Collaborative Doctoral Awards

*The 2024 competition has now closed; the application deadline was 13 February. All applicants will be informed of outcomes by late April 2024.*


A student examining a costume at the Museum of Edinburgh costume gallery

Image: Former SGSAH-funded student Lucie Whitmore at The Museum of Edinburgh Costume Gallery

SGSAH Collaborative Doctoral Awards provide AHRC funding for PhD-level research projects which are developed in partnership between Higher Education Institutions and non-HEI organisations or businesses. The funding is awarded to the HEI and the student receives a stipend and fees.

The awards are intended to encourage and develop collaboration and partnerships providing opportunities for doctoral students to gain first-hand experience of work outside the university environment and enhance the employment-related skills and training a research student gains during the course of their award.

The projects also encourage and establish links that can have long-term benefits for both collaborating partners, providing access to resources and materials, knowledge and expertise that may not otherwise have been available and also provide social, cultural and economic benefits to wider society.

Applications to the SGSAH CDA competition should be submitted to SGSAH by the lead academic supervisor, irrespective of whether Route A or B (see below) has been followed.

Click on the links below to download the CDA guidance documents and application template in Word or PDF format:

SGSAH CDA Application Guidance 2024 (Word Document, 2.6MB)

SGSAH CDA Application Guidance 2024 (PDF, 921KB)

SGSAH AHRC CDA Application Form Template 2024 (Word Document, 37KB)

SGSAH AHRC CDA Application Form Template 2024 (PDF, 260KB)

CDA Nominated Candidate Form 2024 (Word Document, 30KB)

CDA Nominated Candidate Form 2024 (PDF, 203KB)

You can view a zoom recording of a SGSAH information session on applying for collaborative PhDs from September 2023 by clicking here and entering password Y5cWN1^?

Non-academic organisations

Information for non-academic organisations interested in learning more about CDAs: 

Collaborative Doctoral Awards: Partner Organisations


Preparation and submission of application

There are two possible routes through the CDA process though these marge at the application submission stage.

Route A - Partner Led

  • Industry partners prepare a brief proposal by 10 June 2024.
  • Proposals will be reviewed for eligibility then circulated by SGSAH to HEIs for their consideration w/c 17 June 2024.
  • HEIs respond directly to the partner organisation by 2 August 2024.
  • Partners review responses and select HEI/supervisory team to work with by 6 September 2024.
  • Full CDA application submitted to SGSAH by lead academic supervisor between 3 -14 February 2025.

Route B - HEI Led

HEIs supervisors work with industry partners and the full CDA application submitted to SGSAH by lead academic supervisor in February. A student may be attached at this stage or recruited if the application has been selected for funding. (Student recruitment is managed by the CDA partnership.) All nominated doctoral candidates will be reviewed by the SGSAH Executive to ensure they meet the eligibility criteria before funding is awarded.

Applications for SGSAH Collaborative Doctoral Awards will be submitted through Survey Monkey Apply.

At this stage, only project proposals can be submitted. This will include the following fields of detail:

  • Partnership Information
  • Partner Organisation
  • Project Title
  • Research Summary
  • Research Proposal
  • Benefit to Partner
  • Benefit to HEI
  • Supervision Arrangements
  • Supervisory Expertise
  • Project Management
  • Partnership Agreement
  • Ethics
  • Student Recruitment
  • Confirmation of supervisory requirements
  • Digital Signature of Lead Supervisor

All project proposals will be reviewed by a panel selected from across academic and industry sectors. Selected projects will then be invited to recruit and nominate a suitably qualified doctoral candidate. Lead supervisors will invite candidates to collaborate on the existing proposal candidates will complete the following fields of information:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Permanent Address
  • Correspondence Address if Different
  • Residence Eligibility
  • PhD Programme of Study
  • Qualifications
  • Qualifications Pending
  • Non-standard and/ or unclassified qualifications
  • Relevant professional experience
  • Preparedness for proposed doctoral project
  • Training needs and SGSAH DTP
  • SGSAH requirements

This second stage must be completed by June 2024 upon which the SGSAH Executive Committee will review all nominated candidates to confirm that they meet the required criteria.


Industry partners who don’t currently have an HEI partner confirmed for a potential project to submit a brief proposal to SGSAH (click here for online form)

By 17th June 2024

Industry proposals circulated by SGSAH to HEIs for their consideration

W/C 24th June 2024

HEIs who wish to collaborate on a project to respond directly to the partner organisation

By 2nd Aug 2024

Industry partners review responses and select HEI/supervisory team to work with

By 6th Sep 2024

Full CDA applications submitted (student may be attached at this stage or after studentship is funded): Application system open between 1st-13th Feb 2025

By 13th Feb 2025

Applications reviewed by external panel

March/April 2025

Successful partnerships informed

April 2025

Studentship opportunities advertised (if no student attached)

April/May 2025

Student profiles to SGSAH for panel review (if no student attached at point of application) and students appointed to projects

June 2025

Studentships begin

October 2025