Several PhD students investigating a ruined bastle in the Northumberland landscape
Collaborative Doctoral Partnership students investigate a bastle in the Northumberland landscape as part of a field course.
Collaborative Doctoral Partnership students investigate a bastle in the Northumberland landscape as part of a field course.

Postgraduate Research and Skills

Historic England believes that supporting postgraduate research can contribute to the understanding and management of England’s heritage, address skills shortages in the heritage profession and give students the satisfaction and competitive edge of a research degree that has had demonstrable impact. We are partners in several Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and similar postgraduate research consortia across the country and can offer varying levels of partnership opportunities to researchers within these consortia, for mutual benefit.

Online resources

As COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, we have compiled a list of online resources to support your research in the historic environment, during times when it is difficult to access sites and physical archive materials.

Research priorities for postgraduate research

We advise those researching within DTP institutions who are interested in working with Historic England to read our Research Strategy and Agenda.

Our Research Strategy provides an overview of the heritage research carried out by, or supported by Historic England. This is complimented by our Research Agenda  (published July 2017) which provides a number of more specific research topics that could have practical impact in supporting the work of Historic England; and gives a list of research questions to guide those looking to do research that will help us achieve our mission.

Doctoral Training Partnerships

We take a strategic approach to our relationship with the Higher Education Sector by engaging in a number of carefully selected Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) that provide excellent postgraduate research opportunities in a number of areas that match our own priorities.

DTPs are consortiums of universities that receive block grant awards from Research Councils to disburse as PhD studentship funding, with the universities themselves providing match funding at varying levels. These consortia work with a range of industry partners in the arts and humanities, such as Historic England, to provide opportunities for collaborative research and student development.

We are currently partners with the following DTPs

 Our approach to working with DTPs is focused around the following areas:

  • Influencing - getting our research agenda into postgraduate research at a high level
  • Improving Research Impact - ensuring practical outputs for heritage sector are a part of the impact of postgraduate research
  • Individual Skills Development - actively developing the future workforce for the heritage sector
  • Co-supervision - directly shaping the direction of postgraduate research and developing our future workforce

The level of support we can provide for individual students will vary from research project to research project. It will be assessed against our ability to offer in-house expertise and the resource availability - as well as the priority of the research being undertaken.

Those wanting further information on potential opportunities for partnership work around postgraduate research should contact the Postgraduate Research and Skills Officer using the details at the bottom of this page.

DTP Research student highlights

Archaeology and precision farming

Henry Webber is a PhD student funded through the South, West and Wales DTP, based at the University of Bristol and co-supervised by Amanda Chadburn (Senior National Rural and Environmental Adviser at Historic England).

He has recently published an entry on the new AHRC blog about his research into the intersection between archaeology and precision farming.

SEAHA Centre for Doctoral Training

We are a heritage partner of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA), a collaboration between University College London, the University of Oxford and the University of Brighton, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Through SEAHA we have been co-supervising a number of PhD projects on topics ranging from the development of a robust methodology for assessing moisture in solid brick walls; to a comparison of painting lining methods for historic house environments to developing Building Information Models from monitoring and simulation data in heritage buildings.

This article by SEAHA Deputy Director, Matija Strlic, tells more about the work of SEAHA and how Historic England is involved.

Please see the SEAHA website for details of any current opportunities.

Dr Jo Byrne

Research and Academic Partnerships Manager