Collaborative Doctoral Awards


Online application system will be open from 9am on Monday 3 February - Friday 14 February at 12 noon GMT:


Late applications will only be considered where there is evidenced breakdown in SGSAH's operational systems and where such systematic failures have made submission by the deadline impossible. Please note that we will not accept late applications where there has been systematic failure at the applicant's end (e.g failure of internet connection). For this reason, we strongly advise applicants to complete the application process at least 48 hours in advance of the deadline.

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

Lucy Whitmore - 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.

Applications for SGSAH Collaborative Doctoral Awards 2020/21 will be submitted through Survey Monkey Apply.

This online system will accept project applications from lead supervisors between Monday 3 February 2020 (9am GMT) to Friday 14 February 2020 (12noon GMT).

At this time, 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 12 June 2020 upon which the SGSAH Executive Committee will review all nominated candidates to confirm that they meet the required criteria.


Call for partner proposals

W/c 10 August 2020

Partner proposals deadline

5 October 2020

Deadline for HEIs to respond to partner proposals

2 Nov 2020

Partners select HEI

16 Nov 2020

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

Feb 2021

Panel reviews applications

Feb/Mar 2021

Successful partnerships informed

April 2021

Studentship opportunity advertised (if no student attached)

May 2021

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

June 2021

Studentships begin

September 2021