Collaborative Doctoral Awards

    Collaborative Doctoral Awards (also known as CASE awards) are intended to encourage and develop collaboration and partnerships between Higher Education Institution (HEI) departments and non-academic organisations and businesses.
    These awards provide opportunities for doctoral students to gain first hand experience of work outside an academic environment. The support provided by both an academic and non-academic supervisor enhances the employment-related skills and training a research student gains during the course of their award.
    The studentships 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.
    The AHRC are keen to see innovative applications that build diverse relationships with the non-academic sectors. There have been many CDA awards made for collaborations with larger museums and organisations however the AHRC would like to encourage further proposals to work with businesses, regional museums, regional arts organisations and community groups.
    Please note that there have been some updates to the scheme guidance for this round, the main points to note are:
    • Single applications can now be submitted for up to 4 studentships to work on related projects. The AHRC are keen to encourage applications for multiple studentships that are interlinked and build larger collaborations between HEIs and Project Partners.
    • If you wish the application to be considered for one of the additional awards potentially available to address the aims of the Connected Communities Programme (see below) you will need to add a small additional paragraph in the Case for Support using the heading Highlight Call at the beginning of the document. This will be taken into account when the panel(s) allocate the additional awards. The application should sit significantly within the AHRC remit and also address the themes of the Connected Communities programme.


    Applications should be made jointly by a department in a recognised HEI and a non-academic organisation from the private\*, public or voluntary sector. (\*A private sector company is defined as being at least 50% privately owned with a wealth creation base in the United Kingdom). Guidance on building collaborations can be found in Annex 2: Developing and Demonstrating a collaboration.
    The word organisation is used as a generic term and should be interpreted as widely as possible. The AHRC wishes to encourage collaborations from any area within its subject remit and with a full range of organisations, bodies and businesses, including the creative, cultural and heritage industries, both large and small and to include sole traders and partnerships.
    In most cases the non-academic partner must have an operating base in the UK.
    In exceptional cases the assessors may consider a collaboration with a company or organisation based outside of the UK. The AHRC recognises that given the distinctive nature of its subject domain there may be potential for reciprocal research collaborations outside of the UK. Applicants will need to state what additional benefits are to be gained from the collaboration and demonstrate clearly that value from the project will be accrued to the UK and how the collaboration will deliver long term lasting benefits. In such cases the overseas partner must specify a minimum contribution and would be expected to cover additional costs of travel to and from the UK. The logistics of running such a partnership should be carefully considered in order to demonstrate that the project is both viable and feasible.
    University museums and galleries or organisations that are deemed to be a spin-off or are supported by an HEI are eligible to apply as project partners in this scheme providing that the application is not a collaboration with the parent institution. Organisations with ‘IRO’ status can only apply to this scheme as a non-academic partner.
    The number or applications any lead HEI can submit to the scheme is now limited. The maximum number of applications that can be submitted by any
    HEI through the open call is two. Exceptionally for those HEIs submitting one or more applications under the highlight call this limit will be raised to
    In view of the cap on the number of proposals that can be submitted by an HEI to the CDA call, the institution will wish to put in place internal arrangements to rank collaborative PhD studentship proposals from across the organisation, and to ensure that only the institution’s agreed choices of project are submitted to the AHRC.
    Single applications may have up to four studentships running concurrently within capping levels. An Extended CDA Programme is also offered as an option, for multiple studentship applications only, whereby a doctoral student can be recruited to the
    project for each of the next two/three years without having to apply in a future round. The AHRC would encourage applicants to consider the benefits of
    consolidating multiple applications with the same collaborators into single applications for multiple studentships to run concurrently or consecutively.


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    CDA student award holders also receive an additional payment of £550 per annum.
    The Council recommends that the non-HEI should make an additional maintenance payment to the student in the region of £1000 per annum. However the AHRC recognises that smaller organisations may find this difficult and where a case can be made demonstrating their inability to make this level of financial commitment the AHRC will also consider exceptions, reduced payments and in-kind contributions. In addition the non-HEI should cover extra costs incurred by the student as a direct result of working in or visiting its establishments.

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