AHRC funding through the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership

Level of study
Doctoral research
Subject area
Arts and Law, African Studies, American and Canadian Studies, Antiquity, Archaeology, Classics and Ancient History, Drama and Theatre Arts, English Language and Linguistics, English Literature, Film and Creative Writing, Heritage, History, History of Art, Law, Modern Languages and Cultures, Music, Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Geography, Education
EU, Overseas (Non-EU), UK
Type of Award
Research Council
Deadline for applying
Closed 12/01/2022 (Note: competition closed for this year)

Award Description

Midlands4Cities (M4C) is a collaboration between the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, University of Warwick, Coventry University, University of Leicester, De Montfort University, Nottingham Trent University and The University of Nottingham.

Through our Open Doctoral and Collaborative Doctoral Awards, M4C will fund and support outstanding research for 109 doctoral researchers across the breadth of Arts and Humanities starting in October 2022.

From the academic year 2022/23, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funding is open to UK and International research students. M4C studentships can be undertaken full-time and part-time. Studentships for open doctoral awards are for 3.5 years and for the CDAs are for 4 years full-time study (a maximum of 7 years and 8 years respectively for part-time study).

There are two routes to PhD study:

  • Open Doctoral Awards, where you agree a research proposal in any disciplinary or interdisciplinary area of the arts and humanities with your supervisory team. (93 awards available)
  • Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDAs), which are co-designed between an M4C institution and an external partner organisation. (16 awards available)

There are currently 2 Collaborative Doctoral Awards available to University of Birmingham students:

  • Engagement and diversity in twenty-first century popular fiction publishing: An interdisciplinary study of Mills & Boon romance readership and publishing (Find out more on the Midlands4Cities website here). 
  • Representing Eastern Europe: Diversity, Inclusion and (De)coloniality in the UK Creative Economies (Find out more on the Midlands4Cities website here). 

Value of Award

A full-time studentship award consists of three parts:

  • Payment of approved fees (as set and agreed by the Research Councils) 
  • Maintenance grant (or stipend) for the student 
  • Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) which includes UK/overseas fieldwork and attendance at conferences (by application only for current PhD students)

Eligibility Criteria

These awards are open to all UK and International students who meet the academic and residency eligibility criteria, as detailed in the M4C application Guidance Notes. Studentships for open doctoral awards are for 3.5 years and for the collaborative doctoral awards are for 4 years full-time study. The awards are for campus-based students only, and distance learning is therefore not eligible.

Current PhD students are eligible to apply for an M4C studentship, providing that, at the start of the award, you have at least 50% (excluding writing-up) of your period of study remaining. Please read our FAQs for further details. 

Please also refer to the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership website.

How to Apply


The deadline for AHRC funding applications is at 12pm noon on 12 January 2022. Applicants must also have applied for a place to study at one of the eight M4C universities. For full details of eligibility, funding, research supervision areas and CDA projects, and for dates of our November 2021 application writing workshops, please visit the Midlands4Cities website or contact enquiries@midlands4cities.ac.uk.

Please see our web pages for further guidance on applying with the University of Birmingham as your lead institution.