4th December 2020

British Library PhD Placement Scheme

Three PhD placement students sitting at a table looking at a book from the British Library collection

The British Library PhD placement scheme supports the professional development of researchers for future career paths both within and outside academia.

They host a range of projects each year, both based in our specialist curatorial teams and in areas such as research engagement, digital scholarship, corporate affairs and public policy. Here you can view a list of previous PhD placement projects at the Library.


The British Library runs an annual call for applications, inviting PhD researchers to apply to undertake any of their selected placement projects. The duration for each placement is 3 months (or part time equivalent). Most placements are also suitable for part-time students, and there may be opportunities to undertake placements remotely. This will be indicated on the individual project profiles.

Successful candidate are selected through a written application process and interview, and project start dates are then agreed with the British Library placement supervisors.

The broad scope and areas of the PhD placement projects are set in advance by the Library. Projects reflect our current strategic priorities, ensuring placements make a meaningful contribution to our activities and purpose as a national library. A project profile for each placement lists the expected tasks and outcomes, the training and experience offered to the student, and any required knowledge or skills. All projects provide scope for students to define areas of focus depending on their own interests and and include a range of opportunities for professional and personal development.

Current placement opportunities can now be viewed on this page. The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 18 December 2020.


The Library welcomes applications to its PhD Placement Scheme from all current PhD students that have the right to study in the UK. International PhD students are eligible to apply, subject to meeting any UK short-term study visa requirements.

The Library is an equal opportunities placement provider and especially welcomes applications from PhD students with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

PhD placement scheme candidates must have the support of their academic supervisor when applying.

Funding and support

UK research funders, HEIs, Doctoral Training Partnerships and other postgraduate and early-career training providers encourage doctoral students to engage with research users and audiences outside the academic context, broaden their skill set and consider a wide range of career paths. The British Library PhD Placement Scheme is intended to provide such training opportunities.

It is essential that applicants obtain the support of their PhD supervisor in advance and that they ascertain what funding is available to them through their HEI, Doctoral Training Partnership or other sources to support the period of the placement. The Library strongly recommends that a PhD student who is given approval to undertake a placement is in receipt of a stipend at least equivalent to the current UKRI national minimum doctoral rate for the duration of the placement.

While the BL are currently unable to provide funding to all successful applicants, students unable to secure sufficient funding through their HEI or other sources will be invited to apply to the Library’s PhD Placement Fund for assistance.

Any questions?

Contact Research.Development@bl.uk to find out more or to be added to our PhD research placements mailing list.

More news