Working together in Partnership.

Applying high quality research methodology to inform and assist public, private and third sector partners

NINE DTP is committed to encouraging and fostering links between academic and non-academic partners, allowing our postgraduates to gain critical skills and knowledge in working with colleagues outside of academia, whilst providing our partners with the benefit of innovative, high-quality researchers.

How can partnerships with Doctoral candidates benefit you?

Feature Box Title

NINE DTP students are research-active individuals, actively engaged in producing innovative research, proposals, and generating literature and presentations to inform, advise and guide.

Feature Box Title

Our Award-holders possess exceptional critical thinking and analytical skills, with training in qualitative, quantitative and advanced research methodologies and practice.

Feature Box Title

Doctoral candidates possess a clear commitment to developing and improving the civil society through their research, whether through policy or practice.

The two types of collaborative projects

1. Collaborative Studentships

A collaborative studentship (formerly known as a CASE Studentship) provides an opportunity for an organisation to work with a Doctoral candidate for the duration of their Doctoral programme. The student will create their research project and goals in conjunction with the partner institution, allowing both student and organisation to progress their knowledge and understanding of a topic of mutual interest.

Collaborative studentships are principally constructed in advance of the student receiving funding for their studies. It may be that a prospective student will contact a potential collaborative partner directly to explore the possibility of working together; alternatively, external partners might wish to contact academic departments to discuss the possibility of the department identifying a suitable candidate for a collaborative project.

A collaborative studentship does not necessarily involve co-funding, although a clear commitment of resource from the collaborative partner can strengthen a candidates nomination for funding, increasing the chances of the studentship progressing through the NINE DTP studentship competition.

There are two principle routes to establishing a collaborative studentship.

Our expectation is that, in most cases, a potential candidate for funding will approach their intended partner institution with a research proposal. This proposal can then be discussed, and developed, by the applicant, the University and the partner. Upon applying for funding from NINE DTP, the student will include details of the proposed collaboration in their application.

Alternatively, if a partner institution has a particular project that they would be willing to part-fund, it may be possible for the partner to directly approach a University to ask if a suitable candidate may be found to work on the project.

In both cases, the collaborative nature of the project does not guarantee NINE DTP funding, which in turn may result in the prospective student being unable to proceed with the project (although other funding mechanisms may be available via alternate non-NINE DTP channels).

The DTP encourages collaborative applications by not including them in the quota of research proposals each training pathway can nominate to the final studentship competition. In seeking to support over fifteen collaborative projects each year, we encourage collaborative proposals; however, decisions on funding will be made based primarily upon the academic merit of the research proposed, the strength of the supervisory fit, and the applicants academic credentials.

The nature and strength of the collaboration, will be considered as part of the DTP funding decision; we would therefore note that applications will be considered stronger where the partner has made a more significant commitment to supporting the proposed research, whether through matched funding, provision of data and / or resource, or clear developmental opportunities.

As a host organisation, you will gain:

  • the assistance of an exceptional researcher on a matter of some relevance to your organisational interest
  • access to a practitioner of cutting-edge research methodologies, which can be shared and assimilated into your work practices
  • knowledge exchange, and access to the product of a three-year period of intensive study

In exchange, the Doctoral candidate will be looking to:

  • gain an understanding of non-academic processes and practices
  • build potential networks of partners, creating future opportunities for developing research impact
  • gain access to data, resource and facilities which can assist them in the pursuit of their thesis, allowing them to complete their Doctorate
  • produce real-world output, demonstrating the impact of their research in enhancing the work of the partner organisation, whilst also producing academic output (papers, academic conferences, etc.)
Collaborative partners will be expected to provide some support and assistance to the Doctoral Candidate as they develop their research project.

We would generally ask the partner to provide access to the necessary data and facilities to work on the project, including access to any IT systems or data sets that may be needed (subject to compliance with data protection practices and legislation). We would also ask that the host organisation provide a degree of supervisory input in cooperation with the University, to allow our students to benefit from the knowledge, experience and practices of your business. This interaction can assist both parties with ensuring that the research grows in a mutually acceptable fashion.

NINE DTP would be interested in talking to any external partners about any existing, or potential, collaborative projects. Please feel free to contact us should you have any queries.

We would also recommend looking at the ESRC page on Postgraduate Collaboration, which provides further information on types of collaborative project, along with examples of good practice in establishing a successful partnership. It further provides some useful case-studies which highlight the potential benefits both to the student and the host organisation.

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”

– Kofi Annan.

Student expectations

  • Developing, refining or promoting policy

  • Developing experience of working in non-academic environments

  • Access to data or resources which can help develop the student’s research

Our expectations

  • We ask that you help guide and develop our candidates.

  • Provision of suitable opportunities to develop new skills and knowledge

  • Access to appropriate facilities, equipment and resource

You gain …

  • You gain the assistance of an exceptional researcher

  • The Doctoral Candidates can support project work, conducting and disseminating project findings

  • Our PhD Candidates are all skilled at constructing and advocating proposals and positions

2. Placements

A placement provides a student with an opportunity to work more directly with the partner organisation for a period of up to three months.

During this period, the Doctoral Candidate will not be conducting their studies, but will rather focus on delivering a piece of work for the partner – whether that is policy creation, dissemination or data analysis.

The work in question should be related to the Doctoral project, or at least demonstrably provide access to beneficial training and developmental opportunities.

NINE DTP Placements are student-led; we expect our students to identify, construct and establish the nature of the relationship.

It is important to note that the student cannot sign a contract of employment with the partner institution; however, we would encourage all partner institutions to contribute to the running costs of the placement.

The ESRC website provides case studies of some successful internships; the RCUK policy Internship Scheme is another comparable scheme, highlighting a number of significant institutions who seek to appoint Doctoral Candidates on a regular basis.

Interested in talking to us about collaborative opportunities?

Contact us