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Open-Oxford-Cambridge Doctoral Training Partnership

The Open-Oxford-Cambridge Doctoral Training Partnership 2020-21

Closing date: 12 January 2021 at 12 noon. See the application process.

What is the Open-Oxford-Cambridge Doctoral Training Partnership?

  • The Open University, alongside the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, is now part of the Open-Oxford-Cambridge Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). This three university consortium was been awarded Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funding to enable it to support five cohorts of PhD students, starting in October 2019. The DTP expects to award c. 77 doctoral studentships every year, across all AHRC subject areas.
  • The DTP is underpinned by world-class research and training environments and is supported by strategic partnerships with the BBC World Service, the National Trust and British Telecom.
  • The DTP allocates studentship funding, develops bespoke training (and shares existing training and facilities) and offers students placement/internship opportunities with non-HEI partners. It also provides an opportunity for academic staff to develop new links and external relationships.
  • Further details about the OOC DTP can be found on its website.

How do students apply via The Open University to the OOC DTP?

  • All studentships will be allocated on the basis of merit. Rather than any sense of an institutional ‘allocation’, the strongest applications will be the ones funded in a given year. A list of contacts for each OU/AHRC subject area can be found here.
  • Application is a four-stage process:
    • Students apply to the Open University (preferably under advice from potential supervisors). Disciplines review applications, interview selected candidates and decide which to put forward for consideration for funding.
    • These applications are reviewed by an internal Open University panel which decides which are put forward for consortium level consideration.
    • The DTP convenes four panels (made up of academics from a range of disciplines) to review and grade the applications submitted via the three universities.
    • The OOC Management Board allocates studentships based on the recommendations of these four panels.
  • The advert and further particulars for 2020-21 studentships can be found here.

How can I find out more?

  • For academic enquiries, please contact Professor Paul Lawrence (Head of History at the Open University). Paul is the academic lead for the Open University within the Open-Oxford-Cambridge DTP, and is the consortium’s Deputy Director:
  • For administrative enquiries related to the DTP or enquiries concerned with the application, please contact Tracey de Beer in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences:

Open-Oxford-Cambridge DTP Application Process 2020/21


Stage 1 - Advert/Application/Subject area review. Deadline: 12 January 2021

Adverts go live on the OOC and OU websites in September 2020.Candidates liaise with potential supervisors and apply to The Open University in the usual manner, specifying they wish to be considered for DTP funding. FASS receives all OU DTP applications and passes to subject areas in FASS and across Faculties as necessary.

Subject areas evaluate applications, interview strong candidates and decide whether to offer a place.
Deadline:  5 February 2021

Note: Candidates invited to interview must complete a supplementary OOC questionnaire prior to interview (deadline of 27 January) therefore Disciplines must let FASS Research Office know which candidates they intend to interview as soon as they have short-listed.

Stage 2 - Open University Review. Deadline: 12 February 2021

A multi-discipline panel considers the applications put forward by subject areas. The primary aim of this OU review stage is to ensure that all applications sent to the DTP are strong and viable, and to offer feedback for improvement where appropriate.

Selected candidates finalised their applications (incorporating review panel feedback if appropriate). Final versions of selected applications uploaded to DTP online system by candidates. Final check and submission to the DTP by FASS Research Team.

Deadline: 26 February 2021

Stage 3 – Open-Oxford-Cambridge DTP Review. Deadline: 18 March 2021

Those Open University applications put forward to the DTP will be combined with the applications from Oxford and Cambridge, and split by subject across four panels. Each panel will be composed of three academics (one from each university) with broad expertise of reviewing PhD applications. The panels will discuss, grade and rank the assembled field.

Stage 4 – Open-Oxford-Cambridge DTP Review. Deadline: 24 March 2021

The DTP’s Management Board confirm studentships based on the panels’ recommendations. There is no quota for subject areas or institutions, and hence the highest ranked applications will be those funded. Once offered both a place and funding, successful applicants will join the OU in October 2021.

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