External Placement Schemes

We support our postgraduate researchers in securing high-quality external placement opportunities, nationally and internationally.

During the year we might advertise projects that are initiatied by our strategic and/or other project partners as part of the Partner-Led strand of our Placement Scheme, to which researchers can apply onnline by the deadline advertised with each specific call.

In addition, as a NWCDTP-funded researcher you will also be able to access a variety of opportunities advertised as part of external National and International placement schemes. These usually require a direct application to the external organisation offering the placement. If you intend to apply to any of the following schemes (or any other external schemes), you can send your application to the PPO in advance of the deadline for bespoke advice and specific feedback on your draft application before submitting it, which should maximise your chances of success. 

If successful in securing a place, applicants will be required to complete an online PGR Placement Application Form – selecting ‘National and International Placement scheme’ at the beginning of the form – in order to secure funding, since most of these schemes require a scholarship extension from your DTP for funding your place.

Please see the NWCDTP Placement Scheme Guidance Document for more information, including reporting requirements.


AHRC International Placement Scheme

The AHRC’s International Placement Scheme (IPS) funds short-term fellowships at prestigious international research institutions for UK doctoral level research assistants and AHRC/ESRC funded doctoral students. The scheme is run annually, with places available across a number of different host institutions including: 

  • Harry RansomCenter, The University of Texas at Austin, USA
  • The Huntington Library, California, USA
  • Library of Congress, Washington DC, USA1
  • National Institutes for the Humanities, Japan
  • Shanghai Theatre Academy, Shanghai, China
  • Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA
  • YaleCenterfor British Art, Connecticut, USA 
  • National Museum Institute, New Delhi, India 

Placements will last three to six months. Participants will receive £1,000 for travel and visa costs and £1,750 for each month of the fellowship. 

Application opens in November and closes in February every year. For 2022, applicants should complete and submit their application using the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system by 16:00 on Thursday, 24 February 2022

To apply, your School or Supervisor will need to submit an application via the IPS/AHRC scheme. Please check the IPS page on the AHRC’s website for details. 

See here AHRC Guidance on filling the application, which includes criteria for the grading scale

You can send your application to the PPO in advance of the deadline for specific feedback on your draft application before submitting it, which should maximise your chances of success. 


British Library Placement Scheme

BL runs an internal PhD Placement Scheme that aims to provide an opportunity to PhD researchers to experience research in a different environment to that of a university, to engage with a range of research users and audiences, to gain insights into different potential postdoctoral career paths, and to make a tangible contribution to the purposes and programmes of a national library and major cultural organisation.

A broad range of opportunities to work with different collections are made available every year for projects of 3 months or part-time equivalent, to be undertaken from June 2022 onwards. Many of the projects are suitable for partial or full remote working.

A list of all available placement projects and full details of how to apply are available on the website here: https://www.bl.uk/news/2023/january/phd-placement-opportunities

Deadline: 5pm on Monday 20 February 2023.

Examples of previous BL PhD research placements and their outcomes.

Applications to the BL Placement Scheme are made to BL directly. Funding is provided through the NWCDTP/AHRC scholarship extension mechanism, that researchers will need to request to NWCDTP once their direct application to BL has been successful.

BL offers free webinars and open events to explore their collections with expert staff. The complete programme, and links to register, can be found here.


Cabinet Office Open Innovation Placements

HM Government’s Open Innovation Team generates analysis and insight for government by helping officials collaborate with outside experts and research. Over the past three years, more than 75 PhD students have been hosted, with many going on to policy jobs after completing their studies. This placement offers the chance to work with clients across government, experience a diverse range of policy areas and learn how you can transfer your PhD skills into new environments.

PhD students are invited to join their team for three months on a full time basis to help deliver policy projects on health, welfare reform, industrial strategy, digital transformation and other priority areas. 

Recruitment round for placements across 2023 is now open. 

This scheme will require PhD researchers to secure additional funding from the DTP in order to take up the opportunity. 

To apply, you will need to submit an online application to the Cabinet Office website

Read from previous PhD Placement holders and their experience here and here. Listen to interviews here

Please send your draft application to the PPO in advance of the deadline for internal review and feedback.

Collaboration Lab: Research Consultancy programme

Collaboration Lab is a Knowledge Exchange-based training program that trains socially responsible researchers in the skills necessary to tackle real-world challenges in collaboration with public, private and non-profits organisations looking to create positive social impact.

Working closely with leaders from business and cultural organisations, PhD researchers will make use of analytical, creative problem solving, project management and communication skills to solve problems in education, health, sustainable development, inclusive culture, technology ethics, cultural heritage and more.

Researchers work in interdisciplinary, cross-institutional and cross-DTP teams, to co-design and deliver research consultancy projects to partner organisations at national and international level, supported by experienced trainers and coaches to deliver high-quality research and project work.

Read more about the programme and previously funded projects here.

See projects delivered by fellow NWCDTP researchers in our Case Studies section.

Current NWCDTP Researchers can apply to receive funding to attend the programme and an extension for their project work (2 months FTE over 4 month part-time schedule).


Next funding opportunity

  • status: closed
  • opening date: TBC


How to apply

The programme is led by REAlab. Applicants apply by completing the online application form.

This scheme will require PhD researchers to secure additional funding from the DTP in order to take up the opportunity.


Royal Institution PhD Science Presenter Internship

The Ri provides science education and heritage activities for people of all ages and backgrounds across the UK and around the world. 

This internship is an opportunity for PhD researchers to build your confidence in presenting to a group of young people in an engaging educational environment, to receive regular feedback and training in science communication and to design content for use on Ri social media.  The internship is from May to July 2022 with some flexibility. The successful intern will:

  • Present hands-on science workshops to young people in the LYSC.
  • Research and develop hands-on science experiments for Ri social media content.
  • Work with the YSC team to develop content for other Ri activities.

The closing date for receipt of applications has been extended to 9am Tuesday 12 April 2022. 

For more information and to apply: https://www.rigb.org/about-us/work-with-us/science-presenter-phd-intern

See more opportunities for PhD internships at the RI: https://www.rigb.org/about-us/work-with-us

UKRI Policy Internship Scheme

As part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s postgraduate training portfolio, the UKRI Policy Internships scheme provides an opportunity for UKRI-funded doctoral students to undertake a three-month placement at one of a selected group of influential policy organisations.

Currently the scheme supports on average 123 internships per year across all host partners.

During their internship, the PhD researcher undertakes work on a policy topic agreed with their host partner that is relevant to both parties. At the end of the internship, the researcher is expected to have:

  • produced a briefing paper

  • participated in a policy inquiry and, or

  • organised a policy event.

The intention of the scheme is to embed PhD students in an environment where they can engage with the process of converting research outputs into policy. These internships equip them with transferable skills and training relevant to the future career paths that they may choose.


Next funding opportunity

  • status: open

  • opening date: 20 September 2022

  • closing date: 4 November 2022 16:00 UK time


How to apply


Applicants should complete the online application form.

Read UKRI guidance on how to apply.

For further information, applicants are advised to read the guidance and host partner information documents provided.

If you are having trouble accessing the online application form, please contact the NERC research careers team for an alternative version of this form. 



NERC currently coordinates the scheme on behalf of UKRI and any enquiries should be directed to the NERC Talent and Skills team at researchcareers@nerc.ukri.org in the first instance.


NWCDTP support 

You can send your draft application to the PPO in advance of the deadline for detailed feedback and internal review before submission.