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Routledge/Round Table Commonwealth Studentships

Deadline: 23 July 2021

The PhD studentships provide support for research projects on Commonwealth related themes. Two studentships are available each year, one for UK-registered students and one for Commonwealth students in other countries.

The studentships have a maximum value of GBP 5,500 each. Due to the pandemic, the studentship will not fund travel.

The research must be conducted in the applicants’ country of residence. Proposed research must fulfil at least one of the below criteria:

  1. Relate to the Commonwealth as a whole or to any Commonwealth-wide institution or organisation

  2. Have a strong Commonwealth comparative aspect

  3. Be of relevance to a Commonwealth country other than the UK.

For example, a research project comparing LGBT rights in South Africa and Uganda would be eligible, as would a project on the reform of colonial-era anti-LGBT legislation in India, but a project on the role of Stonewall in advocating for LGBT rights in the UK would not.

Applications are welcomed from a broad range of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, but preference may be given to disciplines usually covered by the Round Table journal, including (but not exclusively) politics, international relations, economics, international history, geography, law, development studies, and area studies.

The studentships are funded by The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs and the journal's publisher, Routledge, in association with the ACU.


The first studentship is open to registered PhD students from UK universities, although not necessarily UK citizens.

The second is open to registered PhD students from ACU member universities in Commonwealth counties other than the UK, and to Chevening and Commonwealth Scholarship alumni who are PhD students at any Commonwealth university outside the UK.


As part of the studentship, applicants are required to identify and work with a mentor at an ACU member university in a country other than their own. This should be an expert in a subject linked to the applicant’s subject of research, who will be able to provide support and advice during the studentship. Before applying, applicants are encouraged to informally approach at least one potential mentor and, if their application is successful, will then be required to obtain a letter of support from their mentor to agree to the mentorship before their studentship is confirmed.


The mentor will be expected to hold a minimum of two virtual meetings with the student during the period of the studentship. They will be expected to be in contact with the student by email to share their experiences in their relevant field, provide advice around publishing, events and trends in their field, and to challenge and empower the student to consider new ways of thinking.

The mentor will also be expected to contribute to either the podcast or the article submitted by the student (see post-studentship requirements section below for more information) and will be paid an honorarium of GBP 500, payable at the end of the studentship. Mentors must read and abide by the mentor code of conduct guidelines.

Mentor conduct guidelines:

  • The relationship between mentor and mentee should not be exploitative in any way, nor open to misinterpretation

  • Mentors are responsible for setting and keeping appropriate boundaries that govern interactions with mentees

  • Mentors should maintain a clear mentoring relationship with mentees and not allow personal bias to influence their actions

  • Mentors should maintain confidentiality, objectivity and equal partnership

  • The mentor’s role is to respond to the mentee’s needs and agenda rather than imposing their own agenda

  • Mentors will share the responsibility for creating a smooth end to the relationship with the mentee, once it has achieved its purpose

  • Any personal data relating to the mentee held by the mentor should be deleted as soon as it is no longer needed.


Applications should be submitted by 15:00 UTC on 23 July via the online application form.

As part of the application, you should submit:

  • A CV

  • A studentship plan, outlining:

    1. The work you plan to carry out during the studentship, in non-technical language

    2. The likely impact of your studentship work, and how it will advance knowledge in your field and contribute to greater understanding of the Commonwealth

    3. The planned outcomes and outputs of the studentship

    4. Letters of support from referees, one academic (preferably your PhD/DPhil supervisor) and one personal

    5. An outline of the intended use of the funds


Successful applicants will be required to submit an article of between 4,000 and 6,000 words based on their research no more than 12 months after the take-up of the award. The article will then be for considered for publication in the Round Table journal. Successful applicants will also be required to make a podcast on their research, for publication on the journal’s website.


Deadline for applications: 14:00 UTC on 23 July

Announcement of winners: September 2021

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