National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) PhD studentships

To begin in October 2017

Deadline for studentship applications: 30 June 2017

Award offers will be issued after 11 July 2017

The Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership and Northumbria-Sunderland Centre for Doctoral Training invite applications for NPIF studentships funded via the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Each studentship is a collaboration between a partner organisation and University, allowing students to work with industrial and commercial partners, and leading academic researchers. Through the scheme students have access to a number of training opportunities including placements and internships.

About the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF)

As part of its Industrial Strategy, the government recently announced a National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) to support an additional 1000 PhD studentships to start on 1 October 2017. The Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership (NBDTP) and Northumbria-Sunderland Consortium in Art and Design (N-SC) have jointly secured 12 awards, funded by the AHRC, to support research in the two areas identified by AHRC as the focus of these awards: Design and The Creative Sector.


Applicants must be a United Kingdom citizen or be a resident of another European Union country to hold an AHRC studentship. Applicants are asked to check their eligibility for an award before applying. Further details about the AHRC's eligibility criteria (including UK/EU residency requirements) can be found on the AHRC’s website (see AHRC Guide to Student Funding (PDF) Guide page 16) and in RCUK’s Student Funding Guide (page 10).

Please check the AHRC and RCUK guidelines before applying for one of these publicly funded studentships. This is particularly important if you are considering part-time study or if you are not British. There are a number of regulations depending on how long you have lived in the UK and in what capacity, and regarding EU status. Most students resident in member states of the EU, not based in the UK, will be eligible for fees-only awards rather than a stipend and fees award. There are no studentships available for people of a nationality and residency based outside of the EU.

How To Apply

If you are considering applying for one of these studentships, you must first consult the Guidance Notes.

Prospective ‘Supervisor-led route’ applicants must also consult the list of 31 Research Fields and e-mail the relevant supervisor as soon as possible.

Prospective ‘Applicant-led route’ applicants must e-mail the relevant lead academic contact with an expression of interest by Wednesday 7 June at 5pm.

Before they begin to complete the Application Form, potential applicants must have made contact with a member of academic staff at one of the five universities.

AHRC NPIF Guidance AHRC NPIF Research Fields AHRC NPIF Application Form

If permitted to proceed with an application, they must complete Section A of the form by Monday 19 June at 5pm.

Briefings for potential applicants, academic staff and partners will be held

  • at Queen’s University Belfast on Tuesday 6 June from 1700 to 1900 in GRS/01/014 (Training Room 8), on the first floor of The Graduate School, and
  • at Northumbria University on Monday 12 June from 1700 to 1900 in the Foyer of the School of Design, City Campus East (CCE) 2. Please email to confirm you will attend the Northumbria University event.

Any queries should be directed to

Detailed information regarding Northumbria University art and design research can be found here, and for Northumbria School of Design here.

Detailed information regarding University of Sunderland art and design research can be found here.