Colour aerial photograph showing a large banked earth enclosure to the right and a white chalk stylised figure of a horse left.

The Iron age hillfort and "White Horse" hill figure at Uffington in Oxfordshire, photographed on 08-JUL-2006 (NMR 24849\03) © Historic England
The Iron age hillfort and "White Horse" hill figure at Uffington in Oxfordshire, photographed on 08-JUL-2006 (NMR 24849\03) © Historic England

Collaborative Research Opportunities

We take a strategic approach to our relationship with research councils and the higher education sector by engaging in a number of collaborative research partnerships with universities. Here you can find out about the partnership opportunities that are currently available. You can also find out more about our research strategy and agenda.

Call for proposals to university researchers 2019

Historic England and the English Heritage Trust invite proposals from universities to co-supervise one of three new PhD studentship with Historic England or English Heritage. This call is open till November 22nd 2019.

We are looking for proposals from universities and other Higher Education Institutes to work with us to design, to recruit and to host PhD degree level researchers to start in October 2020. These PhD students would be supervised by an academic at the university and a member of staff from Historic England or English Heritage. We invite proposals in these priority areas:

  1. Social value
  2. Economic value
  3. Contested values
  4. Materials
  5. Untold Stories of the National Heritage Collection
  6. Insect pests and historic collections and interiors
  7. Temperature sensitivity of historic collections made of vitreous materials (such as painted stained glass and enamels)

Under the latest round of our Collaborative Doctoral Partnership, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, we are offering co-supervision of three four-year PhD studentships within these areas. Students will benefit from a clear connection of their research with the expertise in practical issues in heritage management of the national agencies.

We will assess proposals giving equal weight to three criteria:

  • relevance to our chosen priority research topics
  • academic strength
  • use of the collaboration with Historic England / English Heritage to enhance the students experience

To apply please download the Priority Research Topics 2019 document and the Proposal Form and Guidance.

For initial enquiries, please contact either Edmund Lee [email protected] if it is about priority areas 1 to 4, or Andrew Hann [email protected] for priority areas 5 to 7.

AHRC logo

Recent highlights

Our first two Collaborative Doctoral Partnership students have published PhD theses online.

One of our co-supervised PhD students, funded through the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership, has recently published an entry on the new AHRC blog about his research into the intersection between archaeology and precision farming.

Farming the Past and the Future Henry Webber, university of Bristol. March 2018.

Independent Research Organisation status

In 2017 Historic England, jointly with the English Heritage Trust, became an Independent Research Organisation of the UK Research Councils.

This means that we are now eligible to apply (individually or jointly) for funding from all seven research councils. See the UK Research and Innovation website for more information.

Each year these research councils invest around £3 billion in research covering the full spectrum of academic disciplines from the arts and humanities to social sciences, economics, biological and environmental sciences, physics, chemistry, medicine and engineering. Given the wide span of our historic environment research, we see potential advantages across many of these disciplines and believe that our new status will be an important contribution to our wider efforts to broaden our sources of corporate funding.

The AHRC have recently launched a new report outlining the scope and range of Independent Research Organisation (IRO) research they have funded over the past ten years, as well as examining IRO research funding for the decade ahead. You can download the report from the AHRC website, which also provides examples of research from other IROs. As an IRO Historic England (and English Heritage) are members of IROC - the Independent Research Organisation Consortium for the arts and humanities. 

If you’d like to contact us about research in relation to Independent Research Organisation (IRO) status, email [email protected]

You can also find out more about our research strategy and agenda.

Postgraduate research and skills

Through our Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) programme we've been able to offer three Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) PhD studentships each year from 2013.

Find out more about our CDP programme and opportunities for partnership.

As well as our CDP programme we are a partner with a number of Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP), Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) and similar postgraduate research consortiums across the country. These are made up of consortiums of universities with a range of partners in the cultural and heritage sectors. They receive block grant funding from UK research councils for PhD studentships and related doctoral training.

Historic England is able to offer a range of collaboration opportunities to students within these consortiums.

Find out more about our current DTP partners and priorities for collaborative postgraduate research.

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