Every year, we offer up to 10 doctoral students enrolled at universities across the UK the chance to deepen their understanding of pressing social issues and develop new skills in communication, public engagement and interdisciplinary working, through the renowned Cumberland Lodge Scholarship scheme.
Our two-year Scholarships are designed to fit around, and enhance, a student’s doctoral studies. Each annual cohort includes one scholar who is nominated by the Council for At-Risk Academics (Cara).
Our Scholars play an active role in our interdisciplinary conferences, consultations, public lectures and other programmes, and receive ongoing mentoring and support from our staff. They also serve as ambassadors for the work of the Lodge, at their universities and in their wider lives.
They have the chance to network with senior figures in public life and to participate in, or help to lead discussions with, people of all ages, backgrounds and perspectives that ultimately inform recommendations for practical action and policy change.
After completing their two-year term, Scholars continue to be part of the Cumberland Lodge Community, and often come back to the Lodge to speak at, or help to facilitate, our conferences and events.
You can find out more about how these Scholarships are impacting on lives and careers, below.
Cumberland Lodge Scholar 2014-16
Cathy comes from Northern Ireland, and has a BA in Modern History from Queen’s University Belfast and an MA in Gender History from the University of Edinburgh. After her Master's, she volunteered with charities in North Africa and Thailand, before returning to Belfast to start her PhD and take up her Cumberland Lodge Scholarship.
‘My PhD involved examining the diaries and letters of 19th-century, Irish Presbyterian missionaries working in Nigeria, Manchuria and Gujarat, to explore their ideas of masculinity, race and religion.
‘The Cumberland Lodge Scholarship broadened my horizons hugely. It allowed me to take a step back and think about how my academic research could fit into wider societal discourses on important issues.
‘The training and experience were really helpful in increasing my confidence, giving me the skills to interact with people from all walks of life, and increasing my academic rigour in the questions I asked of my own work.
‘The scholarship encouraged me to explore different career avenues after my PhD. Through conversations with various people at the Lodge, I found a real interest in policymaking.
‘I’ve now worked for the Scottish Government for 18 months, and I use the skills and experiences that I gained at Cumberland Lodge every day, in interactions with senior civil servants, stakeholders and ministers.
‘I’m currently providing support to the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Taskforce, chaired by Dr Dame Denise Coia. It aims to transform mental health provision for children and young people in Scotland.
‘I’m also on the Scottish Government’s Graduate Development Programme, which provides an accelerated career path into leadership.
‘I don’t think I would have considered this career path if it hadn’t been for my time at Cumberland Lodge.’
Cumberland Lodge Scholar, 2015-17
Laura completed her Cumberland Lodge Scholarship whilst working towards a PhD at Cranfield University, analysing archaeological human remains to improve understanding about a medical condition called Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis in the present.
She was also involved in projects aimed at improving health awareness amongst children by using archaeological examples of diet-related disease, and volunteering to support older people with autism, and university students with learning difficulties or disabilities.
‘I have always tried to understand the root causes of social issues, so when I chose my academic path towards archaeology and the study of past populations, I felt disheartened that there was little I could do to have a true, positive impact to my community. That realisation saddened me deeply and I applied to the Cumberland Lodge Scholarship with the hope that I might learn what to do outside of my career that would benefit our community.
‘After two years of the Scholarship - and talking to dozens of fellow conferences participants at Cumberland Lodge - I started to realise the potential of my academic discipline as a vehicle to start discussions and raise awareness about issues that are nowadays considered to be sensitive or difficult.
‘As a result, in 2019, I designed a post-doctoral project that aims to understand how populations change and evolve. The project has the potential to make a very significant social impact, by using archaeological human remains and personal stories to talk about issues of migration, health and diet, and the importance of developing a sustainable relationship with our environment, in the present. Furthermore, it aims to bridge the gap between archaeological studies and the public, to help raise awareness in society about our shared past and challenge social divisions today.
‘It is hard to overstate the role of the Cumberland Lodge Scholarship in shaping how I now think about and plan my projects. I truly believe that, without it, I would never have imagined that an archaeology project could be one of the ways to start a conversation and think about how, as a society, we can be healthier and more inclusive, more aware of our past and more respectful to our environment.’
Cumberland Lodge Scholar, 2015-17
Sam Fowles was a Cumberland Lodge Scholar while he was working towards a PhD at Queen Mary, University of London. His research was in international human rights, seeking to develop a theory of 'solidarity rights'. He has also published on the law of international trade and investment, UK constitutional law, and Female Genital Mutilation (GFM).
After completing his Scholarship and PhD, he took up a pupillage at Cornerstone Chambers, specialising in public, planning and environmental law.
'I applied for a Cumberland Lodge Scholarship because I really believe in the mission of the Lodge. I think it's incredibly important that, as academics, we look beyond the narrow confines of our discipline and consider the wider social and ethical problems, and Cumberland Lodge gives us the chance to do that.
'Being a Cumberland Lodge Scholar has been a really eye-opening experience.
'The greatest privilege has been interacting with my fellow Scholars, who are the most engaged, innovative and challenging group of people I've ever had the joy to meet... [And] I don't think I would really appreciate how government decision-making happens, had I not had the opportunity to talk to people who actually make those decisions, at Cumberland Lodge.
'It's changed the way I think and see the world, and it's pushed me to challenge myself and my own opinions, further than I ever thought I would.
'I think the real social value of the Scholarship is yet to be seen. While each of us has personally benefited from the scheme, it's now up to us to go out and make Cumberland Lodge proud, by putting all the things we've learnt, and the effort that's gone into creating the programme, to good use i our lives and communities.'