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Northern Bridge Consortium (NBC) Doctoral Training Partnership

Northumbria University is a member of the Northern Bridge Consortium, a doctoral training partnership in which we collaborate with Durham, Newcastle, Queen's Belfast, Sunderland, Teesside and Ulster Universities.  


The Consortium, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, will be awarding up to 67 full PhD studentships each year from 2019 to 2025. Each studentship consists of payment of tuition fees and a maintenance allowance at the UK Research Council's national rate (currently £19,237 for the academic year 2024 to 2025) funded for a nominal 42 months of study. The package also includes:

  • access to a research support training fund to cover the costs of study abroad, conference attendance and fieldwork;
  • financial support to participate in a Northern Bridge Conference, an annual Summer School and a Completion and Leadership Workshop, which focuses on career development and employability;
  • financial support for placements

Northumbria is ranked in the top 25 Universities in the UK for 'Research Power' in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, and was named 'Best University in the UK' in the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards 2022. Northumbria possesses world-class expertise across most of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) subject range. For a list of subjects in which we can offer expert supervision, click on the 'Subject Contacts' tab below. 


If you're visiting this page, it's probably because you have recently taken up a Northern Bridge studentship at Northumbria. Many congratulations on that! This page provides some basic information about becoming a Northern Bridge student at Northumbria. For general information about the Consortium, including useful documents, please visit the main Northern Bridge website.

As a Northern Bridge student, your experience of studying here will be similar in many ways to that of all our other PhD students. You will go through the same induction, have access to the same facilities, and your progress through the degree will be measured at the same milestones. You will be looked after by the PGR co-ordinator in your subject area, and you will be able to participate fully in Northumbria’s research culture.

There are, however, some key differences:

  • The standard length of a Northern Bridge PhD is 42 months (not 36)

  • You have the opportunity to undertake a placement of between 1 and 6 months during your programme, which might lengthen your period of study still further

  • You can access a range of funded training opportunities through Northern Bridge, some of them timetabled during our residential conferences

  • You may be working on a CDA-type project (involving a partner organization) or benefit from the input of an external advisor based at another university in our Consortium

The key thing is to take advantage of being at Northumbria AND being funded through Northern Bridge.


Key People

Your main contact will of course be your principal supervisor, but you should also be familiar with the PGR co-ordinator in your area. There will also be a Northern Bridge subject contact in your discipline (click on the relevant heading), who in most cases will be the relevant PGR director.

For any queries that relate to your registration at Northumbria, the receipt of your stipend, or claims for reimbursement of research expenses, please contact the Graduate School.

For any queries that relate to other Northern Bridge matters, please contact either your local Northern Bridge subject contact or the Northumbria NBC Academic Director Professor Matthew Potter.


Below is a list of the subjects in which we can offer expert supervision for 2024 entry, as well as the name of the Northern Bridge Consortium Subject Area Lead in that area.


If you are considering applying for a Northern Bridge studentship at Northumbria, please contact the relevant Subject Area Lead as soon as possible. The Subject Area Lead can help you find an appropriate supervisor for your project.





Northumbria University advertised five Staff-Led Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) opportunities for the NBC 2024 competition. Staff-Led CDAs allow you to work on a project developed in collaboration with a non-Higher Education Institution. Two remain open for recruitment:

A level playing field?Understanding diversity in the British sports media‌

Dr Roger Domeneghetti, Northumbria University, with The Black Collective of Media in Sport (BCOMS)

A collaboration between Northumbria University and the Black Collective of Media in Sport, this project proposes the first detailed scholarly exploration of the amount of diversity at all levels within British sports journalism, the experience of members of the workforce from minority backgrounds, and the understandings of this issue among the industry’s senior management. The PhD will bring new knowledge to (1) academic researchers in the fields of media and cultural studies, the sociology of sport, and sports journalism; (2) practitioners in the UK sports media, and; (3) sports journalism educators.

When applying please include the code “NBC24/DOMENEGHETTI”.

How to Apply

We strongly encourage you to make contact with the named supervisor to discuss the project at an early stage.

You must first complete Northumbria's online postgraduate application form.  On the application form under 'Studentship / Partnership Reference' and 'Who is your sponsor / funding body?' please include the relevant code NBC24 / plus the name of the supervisor of your project.

Your application should discuss your academic and/or professional experience, and describe how this has prepared you to undertake this project. The ‘Research Proposal’ should be based on the advertised project and should set out what your proposed approach to the project will be. If your application is successful and you are invited to interview, the project supervisor may ask for additional material to be submitted (such as, for Creative Practice projects, a sample of creative work). Please contact the project supervisor if you have questions about your application.

The deadline for the application process is 1 December 2024. Interviews will take place following the close of the application window, and following acceptance, the Studentship will start in March 2025. 

Creative Play: Learning to Failthrough Digital Tinkering‌

Prof. Nic Whitton, Northumbria University, with the International Centre for Life (Life)

Thinking creatively and managing setbacks are crucial for all young people. Playful digital tinkering in family groups can help develop creativity and build resilience by reducing fear of failure. However, play can unintentionally exclude families from disadvantaged backgrounds, and we need more evidence of how to support children to learn from their mistakes. In collaboration with the International Centre for Life, a science visitor centre in Newcastle, the research will explore how to maximise inclusivity in playful design, how best to facilitate learning through failure, and provide evidence of the impacts of this approach on fear of failure and creativity. 

See further details:

When applying please include the code “NBC24/WHITTON”.

The following three Staff-Led CDAs successfully recruited and will commence in October 2024:

Interrogating colonialism,climate crisis and mass human migration through decolonial curating‌

Dr Donna Chambers, Northumbria University, with D6: Culture in Transit

Rooted in decolonial curatorial theory and practice, this PhD interrogates the idea of the Anthropocene by critically examining interconnections between colonialism, climate crisis and mass human migration. It will do this through building collaborative relationships with impacted international visual artists. Working with Northumbria and partners, D6: Culture in Transit, a Newcastle-based visual arts organisation with international reach, the candidate will: work with international visual artists to co-produce multi-faceted interpretations of the nexus between colonialism, climate crisis and mass human migration; interrogate and reflect on the extent to which such artistic interventions can contribute to social justice through decolonial curatorial practices. 

Our Calder History: Our CalderFuture‌

Dr Leona Skelton, Northumbria University, with Calder and Colne Rivers Trust (CCRT)

Calder and Colne Rivers Trust (CCRT) must urgently balance the environmental and heritage needs of Yorkshire’s heavily modified, post-industrial River Calder. This archival PhD project analyses the Calder’s past management because historic priorities have shaped the development and management of today’s Calder catchment. The research will inform environmental policy by sharing archival evidence of the legacies of historic river management in the present and future with CCRT, Yorkshire Water (YW), the Environment Agency (EA) and local councils. By incorporating this PhD project’s conclusions, CCRT’s new management plans will better accommodate competing needs of heritage, people and environment in the future. 

Wholesaler of the North: TheBewick-Beilby Enterprise and Newcastle Print History‌

Dr Helen Williams, Northumbria Univesity, with Tyne & Wear Archives

Thomas Bewick (1753-1828) is widely recognised as a producer of fine prints who pioneered new techniques of wood engraving. But the shop that he co-ran with Ralph Beilby (1744–1817) was also a major intervention in the commercial history of Newcastle, helping to service a city which became a premier print centre outside of the metropolis. The Bewick-Beilby archive is held at Tyne & Wear Archives, where a collection of papers remains unlisted in the archive catalogue. This project will make accessible this underused resource to future scholarship while producing new knowledge on eighteenth-century Newcastle as the printing centre of the North.



Applications are closed for 2024 entry


The standard application process allows an applicant to propose their own project. This may be either a traditional academic project or a Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA), which involves developing a project in partnership with an external organisation. Student-led CDAs are handled differently from CDAs that have been proposed by academic members of staff. The latter have an earlier application deadline and are assessed outside the main competition (see ‘Staff-Led CDA Opportunities’). Students proposing their own CDA projects will be assessed alongside all other applicants in the main competition. Further details are in the Guidance Notes.

The Northern Bridge Consortium runs a two-stage application process.

Stage One: Postgraduate Application

Applicants to both the standard PhD and student-led Collaborative Doctoral Award routes must complete Northumbria's online postgraduate application form and submit it by 4pm on Tuesday 9 January 2024. Please write the code NBC24 in the application form under 'Proposed project title/Studentship title and advert reference number. This field can be found in the 'Research Proposal' section.

Outcomes from the stage one application process will be released week commencing Monday 22 January 2024. Successful candidates will then be supported by their proposed supervisor in submitting a nomination form (provided to successful applicants by the NBC Subject Area Lead at Northumbria) by the deadline of 4pm on Tuesday 20 February 2024.

Please consult the Guidance Notes when completing the form. Completed nomination forms will be submitted by your supervisor through the Northumbria University Graduate School to the Northern Bridge Consortium.

The results of the competition are expected to be announced from Tuesday 9 April 2024.

Further Notes and Guidance

You must have identified an academic member of staff who has agreed to supervise your project before you submit your Stage 1 application

Your Subject Area Lead can help you find a supervisor

We strongly encourage you to contact your Subject Area Lead as soon as possible to discuss your project

In submitting your Stage 1 application, please include the following details in your research proposal:

  • Title of your proposed project
  • Name of Supervisor
  • Main Subject Area
  • Name of Subject Area Lead
  • A Research Proposal, maximum 750 words, containing: Research Questions; Research Context; Research Methods

We advise you to send a draft of this application to your supervisor before submitting your Stage 1 application

If selected for Stage 2, your supervisor and Subject Area Lead will support you to develop the Stage 2 application

You will be asked to submit references at Stage 1. Please note that your supervisor may ask for revised references from your Referees at Stage 2.

Students already enrolled on a PhD programme at Northumbria are eligible to apply providing they will not have passed the halfway point of their programme before transferring to a Northern Bridge award in October 2024

If you wish to apply, please alert your supervisor and your Subject Area Lead as soon as possible.

You will be asked to submit to your Subject Area Lead: a 2-page CV, a supporting statement from the principal supervisor, and Project Approval paperwork OR a 750-word research proposal. You must submit this at the latest by 4pm on 9 January 2024. You will be notified if you are selected to progress to Stage 2.

There will be two workshops taking place via MS Teams in the course of the 2023-24 application cycle for NBC Applicants and their Supervisors to receive a briefing from the Academic Director at Northumbria University and have a Q&A session. You do not need to book and can access them via the following links:

NBC Stage 1 - Application Workshop (Applicants and Supervisors)
Microsoft Teams meeting
Wed 13/12/2023 16:00-17:00
Join on your computer, mobile app or room device
Click here to join the meeting
Meeting ID: 310 038 349 55
Passcode: xK39EK

NBC Stage 2 - Nomination Workshop (Applicants and Supervisors)
Microsoft Teams meeting
Wed 31/01/2024 16:00-17:00
Join on your computer, mobile app or room device
Click here to join the meeting
Meeting ID: 357 855 391 057



  • As of 2020/21, all international students are eligible to apply for Northern Bridge Consortium studentships, including EU and non-EU citizens. Please see the Northern Bridge Consortium website for further information

  • Candidates must be applying to commence a programme of doctoral study in the 2024/25 academic year, which starts 1 October 2024 

  • Candidates already enrolled on a PhD can apply, providing they will not have passed the halfway point of their programme before transferring to a Northern Bridge award
  • Candidates should possess a Masters qualification, or be currently enrolled on one and in a position to evidence a strong trajectory
  • The Consortium will however accept professional experience in lieu of a Masters qualification, so long as the applicant can demonstrate how their track record might be seen as commensurate with postgraduate study
  • Prospective applicants are expected to read the guidance notes before proceeding with an application to the studentship competition, and to make themselves aware of the timeline included in the guidance notes
  • The competition is open to all applicants who meet the AHRC's eligibility criteria


For all general enquiries (i.e. not subject specific), including on eligibility, email Professor Matthew Potter, Northumbria Consortium Director.

Further information can be found on the Northern Bridge Consortium website.

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