University of Leeds, School of Philosophy, Religion & History of Science

Centre for History & Philosophy of Science

Four AHRC Collaborative PhD Studentships in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine

AHRC-funded PhD studentships are available from 1 October 2012 for collaborative research projects between the Centre for History and Philosophy of Science, University of Leeds, and major national institutions, including BT Archives, Action on Hearing Loss, and the National Institutional for Agricultural Botany (NIAB).

Expression of interest are also welcomed for a further studentship on each project for 2013-14.

1. Transforming Communications for the UK’s Hearing Loss Community: From Auditory Barrier to Technological Assistance

This project documents the twentieth-century development of communications technologies for the hard of hearing. It focuses especially on the extensive resources in BT archives on dialogue and collaborations between the Post Office telecommunication division and the Royal National Institute for the Deaf (recently renamed as Action on Hearing Loss). It aims to recover the key role of the hearing loss community in developing both enhancements to telephones and also adaptable forms of digital hearing aid, particularly in response to the wartime contexts of injury and electronic technologies, and correlatively the rise of audiology as a new profession.

The supervisors for the project will be Graeme Gooday (Leeds HPS) and David Hay (BT Archives) with additional supervisory support from Gregory Radick (Leeds HPS), Claire Jones (University of Leeds Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine), Action on Hearing Loss, and the Thackray Museum which holds the British Society of Audiology’s historic collection of hearing aids.

The project is expected to develop new historical materials for the BT Connected Earth educational resource and for Action on Hearing Loss’s public documents, and also to present their research to local, national and international workshops and conferences. The first student is anticipated to focus on the pre-NHS period and the second student (2013-14) on the subsequent development of the digital hearing aid.

Enquiries about this project may be directed to [email protected]

2. Food Security in the Biotech Age: The National Institute of Agricultural Botany from 1970 to the Present

Founded in 1919 and based in Cambridge, NIAB has been at the forefront of seed testing and the development of crop-plant varieties in Britain for nearly a century. This project will draw on a mixture of archival sources held at NIAB and interviews with participants to reconstruct the intellectual and institutional development of NIAB in the biotech age – a crucial period in the Institute’s history as well as in the wider history of the biological sciences.  It aims to recover a novel perspective on the rise of biotech and the debate over GM crops in Britain, and more generally on the changing relations between science, commerce, and the British state after 1970.

This is the second collaborative doctoral project between the Leeds HPS Centre and NIAB.  The new project’s supervisors will be Gregory Radick (Leeds HPS) and Tina Barsby (NIAB).  The student is expected to create a virtual exhibit of project-related materials and also to contribute to local, national and international meetings.

Enquiries may be directed to [email protected]

An additional, philosophically focused PhD project funded by this award will be advertised next year.

Scholarship Funding

For both projects, applicants must be either UK residents (full studentship) or EU nationals (fees only).  They should normally have, or expect soon to be awarded, a Masters degree in a relevant discipline (history of science, technology and/or medicine; history), though exceptions can be made for applicants with strong undergraduate records and relevant experience.  The studentships support three years’ full-time work, but can be taken up on either a full-time or a part-time basis.  Standard tuition fees and maintenance grants will be paid by the AHRC to the nominated student.  In the 2012/2013 academic year full-time awards will provide a maintenance grant payment of £13,590.00.  In addition to these amounts, the AHRC will make an additional, one off maintenance payment of £550 in May to cover the special costs of working at two sites. Students may also be eligible for UK study visits and one overseas study visit as well as one overseas conference for the duration of the award.  From the non-academic partner the student will also receive a contribution to maintenance and may also be eligible for travel and related workplace expenses.  (Part-time awards provide a maintenance grant up to a maximum of 60% of a full-time award and half the full-time rate of tuition fees.)  Renewal of the studentship each year is subject to satisfactory academic progress.


Application forms and further details are available from the Postgraduate Administration Office, School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, email: [email protected], tel: 0113 343 3644 or 0113 343 3623

The closing date for applications for both studentships is Friday 29 June.  Interviews for both studentships will take place the week beginning 2 July.

Please specify whether you are applying for the hearing-loss project, the biotech project, or both.