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Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships

The Northern Bridge funding competition includes opportunities for PhD students to work with partner organisations. These organisations are 'non-HEIs' - i.e. not Higher Education Institutions. These organisations may be museums and galleries, archives, heritage organisations, businesses, or charities.

Anyone interested in developing a 'Collaborative Doctoral Award' partnership should contact the History department, the Director of Postgraduate Research, Dr Adrian Green.

Student-led applications are submitted in January, as part of the standard PhD application process.

How to apply.

Supervisor-led Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships have in the past included partnerships with Tyneside Cinema and the Bowes Museum.


Current Projects


Blackfriars studentship

Doctoral studentship: The Transmission of Taste c.1200 - c.1400

Applicants are encouraged for this collaborative doctoral award from eligible candidates on the transmission of taste c. 1200-c.1400. The doctorate focuses on medieval English recipes in their social, historical, and intellectual context, with comparison to neighbouring food cultures in France and Germany. And, it integrates practical experience at Blackfriars Restaurant. The successful student will bring research to Blackfriars Restaurant and further refine, with the chefs, how the medieval recipes work. These new interpretations then feed back into the academic analysis, bringing modern culinary science to bear on medieval research.

The doctorate will be supervised by Giles Gasper (Durham University), Aditi Nafde (University of Newcastle) and Andy Hook (Blackfriars Restaurant). This funded doctoral studentship is supported by the Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Centre and will run for 42 months (with a possible 6 months extension) from 1 October 2021.

The award is open to UK, EU, and international applicants, and includes payment of tuition fees, a maintenance award at UK Research Council’s (currently £15,285 per annum), a research training support grant to fund the costs of study abroad, conference attendance and fieldwork; and additional financial support for career development.


The Transmission of Taste will examine English recipe collections from c.1150-c.1400, a crucial period in their evolution, to explore evidence for changes in taste. The project is articulated across two collaborative methodologies. First between historical and literary analysis of the source material; second between the academic analysis and the culinary science experience of the Blackfriars restaurant staff and chefs.

Four key questions guide the project:

  • How was taste understood in the period and how did this understanding change over period?
  • How did English recipes differ from each other over the same chronological span?
  • How did English recipes of the period compare to continental collections, in particular French and German?
  • How do medieval recipes work in terms of taste balance, and how does this practical knowledge feed into the academic analysis?

These questions allow the integration of medieval intellectual understanding of taste, and its place in a wider social and literary contexts, traditional manuscript analysis, with the professional knowledge of modern chefs. A central element in the project is the student’s engagement with the chefs at Blackfriars. As experts in recipe development the chefs will help the student interpret the recipes from the perspective of practical culinary science. Medieval recipes are minimalist on instructions for preparation and cooking; seeking professional advice on how flavours balance will add considerable value to the interpretation. The work of the practical sessions will then feed back virtuously in the academic evaluation of the recipes.

The successful candidate must meet the criteria for acceptance on a doctoral programme as set out by Durham University.

The following further criteria apply to this studentship:


Note, applicants must also meet the criteria for the acceptance on a doctoral programme as set out by the host institution’s Postgraduate Admissions Service.



Education and Professional Qualifications


Essential Criteria

MA in Medieval Studies or cognate area

Desirable Criteria

Evidence for level of proficiency in Latin and Paleography/Codicology; evidence of prior learning in Middle English, Old French and German, or willingness to acquire these during the course of study

Evidence for level of proficiency in modern languages, especially French or German; or willingness to acquire one or both of these during the course of study

Research and Impact Experience and Training


Essential Criteria


Desirable Criteria

Evidence for interest in medieval food history

Experience in cultural heritage and/pr commercial sectors

Professional Practice and Job-related Experience


Essential Criteria


Desirable Criteria

Any relevant catering qualifications

Experience of working in a commercial kitchen

Interpersonal Skills


Essential Criteria

Evidence for excellent presentational skills, written and oral Evidence for successful team working

Desirable Criteria


Application process

Applications should be made by email to Professor Giles Gasper with copy to by 4:00pm (GMT) on 19th February 2021. These should include:

1. A personal statement of not more than 500 words explaining why you are interested in this opportunity, and how you think your skills and experience are appropriate.

2. A CV setting out your qualifications and relevant experience.

3. The names and email contacts of two referees who are able to comment on your suitability for the studentship.

Those shortlisted as a result of this process will be contacted by 25th February 2021, and interviewed online on 2nd March 2021.

All enquiries about the studentship should be directed to Professor Giles Gasper.

More information about supervisor-led Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships for entry in October 2021.

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