How to Apply

AHRC-Funded PhD Studentships in Design Research

LDoc is an AHRC-funded centre for doctoral training, a collaboration between the Royal College of Art, Kingston University and the University of Arts London. The Centre offers both full-time and part-time AHRC-funded PhD studentships and enhanced doctoral training with a focus on practice-led Design research.


Applications to LDoc for 2017 are now closed. 

The information below is for the 2018 application process.


The Centre partners build on their commitment to developing Design researchers at the highest level in this exciting initiative. As a member of the LDoc community you would benefit from:


  • AHRC funded Studentships and individual research training
  • Outstanding PhD supervision by world class researchers from across the three London institutions
  • Innovative Cross-Disciplinary/Thematic Design Workshops
  • Specialist Training and Facilities across the three institutions
  • International Keynote Design Lectures
  • Student-led Symposia, Events and Exhibitions
  • Industry partnerships and Seminars
  • Opportunities for Research Placements/Residencies
  • Annual Summer Schools
  • A dedicated LDoc Portal website featuring design opportunities, research training materials and resources


Your application should be made through the institution to which you intend to make your PhD application. Candidates will be interested to pursue innovative research in all areas of Design offered by the three partner institutions: the Royal College of Art, Kingston University and University of the Arts London. In accordance with AHRC rules, only UK residents (maintenance and fee waiver) and EU residents (fee waiver only) are eligible to apply.


You are advised to initiate contact with the institution where you wish to study at any time of year; your PhD application must be made to the institution before you make a LDoc application.


Note for EU students: the AHRC has confirmed that EU students remain eligible for research council funding for the 2018/19 year. (View the press release here.)


Students currently enrolled at one of the partner institutions and who have started their PhD are also eligible to apply for a studentship, provided at least 50% of their planned study period remains, counted from the date at which the award would commence.


The LDoc programme benefits from the contributions of creative industry partners:
AEDAS, British Fashion Council, BT, London Borough of Camden Communities Division, Camira, Creativeworks London, Design Council, Designing Out Crime Association (DOCA), Ford Motor Company, Ian Ritchie Architects Limited, International Flavours and Fragrances, Microsoft Research Cambridge, Sense, Sorrell Foundation, Textile Institute, Topshop, TFL, the United Nations/UNCTAD Responsible Ecosystems Sourcing Platform and the V&A Museum.


Please note that all AHRC awards are subject to the AHRC and RCUK Terms and Conditions. Please ensure that you are familiar with them: they are set out in three documents which can be accessed on the AHRC website:

  • Research Council Terms and Conditions of Training Grants
  • RCUK Training Grant Guide
  • AHRC’s Training Grant Funding Guide 2015-16


Value of Award

Recipients of an LDoc studentship will receive a full fee waiver and a maintenance allowance paid in quarterly instalments lasting three years. The value of the maintenance allowance provided will be based on the standard RCUK award rate for the year in which the candidate’s studies begin.


The current maintenance rate for awards beginning 2016/17 is £14,296 per year for full-time students, paid in quarterly instalments. There is an additional London weighting of £2000 per year.


Full details on the value of AHRC awards can be found here.


Application Procedure

Application forms for 2018 entry will be available to download after October 2017, via the institution through which you make your PhD application.

The application procedure is as follows:


Step 1: Select an institution from the LDoc partners to which you would like to apply

  • All three participating institutions are listed above in the ‘Introduction’ section.


Step 2: Ensure that you meet your prospective institution’s eligibility criteria

  • As independent institutions, the eligibility requirements of each LDoc partner may differ slightly.
  • Before making an application to an institution or LDoc, applicants must make sure they meet the relevant eligibility criteria.


Step 3: Ensure that you are eligible to receive an award from the AHRC

  • In addition to checking an institution’s eligibility requirements, all applicants must ensure they are eligible to receive funds from the AHRC.
  • Applicants are advised to read the ‘Terms and Conditions for Studentship Grants’ section of the AHRC Student Funding Guide which can be downloaded using the link given above.


Step 4: Make an application to the relevant institution

  • Before applying for the LDoc award, all applicants must make a standard PhD application to one of the LDoc partner institutions OR have already commenced their PhD research at one of the three institutions, with at least 50% of their planned study period remaining, measured from when the award would commence.
  • Applicants will be asked to name the institution they have applied to or are studying with in their LDoc application form.


Step 5: Complete the LDoc application form and submit to the relevant institution

  • Once applicants have submitted a standard application to a relevant LDoc institution, LDoc application forms (Application Form, Equal Opportunities Form and references, submitted via your referees) must be completed.
  • The LDoc application forms will be available to download via the institution through which you are making your PhD application, links given above. The form will be available after October 2017.
  • Please refer to the Student Guidance Notes, available to download with the forms.
  • Once completed, please return to the relevant institution, as set out in the Guidance Notes.


Royal College of Art: 
Kingston University:


The deadline for the submission of your LDoc application form to your relevant institution will be 11.59pm Monday 5th February 2018.


Step 6: Selected candidates will be interviewed by the partner institution as part of their normal research recruitment process.


Step 7: The three partner institutions will make their nominations to the LDoc Steering Committee, which will confirm the awards by 2nd April 2018.


Please note that candidates must make an application to one of the three partner institutions before submitting an LDoc application. You will be asked which institution you have applied to in your LDoc application form.


Please note that all AHRC awards are subject to the AHRC and RCUK Terms and Conditions. Please ensure that you are familiar with them: they are set out in three documents which can be accessed on the AHRC website