PhD Studentship: Science, Technology and Road Safety in the Motor Age

The Science Museum and the University of Leicester

PhD Studentship: Science, Technology and Road Safety in the Motor Age

The Science Museum and the University of Leicester are pleased to invite applications for a three-year plus 6 months (42 months) AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership PhD Studentship, starting on 1 October 2017. The award is made by the Science Museums and Archives Consortium, which is part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme. The project will be supervised by Professor Simon Gunn and Dr Sally Horrocks, at Leicester, and Dr Oliver Carpenter, Curator of Infrastructure at the Science Museum and Dr David Rooney.

The successful candidate will undertake a project about how new scientific and technical approaches to mass automobility and road safety (including pollution) were created at the highpoint of Britain’s ‘motor age’ in the 1960s. The project examines the experimentation with new technologies through applied research carried out in government agencies such as the Road Research Laboratory. The experiments include developing innovations, such as the driverless car and seat belts, as well as testing devices designed to reduce accidents, such as anti-lock brakes and road safety furniture. There is scope for the student to define the PhD project in alignment with their areas of interest.

The project involves two main collections: different types of road safety objects held by the Science Museum and the papers of the Road Research Laboratory, Ministry of Transport and Department of Scientific and Industrial Research at the National Archives. Archival research will help contextualise the Science Museum artefacts related to road safety and provide insight into the processes of research which helped to create a new safety culture on British roads at the period. As well as being based in the Centre for Urban History at the University of Leicester, the award holder will also be part of the team at the Science Museum and contribute to the public understanding of their collections.

Person specification

We are looking for a highly promising student who will relish the opportunity of combining academic research with the experience of working as part of a professional team of museum curators.  Individuals with a background in post-war British history, history of science, technology and medicine, science and technology studies, sociology or geography studies are encouraged to apply.  The appointee will be expected to attend relevant training courses run for doctoral students within University of Leicester and at the Science Museum. Applicants must have a first-class or high upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent qualification) and meet the University’s standard English Language entry requirements. It is expected that applicants will have a related Master’s degree with merit or distinction, or be able to show evidence that they will achieve this by September 2017.

Subject to AHRC eligibility criteria, the scholarship covers tuition fees and a grant (stipend) towards living expenses. The national minimum doctoral stipend for 2017/18 has been set by Research Councils UK at £14,553. In addition the student has access to up to £1000 per annum from the Science Museum for research-related costs, and to Student Development Funding (equivalent to an additional 6 months of funding per studentship) to allow time for the student to take up further training and skills development opportunities that are agreed as part of their PhD programme. The student also benefits from staff-level access to the Science Museum’s collections, expertise and facilities, as well as from the dedicated programme of professional development events delivered by the Science Museum in tandem with the other museums, galleries and heritage organisations affiliated to the Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme.
How to apply

Further information about this collaborative research project (including academic and eligibility criteria), and full details on how to apply can be found in the further particulars, here: http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/history/postgraduate/collaborative-doctoral-award-opportunities.

Informal Enquiries

Informal enquiries about this collaborative project can be sent to Professor Simon Gunn: sg201@le.ac.uk

Closing Date: Monday 10 April 2017, 1700 (London Time)                            

Interview Date: Thursday 4 May 2017 at the Science Museum, London 

For details of the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme at the Science Museum please visit http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/about-us/collections-and-research/activities-and-projects/research-public-history/collaborative-doctoral-awards