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AHRC-funded Collaborative PhD Studentship

AHRC-funded Collaborative PhD Studentship with the University of St Andrews and The Royal Society: Scientific Grant-making in Britain, 1849-1914

The School of History at the University of St Andrews and The Royal Society invite applications for a fully-funded AHRC studentship to investigate the processes, policies and beneficiaries of grant-making in late nineteenth-century science. The award will enable a student to pursue doctoral research in a world-class History department in a beautiful coastal town; and to gain hands-on professional experience working with the Library and Grants teams at The Royal Society in London

The student will use the rich archival records of The Royal Society to investigate the ways in which scientific research was evaluated between 1849 and 1914, and the diversity – or not – of people, institutions and subject areas that benefitted from research grants. This was a period when few sources of funding were available to scientific researchers: The Royal Society was in the unique position of administering research funds on behalf of the UK government, and also offering support from its own funds. This project will interrogate the transparency, fairness and strategic effectiveness of research funding.

The studentship is funded by the AHRC via the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities (SGSAH), and will be supervised by Professor Aileen Fyfe and Dr Malcolm Petrie (University of St Andrews) and Mr Keith Moore (The Royal Society). The duration of the studentship is 3.5 years full-time or (where University and external regulations permit) 7 years part-time. The anticipated starting date is 1 October 2021.

Eligibility: AHRC doctoral candidates must meet the excellence criteria below:

  • Hold at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline, such as Modern History or the History of Science.
  • Have completed, or be on course to complete, a Masters Degree in a relevant discipline, such as Modern History or the History of Science; and/or demonstrate equivalent, relevant professional experience.
  • Be able to demonstrate preparedness for the proposed, specific collaborative doctoral project.

If not a native English speaker, applicants must be able to satisfy the English language entry requirements of the University of St Andrews.

How to apply: applicants should apply for a PhD in History through the University of St Andrews Postgraduate Research Application portal by 4pm on 17 May 2021.

NB for this studentship, when asked to attach ‘a research proposal’, please submit a 1-2 page covering letter explaining your interest in, and suitability for, this project. You should first read the full project proposal (PDF) . Short-listed candidates will be invited for an interview (remotely) on Tuesday 1 June.

To learn more about what it’s like studying History at St Andrews, visit the School's prospective postgraduate student area

If you have any queries about the project or would like to discuss this opportunity before applying, please contact Professor Aileen Fyfe at

 Please note that the award is subject to the UKRI/AHRC’s terms, to which applicants should refer. The award covers 3.5 years of maintenance stipend and home fees; the current maintenance rates can be found on the UKRI website. If an international candidate should be recruited, the University of St Andrews will fund the difference between home and international fees. The Award includes an additional £550 pa to support the additional costs involved in working at the site of the partner organisation; and The Royal Society has also committed to contribute up to £2,000 pa towards travel and related research costs.