Midlands4Cities Collaborative Doctoral Award

Qualification: PhD

Departments: Archaeology and Ancient History School of Criminology School of Business Education English Geography History History of Art and Film Leicester Law School Management Modern Languages Media and Communication Museum Studies Politics and International Relations Sociology

Application deadline: 14 January 2019

Start date: October 2019


The deadline for Midlands4Cities Collaborative Doctoral Award 2019 has passed; however, it is an annually recurring award, and this page will give an indication of the subsequent year's information.

The Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (M4C) brings together eight leading universities across the Midlands to support the professional and personal development of the next generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), this is a collaboration between the University of Leicester, University of Nottingham, University of Birmingham, De Montfort University, Nottingham Trent University, Birmingham City University, University of Warwick, and University of Coventry, and will provide research candidates with enhanced mentoring, subject, and skills training (including cross-institutional training), and support in preparing for a career.

Our Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDAs) are co-designed between an M4C university and an external partner organisation. CDAs offer a project with established research aims, responding to particular needs in the cultural, creative and heritage sectors.

Supervisory teams are pre-established and are made up of academics from the M4C partnership and a member of the external partner organisation.

A Collaborative Doctoral Award allows you to:

  • Produce a quality thesis under expert academic and partner supervision.
  • Gain first-hand experience of partner organisations outside the university environment.
  • Enhance employability and skills through development opportunities in line with M4C’s commitment to ‘quality thesis plus'.

In addition to the Collaborative Doctoral Award, M4C also offer an alternative Open Doctoral Award in which you will design your own project.

Duration of study

The normal maximum award tenure is 3.5 years (42 months) for full-time study and six years (72 months) for part-time study. These periods can be extended if you make a case to the AHRC. You can do this as part of your AHRC M4C application.

Doctoral training partnerships

Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) are multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional schemes designed to support the training of the next generation of world-class researchers. The University of Leicester is a lead partner in four DTPs/CDTs through which we can offer funded PhD studentships in a wide range of research areas. 

Studentships are available to highly motivated and qualified applicants and provide a generous support package usually including a full fee waiver, annual stipend, and research training support grant. Studentships are in most cases offered early in the year for October start. Enquiries outside of the main application periods are welcomed.



Full-time studentships

  • Payment of approved fees (as set and agreed by UK Research and Innovation), currently £4,260 p.a. for 2018/19.
  • Maintenance grant (or stipend) for the student, currently £14,777p.a. for 2018 entry.
  • Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) which supports UK/ overseas fieldwork and attendance at conferences (by application for current PhD students).
  • Collaborative Doctoral Award holders will receive an additional £500 per annum to facilitate partnership working.

Part-time studentships

  • Payment of approved pro-rata part-time fees.
  • A pro-rata maintenance grant at 50% (stipend).
  • Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) which support UK/ overseas fieldwork and attendance at conferences (by application for current PhD students).

EU fees-only studentships

Where institutional funds allow, M4C may be able to offer a fully-funded studentship to EU applicants. This is not guaranteed but we hope to be able to offer stipends whenever possible.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

You should either hold a Master's qualification at the time of application or be able to state that you will have completed one by the time your PhD begins (even though the result may not be known and the final examination board may not yet have taken place). You can also apply on the basis of having equivalent relevant professional experience in lieu of a Master's qualification.

Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries


University of Leicester Site Directors

Professor Phil Shaw

Professor Neil Christie

General funding and application enquiries

Louise Taylor

How to apply

How to apply

University of Leicester application

In late 2019, the Apply button will appear at the bottom of this page.

  • If you apply for more than one studentship in the same department, please only submit one University application form, but indicate both projects/funding sources. If you are applying for projects in different departments, please complete separate University application forms for each project.
  • Under the funding section select Studentship and in the drop-down list select AHRC Midlands4Cities.
  • In the References section, do not include your referee's email address. Instead, use pgradmissions@le.ac.uk as the email for both referees. References are requested as part of the AHRC M4C application only.

Midlands4Cities application

Secondly, complete the Midlands4Cities application form. For more details, please read the M4C guidance notes.



  • Funding is only available for students who are UK or EU citizens beginning a PhD at one of the M4C member universities in September 2019.
  • UK students are eligible for a ‘Full Award’.
  • EU students are generally eligible for a ‘Fees Only Award’. However, if you have been resident in the UK for three years immediately prior to the beginning of your studies, you are eligible for a ‘Full Award’.

Examples of previous CDAs (2019 entry)

Examples of previous CDAs (2019 entry)

  • Nottingham Playhouse: A Cultural History and Analysis of its Community Engagement (Nottingham Trent University and Nottingham Playhouse)
  • “Black Foundlings”: Slavery, Trade and London in the Long Eighteenth Century (University of Warwick and The Foundling Museum)
  • Radical Shakespeare: the life and work of Michael Bogdanov (University of Warwick and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust)
  • Imperial Connections: Re-examining Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire (University of Birmingham and National Trust)
  • Narratives of Loss during the Civil Wars in Ireland, Wales and England Compared, 1641–52 (University of Leicester and National Civil War Centre (NCWC), Newark Museum)
  • Money, economy and society in Late Saxon England: The Lenborough Hoard and the monetary impact of Anglo-Danish rule (University of Leicester and Bucks County Museum Trust (BCMT), supported by the British Museum)
  • Making art part of everyday life: The influence of Asian art on UK curatorial practice (Birmingham City University and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham)
  • Music Education, Cultural Value and Social Change: A Case Study of the Nottingham Music Service (University of Nottingham and Nottingham Music Service)
  • At Home in Coventry 1945-1975 (Coventry University and Herbert Art Gallery and Museum)
  • Identity, Engagement, and Bonds of Affect through Music (De Montfort University and Leicestershire Music Education Hub (Leicestershire County Council))
  • The creativity of figurative messaging in advertising: a collaborative investigation into its application and measurement of success in real-world advertising campaigns (University of Birmingham and Big Cat Marketing & Communications Agency)