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AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Studentship in collaboration with The National Archives

University of Leeds - School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Leeds
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £15,009 see advert
Hours: Full Time, Part Time
Placed On: 12th July 2019
Closes: 30th August 2019

Session 2019-20 - Closing Date 17:00 (UK time) Friday 30 August 2019

Further information on how to apply for this studentship can be found at:

Project: Reconstructing BSE: Government Policy and Public Health across Humans and Animals

Awards provide fees and maintenance at standard Research Council Rates (£15,009 in Session 2019/20) plus £550 additional stipend payment for eligible applicants. Additional financial support will be provided by The National Archives, consisting of up to £1,000 per year for 3 years. You will also be part of the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities community which offers support and additional funding schemes for training activities, primary research visits and running events. The studentship is available for either full-time study or part-time equivalent, and you will be able to commence on either 1 October 2019 or 1 January 2020.

Do you have a background in modern British history, government and social policy, or the history of science, technology or medicine? Are you fascinated by the dynamics of public policy in action? The BSE crisis was one of the most high-profile public health emergencies in late twentieth century in Britain, when beef from BSE-infected cattle was linked to the untreatable, fatal disease vCJD (variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease) in humans. Also known as “mad cow disease”, BSE (bovine spongiform encephalitis) interfaced with longstanding anxieties about the vulnerability of our food chains.

The rich, unstudied government archive papers of the BSE (Phillips) Inquiry have recently been released through The National Archives and this project represents a fantastic opportunity to research this topic at the intersection of public health policy, science communication, and human-animal interactions.

The archive covers a fascinating range of materials including historical publications, oral testimony, witness statements, and legislation, from across government, scientific organisations and others. The Phillips Inquiry, which reported in 2000, shone a light into the deepest recesses of government operation. The successful applicant will be able to shape the project based on their own interests, which might include wider press coverage or a set of new oral histories.

You will be based jointly at the University of Leeds, in the Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science, and The National Archives. The Leeds HPS Centre has a very active graduate programme, including around thirty HPS research students. You will also become part of a vibrant cohort of collaborative doctoral researchers as part of the Thames Consortium and benefit from staff-level access to collections, resources and training programmes.

For more information on the project, please contact Dr James Stark (

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