Two AHRC-funded PhD studentships are available from 1 October 2013 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).

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 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 research of the project student will concentrate on the pre-NHS period, complementing the research now underway by a second project student working on the subsequent development of the digital hearing aid.

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

2. Science as Social Epistemology: The National Institute of Agricultural Botany as a Site of Knowledge Production

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 perspectives from recent philosophy, sociology and anthropology of science in order to map out the many groups involved in research at NIAB, and the complex dynamics within and among them, through a combination of “embedded” participant-observation in the working life of NIAB and through interviews with staff members. The project student will use this new mapping to test a range of recent theses about the nature of twenty-first-century scientific knowledge.

This is the third collaborative doctoral project between the Leeds HPS Centre and NIAB, following on from projects on the pre-1969 history of NIAB (2010-13) and the post-1969 history (2012-15). The new project’s supervisors will be Gregory Radick (Leeds HPS) with 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]

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 provide a maintenance grant payment of £13,590. 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.


Further details and information on how to apply 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 3263 or 0113 343 3644.

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

The closing date for applications for both studentships is Friday 1st March 2013. It is anticipated that interviews for both studentships will take place during the last two weeks of March.