Collaborative Doctoral Awards: HEIs

A student examining a costume 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 the SGSAH by the lead academic supervisor between 3-14 February 2020, irrespective of whether Route A or B (see below) has been followed.

The CDA Guidance document provides full information about the application process, including an application template and marking criteria. 

Collaborative Doctoral Awards competition application guidance 2020 (Word document, 3MB)

Collaborative Doctoral Awards competition application guidance 2020 (PDF, 1325 KB)

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.
  • The proposal is circulated by SGSAH to HEIs. (These have now been circulated.)
  • HEIs respond directly to the partner organisation.
  • Partners review responses and select HEI/supervisory team to work with by 7 Oct.
  • Full CDA application submitted to SGSAH by lead academic supervisor between 3-14 February 2020

Route B - HEI Led

HEIs supervisors work with industry partners and the full CDA application submitted to SGSAH by lead academic supervisor between 3-14 February 2020. 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.


Call for partner proposals

W/k 3 June 2019

Partner proposals deadline

30 August 2019

Deadline for HEIs to respond to partner proposals

7 Oct 2019

Partners select HEI

21 Oct 2019

Full CDA applications submitted (student may be attached at this stage or after studentship is funded)

Feb 2020

Panel reviews applications

Feb/Mar 2020

Successful partnerships informed

April 2020

Studentship opportunity advertised (if no student attached)

May 2020

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

June 2020

Studentships begin

September 2020