White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities to nurture next generation of skilled researchers

A successful collaboration between the Universities of York, Leeds and Sheffield has received a £19m award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to create the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities.

The award was one of 11 new Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and seven Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) announced by the AHRC today.

The funding will be supplemented by a further contribution of £4m from the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York, and is testimony to the strength of the arts and humanities across the three Russell Group universities. It also recognises the strong intellectual and organisational structure created through the White Rose University Consortium.

The Doctoral Training Partnership award will allow the new White Rose College to recruit and train more than 300 fully-funded doctoral students over five years, with the first cohort starting in autumn 2014.

The funding is designed to foster a more collaborative approach to doctoral training and will equip high-achieving individuals with the skills and experience to become leaders in their chosen fields, ultimately benefitting the UK economy and society. To achieve this, the College will work closely with leading external organisations from sectors including museums, galleries, archives and libraries; arts and heritage organisations; creative industries; design, manufacturing and retail; publishing and performing arts; media; and charities and the public sector.

Dr Julian White, Chief Executive of the White Rose University Consortium, said: “This prestigious award from the AHRC is recognition of the world-class strengths in the arts and humanities across the three universities. The strategic importance of this initiative is demonstrated by an additional investment of £4m from the universities to enhance the College’s reach, impact and operation.

“The College builds on the long-term strategic partnership between the three universities – the White Rose University Consortium – which has generated in excess of £130m of funding for collaborative projects across research, training and knowledge exchange.”

The new DTP and CDT awards are designed to create greater flexibility for Higher Education Institutions and to create rich training environments both within and across disciplines. This will include allocation of resources for placement opportunities and additional skills training.

The AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership for the new White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities will be coordinated by the University of York, with Professor Julian Richards as the founding Director.

Professor Richards said: “The White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities will provide the environment, support and opportunities to enable the brightest doctoral students to flourish and will equip them for their future careers. Students will benefit from an enhanced training programme, as well as funded opportunities to spend time with external organisations, in the UK or internationally, thus gaining the skills and experience valued by potential employers.”

Professor Paul Cooke, Pro-Dean for Research and Innovation, Faculty of Arts, at the University of Leeds, said: “This major success endorses our new model of collaborative doctoral training and provides a platform for long term closer partnership between the three universities in the arts and humanities. The aspiration is that relationships strengthened through the College will stimulate further research, training and knowledge exchange opportunities.”

Professor Richard Jones, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Sheffield, said: “The funding from the AHRC is a real vote of confidence in the depth of scholarship and the quality of the doctoral experience in Arts and Humanities in the three universities. Potential applicants for these AHRC studentships, as well as students funded by other means, will see this award as a badge of quality, helping us continue to attract the brightest doctoral students.”

Professor Mark Ormrod, Academic Coordinator for Arts and Humanities, at the University of York, said: “The quality, scale and purpose of this partnership means that the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities will be one of the leading AHRC funded programmes in the UK. The students will be part of a very strong learning environment, with collectively over 600 members of academic staff and approximately 1,000 doctoral students in the arts and humanities across the three universities.”

Science and Universities Minister David Willetts said: “The AHRC is creating more opportunities for the next generation of researchers, both within and beyond academia in the thriving arts and humanities sector. I’m particularly pleased to see an emphasis on student placements and additional skills training among the new arrangements.”
Professor Rick Rylance, Chief Executive of the AHRC, said: “This is an important step forward in delivering the best possible training and support for postgraduate students in the arts and humanities, and in developing a collaborative approach which pools expertise and expands horizons for postgraduate researchers. We are delighted at how the sector, and partners beyond the sector, have responded and we look forward to working closely with them to support the next generation.”

Further information, including details of the doctoral studentship funding and application process can be found at http://www.arts-and-humanities.whiterose.ac.uk/college-of-arts-humanities/

Notes to Editors:

  • The Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) will offer postgraduate studentships and training across the full range of the AHRC’s disciplines, largely through consortia of Higher Education institutions (HEIs). The Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) are consortia awards offering training, skills and capacity in specific disciplinary areas which are part of the AHRC’s current priorities: modern languages, creative and performing arts, especially design, and heritage. From next year the majority of AHRC postgraduate funding will be made through these new mechanisms which will replace the former Block Grant Partnerships.
  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide  range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.http://www.ahrc.ac.uk For AHRC media enquiries contact Danielle Moore-Chick, AHRC: 01793 41 6021 d.moore-chick@ahrc.ac.uk
  • The White Rose University Consortium is a strategicpartnership between three of the UK’s leading research universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York. Since it was formed in 1997, White Rose has generated more than £130m of additional funding into the Universities to enable the delivery of a range of initiatives including collaborative research, commercial exploitation, joint postgraduate scholarships and industrial partnerships. For more information on the White Rose University Consortium http://www.whiterose.ac.uk/
  • The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise showed the University of Leeds to be the UK’s eighth biggest research powerhouse and the University’s vision is to secure a place among the world’s leading universities by 2015. More information at http://www.leeds.ac.uk/
  • The University of Sheffield: With nearly 25,000 of the brightest students from 117 countries coming to learn alongside 1,209 of the world’s best academics, it is clear why the University of Sheffield is one of the UK’s leading universities. Staff and students at Sheffield are committed to helping discover and understand the causes of things – and propose solutions that have the power to transform the world we live in. A member of the Russell Group, the University of Sheffield has a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. The University of Sheffield has been named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards 2011 for its exceptional performance in research, teaching, access and business performance. In addition, the University has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes (1998, 2000, 2002, 2007), recognising the outstanding contribution by universities and colleges to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life. More information at http://www.shef.ac.uk/
  • The University of York is a member of the influential Russell Group of leading universities and is in the Top 100 of the Times Higher Education 2013/14 World University Rankings. Across its eight arts and humanities departments – Archaeology; English and Related Literature; History; History of Art; Language and Linguistic Science; Music; Philosophy; Theatre, Film and Television – and through the work of its many interdisciplinary centres, researchers at York are uncovering new materials, rereading existing work in new ways, informing and refining on-going debates, and boldly changing the terms of those debates. More information at http://www.york.ac.uk/