Nurturing the next generation of skilled researchers


The Universities of Leeds, York and Sheffield have been awarded funding by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to support more than 250 PhD researchers.

The doctoral training programme will be provided by the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH) – a collaboration between the three Yorkshire universities.

The award to WRoCAH will support approximately 265 fully-funded PhD researchers in the arts and humanities over five years, with the first cohort starting in October 2019.

The award extends the funding for WRoCAH, which was set up with a grant from the AHRC in 2013.

The renewed support from the research council reflects the strength of research and teaching in the arts and humanities in the region, as well as the strong intellectual and organisational structure created through the White Rose University Consortium.

The funding will be supplemented by further investment from all three Russell Group universities.

This second round of funding to WRoCAH for arts and humanities Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTP2) is part of a wider programme that will see 72 higher education institutions across the UK share more than £170 million over eight years. 

Global approach

PhD programmes offered by WRoCAH are designed to foster a more collaborative and global approach to doctoral training and will equip high-achieving individuals with the skills and experience to become leaders in their chosen fields.

The researchers will work closely with leading external organisations from sectors including museums, galleries, archives and libraries; arts and heritage organisations; the creative industries; design, manufacturing and retail; publishing and performing arts; media, and charities and the public sector.

All of the PhD researchers supported by the award will complete researcher employability, knowledge exchange and internationalisation projects during their studies.

Our students will receive the best possible training and support, equipping them with the skills, experience, confidence and ambition to apply their innovative and exciting research in the wider world.

Professor Frank Finlay

Professor Edward Harcourt, the AHRC’s Director of Research, said: “The AHRC is delighted to announce its renewed commitment to the Doctoral Training Partnerships model. Our support for the next generation of arts and humanities researchers is critical to securing the future of the UK arts and humanities sector, which accounts for nearly a third of all UK academic staff, is renowned the world over for its outstanding quality, and which plays a vital part in our higher education ecosystem as a whole.

“We were extremely pleased with the response to our call, which saw high quality applications from across the UK from a variety of diverse and innovative consortia, each with a clear strategy and vision for the future support of their doctoral students.”

Professor Frank Finlay, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures at the University of Leeds, said: “This generous funding from the AHRC is a great vote of confidence in the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities and the quality and range of research it is able to provide.  

“The exceptionally talented postgraduate researchers we will be able to attract to all three universities will help shape our disciplines for the future.

Generating public benefit 

Profssor Finlay continued: “Our students will receive the best possible training and support, equipping them with the skills, experience, confidence and ambition to apply their innovative and exciting research in the wider world, generating socio-cultural, economic and other forms of public benefit.

“What is particularly exciting is the focus on fostering a collaborative, global approach to doctoral training. At Leeds, we do everything we can to encourage and support our staff and students to work with experts across the world. This includes those to be found in the many world-renowned organisations which are our partners and collaborators.

“We are also fortunate to live and work in culturally-diverse communities which contribute hugely to the excellence of our research and teaching.”

Professor Judith Buchanan, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of York, said: “Across the past five years, the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities, ably led by Professor Julian Richards, has selected and supported brilliant emerging academics and leaders in adjacent fields.

“This impressive new grant from the AHRC has been awarded as a result of the vision and work of a fine bid team from across our three universities, led by Professor Tom Stoneham.

“We are delighted about the renewed and expanded work with future cohorts of gifted, intellectually ambitious, imaginative and hard-working doctoral researchers that this award will now make possible.”

Find out more about postgraduate research degrees at Leeds

Further information

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