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AHRC/CHASE Collaborative Doctoral Award: Black and Indigenous Collectors at the Linnean Society of London

How did Black and Indigenous people shape eighteenth- and nineteenth-century knowledge? Birkbeck, University of London and the Linnean Society are pleased to announce a fully funded doctoral award to start in October 2022. The successful applicant will carry out research on the Linnean Society's rich archives covering trans-Atlantic networks, investigating the lives of Black and Indigenous individuals crucial to the production of knowledge about the natural world during a period of colonialism and Empire. The final PhD topic will be decided by the successful applicant, in conversation with supervisors.

This opportunity offers privileged access to vital holdings of specimens and manuscripts relating to the global development of knowledge about the natural world, and the chance to take an active role in revealing hidden histories within the archives of an institution of crucial cultural and historical significance. This award also offers expert supervision in the literary and visual culture of empire and slavery, the history of science, and archiving and museum studies; extensive research training and experience in public engagement and events organization. The award also includes funds for national and international travel to other archives, and to organise public events related to the research.

Applicants from a broad range of relevant backgrounds are encouraged to apply. The project is likely to be of interest to those with backgrounds in eighteenth- and/or nineteenth-century literature, or the history of empire and race, or history of science, or history of visual cultures or museum studies.

Advice for applicants

Project details


Value and length of funding

  • The studentship is subject to UKRI eligibility criteria, and will cover home or international fees and stipend at UKRI rates for a maximum of four years full-time, or seven years part-time study, subject to institutional regulations.
  • The AHRC stipend for the academic year 2022-23 will be £18,612 (with London weighting). This includes enhanced stipend to cover additional travel costs relating to the project. Please note: this funding amount typically increases with inflation each academic year. 
  • The award will cover UK or international fees.


  • Essential skills/attributes
    • A background (e.g. at BA/MA level) in one (or more) of the fields related to the project's theme: eighteenth- and/or nineteenth-century literature and/or history, history of empire and race, history of science, history of visual cultures or museum studies
    • Excellent written and communication skills
    • Excellent organisational and planning skills
    • Ability to work independently, including excellent problem solving skills
    • Excellent attention to detail
    • Ability to carry out in-depth research using a variety of sources including library, archive and biological material
    • Good Microsoft Office skills

How to apply

  • All applications are made, via the Birkbeck application portal, to the MPhil/PhD English and Humanities course. 
  • The application will prompt you to confirm details of any scholarships or grants (for your proposed study at Birkbeck). Please ensure you respond with: CHASE CDA BBK/LAN. If this section is not clearly marked, your application may not be picked up for assessment.
  • Supporting documents- We request the following documents from each applicant:
    • CV
    • A covering letter including a statement outlining eligibility for this fellowship
    • A research proposal of up to 1,500 words (not 2,000 which may be stated elsewhere) and a one-page bibliography of key secondary texts. This should identify how your current academic interests relate to the doctoral project, explaining your reasons for wishing to undertake research in this area. The research proposal should also indicate critical contexts for the project that emerge from your training, experience and research interests. The proposal can also outline how you might wish to refine the project outline so as to meet specific research aims of your own. 
    • The three documents above should be uploaded as one complete document titled ‘research proposal’.
    • You may also want to include  transcripts of relevant studies and, where appropriate, a letter from your course coordinator predicting the expected degree result (for those who still have to complete their current master's-level programme), as well as a sample of writing such as your MA dissertation, or similar.
  • References
    • Please arrange for two individuals who know your academic work to upload references.
    • Referees will be automatically prompted to upload their references when you submit your application.
    • Please note that all references must be uploaded by 12 noon Friday 17 June, 2022. We strongly encourage you to contact referees as early as possible to ensure they are prepared to upload their reference following submission of your application. 

Closing date for applications

  • Closing date for applications: Monday 13 June 2022, 12 noon.
  • Deadline for references: Friday 17 June 2022, 12 noon.
  • Interview date: w/c 20 June 2022.

Further information

  • Informal enquiries about this collaborative project can be sent to  for research questions or  for administrative questions.
  • We particularly welcome applications from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.