) results with two-thirds of environment and impact being recognised as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent'. Our staff’s diverse research interests are connected by a commitment to ‘engaged archaeology’, actively linking our study of the past to challenges today.  We pursue projects in digital archaeology, landscapes and environmental archaeology, studies of material culture, and archaeological science, and have a strong track record of engagement in work and about Scotland. A particular research strength is in Landscape Archaeology; we are well placed to provide training in Scottish peatlands from a multi-disciplinary perspective: we have specialist expertise and laboratory infrastructure, combined with archaeological knowledge in wetlands and land-use heritage research and a growing cohort of researchers in this field. It’s an exciting time to join us:  our archaeological laboratories which include chemical, microscopy, analytical and artefact labs and new teaching spaces are undergoing a £1.2 M refit over spring and summer 2024 and we are hosts and leads of a Marie Curie MSCA/UKRI Doctoral Training Programme starting in October 2024, through applicants will be able to access additional training opportunities.

The University of Stirling is internationally renowned for natural sciences research that explores the complex interrelationships between human behaviours, technologies, and biological, environmental and aquatic systems. Within Biological and Environmental Sciences (BES) we look at how environments and ecosystems have changed over time to predict and mitigate the future impacts of climate change. Research at Biological and Environmental Sciences was recognised within the REF 2021 (Research Excellence Framework) with 100% of Geography and Environmental sciences research rated as having either outstanding or very considerable impact. The University of Stirling is in the top 15 in the UK for research impact for Geography and Environmental studies. We have a research focus on Quaternary science and landscape change, where we give a deep-time, science-based perspective on contemporary environmental issues through new understandings of the complex relationships between long-term environmental change, human adaptations and resilience embedded in landscapes. The analytical and laboratory facilities within BES will compliment those in the University of Glasgow providing opportunities to develop novel interdisciplinary methodological approaches and generate a range of environmental and palaeoenvironmental data sets. The research facilities within BES will allow for the full integration of field survey, remote sensing and mapping capabilities with laboratory expertise that includes, SEM-EDX and XRF elemental analyses together with pedological, sedimentological and palaeo-botanical analyses.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) is the charity that cares for, shares and speaks up for Scotland’s heritage. We’re Scotland’s largest membership organisation and independent from government. Since 1931, we’ve pioneered public access to and shared ownership of some of the most magnificent buildings, collections and landscapes in Scotland. We care for houses, battlefields, castles, mills, gardens, coastlines, islands, mountains, as well as plants, animals and birds. Without our involvement, many of these places and things would have been lost forever to the passage of time, development, and the elements. We believe in protecting Scotland’s nature, beauty and heritage, and sharing our amazing places with everyone. Scotland is blessed with a wealth of stories, values, objects and landscapes that, over time, have been woven together to unite communities, traditions and nurture our unique national spirit.

NTS’s archaeology team are responsible, together with property staff and rangers, for the conservation work that impacts the cultural heritage elements of our properties and landscapes. Key members of the archaeology team have in-depth knowledge of the special places in our care, including peatlands that are currently undergoing restoration. NTS are uniquely placed to work in partnership with this project, having on the ground expertise, access to suitable landscapes, relevant archival and archaeological records and understand the issues to be addressed in this collaborative project.  The current focus on peatland restoration means this work is of high priority to the NTS as it will address current challenges and the work aligns well with the NTS’ new 10-year strategy.

What we’re looking for

You should have a first degree in Archaeology, Physical Geography, Environmental History, Natural Science or related subject, with an interest in the archaeology and/or palaeoecology of wetlands, peatlands and/or environmental issues. The AHRC expects that applicants to its PhD programmes will normally hold, or be studying towards, a Master’s qualification. If you are not in this position, you may be able to use relevant professional experience to provide evidence of your ability to undertake independent research. 

You should have previous experience in the broad area of archaeological science and/or the study of past environments, environmental change, historical ecology (e.g. via taught courses and/or dissertation topic(s). Because this is an interdisciplinary project, it is expected that candidates will have some, but not all, of the skills and experience listed below. We strongly encourage candidates with experience in some of these areas and an interest to learn further skills and gain experience in another discipline to apply.


  • Mapping of archaeological or modern landscapes using GIS (essential)
  • Ability to synthesise archaeological and/or ecological data (essential)
  • Understanding of landscape histories (essential)
  • Palaeoenvironmental skills (desirable)
  • Geoarchaeological skills (desirable)
  • Archival skills (desirable)
  • Identification of organisms (desirable)
  • Modelling peatland landscapes (desirable)
  • Understanding of ecological and climate systems (desirable)
  • Basic statistics (desirable)
  • Driving licence (essential)


  • Archaeological or ecological fieldwork (essential)
  • Science laboratory experience (essential)
  • Landscape/historic environment research (desirable)
  • Soil or peat survey work (desirable)
  • Soil or peat lab analysis (desirable)
  • Palaeoenvironmental skills (desirable)
  • Working in peatlands or other wetlands (desirable)
  • Lone working (desirable)
  • Record of publication in related fields (desirable)


  • Independent and critical thinker
  • Able to work within an inter-disciplinary research space
  • Effective communicator
  • Experienced collaborator
  • Able to work effectively within a team
  • Interested in archaeology, environment and climate change issues
  • Ethically and socially aware

We want to encourage the widest range of potential candidates for this studentship and are committed to welcoming individuals from different backgrounds to apply. We particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds as they are currently underrepresented at this level in this area.

Applicants should ideally have or expect to receive a relevant Masters-level qualification or be able to demonstrate equivalent relevant experience in a professional setting. Areas include, but are not limited to, Archaeological Science, Geography, Geosciences, Environmental Sciences, Ecology, Soil or Natural Sciences

Applicants must be able to demonstrate an interest in the archaeology sector and sustainability, together with enthusiasm for developing skills more widely in related areas.

Details of Award

This project is funded via an AHRC SGSAH Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA). It can be studied Full-time.  The award includes a stipend and fees at UKRI rates.

For 2024/2025 the rates are set at: £19,237 (stipend) and £4,786 (fees).


Funding for this PhD is open to UK nationals and international students.

From 2021 onwards, the AHRC via SGSAH offers awards to PhD researchers from the world (UK, the EU and International). All funded PhD students, whether UK or International will be eligible for a full award – both a stipend to support living costs, and fees at the HEIs’ UK rate. 

To be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter 

If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as an International student.

Whilst SGSAH funding only covers the equivalent of a home fee, International candidates will have the difference between the Home and International fee rate waived by the College of Arts and Humanities.

All applicants must meet the AHRC’s academic criteria.

Further guidance

How to apply

Application is by CV, personal statement, and sample of work and online application form:

The application should include:

  • A CV
  • sample of work of no more than 5,000 words
  • statement from the candidate, outlining your motivation and relevant professional experience and preparedness for the proposed doctoral project

Please send your CV, statement and sample of work directly to Professor Nicki Whitehouse ( by 13 May 2024

For informal enquiries please contact the primary supervisor, Professor Nicki Whitehouse, or second supervisor, Dr Eileen Tilsdall,


Women, Gender, and Political Engagement at The Glasgow School of Art

University of St Andrews and The Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections

The School of Art History at the University of St Andrews and The Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections are pleased to offer a Collaborative Doctoral Award studentship, funded by the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities, to support a student undertaking doctoral research in the following project: Women, Gender, and Political Engagement at The Glasgow School of Art.

Project description

This doctoral project offers an exciting opportunity for a student to work closely with The Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections to uncover and communicate marginalised histories of gender and politics from the late nineteenth through to the twenty-first centuries. The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) welcomed women as students and teachers as early as the mid-nineteenth century, developing a modernising curriculum that permitted them to study life drawing earlier than their contemporaries elsewhere, and instrumentalise their art in the campaign for suffrage. Yet GSA’s Archives and Collections still contain uncatalogued and unresearched material related to the political activities of women artists (including trans women, nonbinary and genderqueer practitioners), whose work speaks to the construction of women as political subjects, and to the intersections of gender with class, race and sexuality.

The successful student will develop their own research project within the parameters of the award. Possible research questions could include (but are not limited to):

· What was unique about GSA’s environment that stimulated widespread political engagement by artists who identified as women, and what challenges did they face?

· What forms did this political engagement take – for example, from engagements with suffrage campaigns to the anti-nuclear movement and ecological concerns – and how are they evidenced in the archive?

· How might marginalised histories of gender, political organising, and feminist, anti-racist and LGBTQIA+ activism be surfaced through the archive and collections?

· What contributions might these narratives make to wider developments in queer feminist art histories?

· How can we communicate marginalised histories at GSA relating to gender and sexuality, alongside the broader political activism of students and staff, to a wider public?

The doctoral researcher will have unprecedented access to diverse material in GSA’s Archives and Collections, together with a wide range of visual media including ceramics, sculpture, metalwork, book illustration, posters, film, costumes, textiles, drawing and painting. Projects must be grounded in GSA Archives and Collections, but we welcome projects that consider material across the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The project has the potential to encompass wider networks of GSA artists in Scotland and globally, and could also include the rich seam of contemporary practice that has responded to material in the archive. Please visit for more information about the possible material which the project could encompass.

This is a Collaborative Doctoral Award, supervised by the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews and The Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections. The researcher will be registered for the PhD at the University of St Andrews, while also spending

a minimum of six months working with GSA Archives and Collections. At GSA Archives and Collections they will have the opportunity to develop skills in archival, museum and curatorial practice and public engagement. These include cataloguing, documentation and the creation of oral histories, online content, and pop-up exhibitions.


The Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities CDA studentship also offers:

· A core programme with fundamental training activities which support the student to develop their skills as a future research leader.

· Access to advanced inter/disciplinary training through SGSAH’s innovative Discipline+ Catalysts.

· Connection and collaboration with organisations across the creative, cultural, heritage and third sectors through Knowledge Exchange Hubs.

· Extra funds to gain additional skills through training and internships.

· Opportunities for travel abroad to carry out research and fieldwork.

· Opportunities to be a Visiting Doctoral Researcher at an international Higher Education Institute.

· The chance to join an engaged and committed cohort of doctoral researchers working across the full range of arts and humanities disciplines.


The student will be supervised by Dr Shona Kallestrup and Dr Catherine Spencer in the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews, and Michelle Kaye (Collections Lead) and Polly Christie (Archives & Collections Manager) at The Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections.

Informal enquiries regarding this Collaborative Doctoral Award may be addressed to Dr Shona Kallestrup – email

Start date

1 October 2024. Please note that this offer cannot be deferred to a subsequent academic year.

Duration of award

3.5 years full-time or 7 years part-time. The successful candidate will be expected to have completed the doctorate degree by the end of the award term. The award term excludes the continuation period and any extension periods. 

Tuition or maintenance award

Tuition and maintenance.

Value of award

The SGSAH CDA offers an annual stipend of approx. £19,600 (full time) plus fees at the Home (UK) student rate. The University of St Andrews will cover the additional fees for an international student.


Applicants should:

· Hold at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline.

· Have completed, or be on course to complete, a Masters Degree in a relevant discipline and/or demonstrate equivalent relevant professional experience.

· Be able to demonstrate preparedness for the proposed collaborative doctoral project.

Equivalent professional experience could include, but is not limited to: a good track record of employment in a library, archive, museum or heritage setting that includes relevant research skills. We particularly encourage candidates who can demonstrate an interest in feminist historical approaches and methodologies.

For English-language requirements, please consult:

Applicants must not already (i) hold a doctoral degree; or (ii) be matriculated for a doctoral degree at the University of St Andrews or another institution.

Applications are particularly welcome from people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, and other protected characteristics who are under-represented in professional posts at the University. Equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of the St Andrews experience and form a central pillar of the University Strategy. We strive to create a fair and inclusive culture demonstrated through our commitment to diversity awards (Athena Swan, Carer Positive, LGBT Charter and Race Charters). For more information see:

Geographical criteria

No restrictions.

Domicile for fee status

No restrictions.

How to apply

Please send the following application documents to

· A Personal Statement (500 words) detailing your qualifications and/or relevant experience for the studentship.

· A Research Proposal (1000–1500 words) outlining how you would approach the project and respond to the brief.

· A short Curriculum Vitae (max. 2 pages)

· An academic writing sample (e.g. Masters chapter, or undergraduate dissertation where the applicant does not have a MA qualification).

· The names and contact details of two academic/professional referees.


Please submit your application documents by the deadline of Friday 17 May 2024 (applications close at 5pm UK time).

Please ensure your referees can provide (on request) their reference by Monday 27 May 2024. Referees will only be contacted for shortlisted candidates.

Interviews for shortlisted candidates will be held on Tuesday 28 May, online via MS Teams.