Case for support
The case for support should:
- not exceed six sides of A4
- be in Arial size 11pt font.
You should provide the following information in the application form and case for support.
Please provide the name of the organisations applying and the name and contact details of the person who will be acting as lead for the administration of the application and subsequent award, if successful.
Where non-HEI organisations are collaborating in a single proposal, please list all the partners involved. It will be necessary for one partner to be clearly identified as the administrative lead for the partnership.
For partner CDPs, if a non-HEI and HEI are collaborating, the non-HEI partner will be the lead partner.
However, please also state the name and contact details for an individual from the HEI who will act as the lead contact at the HEI.
Number of studentships requested per cohort
Organisations should apply for a minimum of three studentships per year.
When deciding on the number of studentships to request, organisations should carefully consider their capacity to support students both in staff time and financially, as well as their governance arrangements for selecting projects, supervisors and students
This will be one of the criteria considered by the panel and numbers may be reduced if it does not find sufficient justification for the number requested in the application.
If the panel does not find sufficient justification for the minimum size of award (three studentships per year), no award will be made.
Summary rationale for the application
Please provide a summary of the rationale behind your application:
- your strategy and vision
- your commitment
- your aims and objectives
- the potential benefits to the organisations, students and the wider public.
The summary should be accessible to a variety of readers, including the general public.
This summary may be used for case studies or published on AHRC’s website should your proposal be successful.
It may also be used for general publicity purposes and as a basis for answering enquiries from the media and others about the research and research training strategy.
Please outline your vision for the award and give detail of how potential studentships will fit into the research strategy of the organisation (or organisations) and a rationale for seeking a CDP.
Applications should outline the priority research areas that may be addressed by the doctoral students over the period of the CDP and explain clearly what additional benefits will arise for the organisations, their mission and the world-class research supported.
Please note, that whilst the opportunity for studentship projects can outline broad priority areas, it is not possible to ring-fence awards for specific projects or organisations.
For partner CDPs, if you are a non-HEI applying in partnership with a HEI, please outline your rationale for applying in partnership.
We support interdisciplinary research (for example, Heritage Science) proposals but ask applicants to demonstrate how interdisciplinary research will benefit the arts and humanities research landscape.
Project and supervisor selection
Use this section to outline how you will engage university researchers to develop projects and collaborations to ensure a broad range of applicants and applications (in addition, how you will select projects for support).
You should outline the criteria you will use to select appropriate projects, in particular, how you will ensure that a proposed project has a robust academic focus, but also how it will provide the student with wider development opportunities.
The projects should be truly collaborative in nature (jointly conceived by the academic and non-HEI supervisors and structured to be delivered as a joint programme of work).
The non-HEI and the HEI partners will play an equal role in shaping the studentship and then supervising and supporting it.
For interdisciplinary research proposals, we ask that students be given supervisory support from supervisors covering the different disciplines the research will explore.
Where the application is submitted by a consortium of non-HEI organisations, this section of the application should also be used to explain how the project and supervisor selection process will be managed across the consortium.
Pre-determined allocations of studentships between partners in a consortium will not be accepted.
Please give details of the involvement of any advisory body or external input into your selection processes.
Outline the CDP holding organisations approach to recruitment, detailing how, in collaboration with a range of university partners, the recruitment and selection will be organised to ensure fairness and equality and to support the best future researchers.
Read UKRI’s EDI policy.
Please note you will need to submit an EDI plan (see the ‘EDI plan’ section under ‘how to apply’).
In this plan, you will need to outline how you will ensure recruitment processes will ensure students from a diverse range of backgrounds are encouraged to apply and any barriers to participation are mitigated.
Ways of mitigating barriers to inclusion might include, for example, targeted advertising and recruitment days for students from particular backgrounds or with specific needs or mentoring programmes to support students throughout the studentship experience.
Ensuring recruitment panels are made up of members from diverse backgrounds and panel members are given EDI training on issues such as unconscious bias.
You might also consider developing a system of anonymised applications.
Enhancement of student experience
Enhanced student experience is a primary aim of the CDP scheme.
You should outline how you will seek to provide students with an enriched doctoral training experience, in particular, outlining the approach to enabling students to undertake additional development opportunities as part of a richer PhD programme.
The intention is to support doctoral training that will give students the skills and experience needed to produce a high quality thesis and to enable them to pursue careers either in the academic sector or in other sectors.
It is important that organisations offer more than access to resources, collections or archives.
Assessors will be looking for commitment to placement activities and opportunities for students to be involved in the organisation on a wider scale. Assessors will expect to see details of training provision.
However, they will also be looking for details of how the organisations will seek to give students the opportunity to put training into practice, both for use in their research activities and career development.
Applications should also indicate how the cohorts of students will be given the opportunity to interact and support each other.
Please outline your commitment and the input you will be able to make to the Cohort Development Programme.
Supervisory capacity and supervisor training and support
The application should demonstrate sufficient staff capacity to provide supervision and training for the number of students requested across the duration of the CDP award.
Assessors will also wish to see how staff will be trained and supported, and their effectiveness as supervisors monitored, as well as how consideration of workloads and existing studentship supervision is considered in decisions about selecting studentship projects.
Provision of training support
In this section, you should give details of training offered by the organisation, partnership or consortium as standard, such as inductions, and specialist training opportunities that may be offered to candidates where relevant to their field of study.
Please provide details on how training requirements will be identified, and the process for ensuring that these are provided to students.
AHRC has a research training framework for doctoral students which it expects all award holders to follow for its funded doctoral students.
This complements the UKRI statement of expectations for postgraduate training (PDF, 167KB), which sets out common principles for the support of all research council funded students.
Financial support for students
The collaborating organisation is expected to make a financial commitment to the students recruited, recognising the higher costs which doctoral students may incur in undertaking a collaborative project (especially where the HEI and non-HEI partners are geographically distant).
Please set out here what funding will be made available to students, and how this will be managed.
Each organisation is expected to make an in-kind contribution to the Cohort Development Fund (for example, use of time, facilities and access to resources). Please set out here what you could offer.
Governance, monitoring and student progress
Please explain the governance arrangements for the CDP award, in particular how the organisations will ensure senior management oversight of their research training activities.
This should include how the organisations monitor the progress being made by students, the effectiveness of their supervisory support, and the availability of any necessary resources for their research or training throughout the period of their award.
Where the application is being submitted by a consortium or partnership, this section should make clear the governance arrangements across the consortium or partnership, as well as what responsibilities for monitoring training and student progress sit with individual organisations.
Partner CDP applications should also set out how governance, monitoring and student progress will be monitored in this partnership, noting that the non-HEI is the lead partner so must take a lead in this activity.
The HEI partner should play a supportive or advisory role in ensuring processes are planned, implemented and given the right support, and best practice principles are adhered to.
Track record of support for postgraduate research
Please provide an attachment (maximum of four sides) which gives details of the engagement of the organisations in postgraduate research and research training using the headings listed below.
This might include AHRC-funded awards, collaborative doctoral projects supported by other funders, or other ways in which the organisations have played a significant role in a doctoral research project.
If you are applying as a partner CDP (a non-HEI in partnership with a HEI), then please outline how the HEI partner will support their non-HEI partner in supporting postgraduate research and training.
Please provide information under the following headings:
- type of activity, including project title (if relevant)
- HEIs involved and academic staff member’s name (if relevant)
- non-HEI staff member’s name and job title
- start and end dates of the collaborative work
- brief details of the organisation’s involvement (for example, full collaborative partner or provision of expert input on an aspect of a student’s project).
Letter of support
A one-page letter of support from the director of each organisation involved in the application should be provided.
This should demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to postgraduate research, its commitment to supporting the staff involved in student supervision, and any specific additional support or resources not otherwise mentioned in the application.
If applying as a partner CDP with a HEI, then we will require a letter from the pro–vice chancellor, or equivalent.
Each letter should be uploaded as a separate attachment.
EDI action plan
Please produce an EDI action plan (include as an attachment, do not exceed four sides of A4, Arial size 11pt font) outlining how EDI principles will be upheld in all aspects of being a CDP award holder in terms of:
- recruitment of students
- ongoing support of students
- decision making
- management of awards.
The plan will need to outline how the CDP will work with the HEI partners and any other collaborators to ensure all recruited students have equitable access to opportunities and receive the support they need to successfully complete their studies and develop their careers.
AHRC will require CDPs to put in place monitoring of these arrangements, across the consortium partners, if applicable, to enable it to review the effectiveness and openness of its recruitment process and strategies for student support.
This will be an ongoing process of review and analysis. Where this process identifies concerns, responsive changes should be implemented.
Your approach to supporting EDI is expected to exceed all relevant legal obligations, including but not limited to those of the Equality Act 2010.
For example, you are expected to undertake open, merit-based and transparent recruitment of students, selecting candidates regardless of background or any protected characteristic as defined by the Equality Act (2010).
We encourage you to ensure your recruitment process is inclusive, that you seek to attract students from under-represented groups and to review your application criteria to ensure they do not introduce bias.
All staff involved in recruitment should be skilled in reducing bias and inclusive and evidence-based processes.
As a CDP award holder, you will be expected to collect information on students, including diversity monitoring data.
We encourage you to use monitoring data on protected characteristics and consider adding other aspects such as social inclusion and caring responsibilities if you have not done so already.
You are expected to ensure that supervisors receive support and training that they individually need to provide the highest quality supervisory support to their students.
And be aware of their responsibilities under the Equality Act (2010) to treat all students in a fair, open and non-discriminatory manner and also to be able to assist in ensuring student health and wellbeing.
The working environment for doctoral students should be inclusive, supportive and welcoming.
You must have clear, well-publicised policies, processes and training in place to prevent bullying and harassment, consistent with good practice.
There should be processes in place for people to raise concerns and you should act when they do.
Please structure your plan with the following headers.
Known equality, diversity and inclusion needs in your community
Include an analysis of any known or anticipated EDI issues within your doctoral community. Include any groups that are under-represented and any actions already taken.
Strategic actions to increase equality, diversity and inclusion
What action do you propose to take to improve EDI in your student cohort?
If you already have an EDI strategy, action plan or framework within your organisation, include some detail on how the plan has been developed, advice sought or other strategies utilised.
Plans for supporting students once recruited
Outline plans to ensure you continue to create an inclusive environment for students, founded on sound EDI principles.
Strategy for monitoring the delivery of this action plan
This should measure success and identify the need for improvements, as well as any governance, reporting or advice structures that are in place to support EDI on which you will draw.
Other points include:
- plans for future recruitment rounds to increase diversity
- possible challenges or barriers and how you will address them
- other relevant actions.
Areas you may wish to consider are:
- engaging potential students
- advertising your studentships (for example, making this targeted to under-represented groups if appropriate)
- support for individual candidates at application stage
- recruitment practice (for example, using tie breaker approach if suitable and ensuring a diverse recruitment panel, anonymised applications, providing EDI training, including unconscious bias training, to recruitment panels)
- consideration of positive action, or other targeted support activities
- support for individual students (for example, mentoring programmes in place to give students specific support)
- range and diversity of partnerships
- collaborations with organisations with special expertise or interests relating to EDI
- cohort support
- support and advice for supervisors
- administrative and financial arrangements and governance
- communication and engagement activities
- lessons learned from any previous strategies you have implemented
- risk management.
Learn more about UKRI’s EDI policy.