AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award
Poetry and Science: The Case of Humphry Davy
Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD award to study the manuscript
and published poetry of the chemist Humphry Davy, 1778–1829. This
collaborative award, to be supervised jointly by experts at the University of
Salford and the Royal Institution of Great Britain (www.rigb.org), will involve
the student spending one year based at the Royal Institution in London,
transcribing Davy’s poetry and participating in the institution’s public-facing
About the project:
In his 1817 poetry collection Sibylline Leaves, S. T. Coleridge wrote that Sir
Humphry Davy was ‘a man who would have established himself in the first rank
of England’s living poets, if the Genius of our country had not decreed that he
should rather be the first in the first rank of its philosophers and scientific
benefactors’. Today, few people know that Davy wrote poetry, though he
continued to do so throughout his life and left at least fifty poems in
manuscript form in his surviving notebooks and letters. One aim of this project
is to consider for the first time in a full-length study Davy’s entire poetic
oeuvre, assessing from a literary critical perspective its content and technical
form. It is hoped that the examination of Davy’s literary and scientific writings
will involve the reassessment of the term ‘Romantic’ as a cultural movement,
throw new light on literary circles and social networks in this pre-disciplinary
period, and consider how Davy’s scientific practice differed from that of his
contemporaries both in Britain and abroad, looking in particular at ways in
which his interest in poetry might account for these differences.
Studying at the University of Salford and the Royal Institution:
The successful student will be supervised by Professor Sharon Ruston (author
of Shelley and Vitality) and Professor Brian Maidment at the University of
Salford, and Professor Frank James (Head of Collections and Heritage, editor of
The Correspondence of Michael Faraday) at the Royal Institution. The
University of Salford has particular expertise in the interrelations between
poetry and science, supported by the Literature, Science and Culture research
cluster in the Centre for Literary Studies:
Award and Eligibility:
AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award schemes include fees paid at home/EU rate
and an enhanced stipend/maintenance award for three years. Home/EU
students receive the AHRC maintenance stipend, which in 2008-2009 (full time
registration) was £12,940. Additional maintenance equivalent to £1k per year
is paid in in-kind benefits by the Royal Institution as the collaborating partner.
The award would commence on 1st October 2009.
The successful student must have completed, or be in the process
of completing a Masters course from a UK University, or recognised equivalent.
The student should have strong academic credentials, including an MA or MSc
in English, History, History of Science, or related area. Preference may be
given to applicants with a declared interest in heritage studies. The successful
candidate must also meet the eligibility criteria for the AHRC; the Guide to
Student Eligibility can be found at:
How to apply:
Application forms can be downloaded at:
research/applying/. Please use the section asking for your Research Proposal
to demonstrate your interest in the topic and suitability for the award.
Applications and a current CV should be sent to Mary Byrne, Postgraduate
Research Administrator, Research Institute for Social, Cultural and Policy
Research, University of Salford, Salford, M5 4WT. Please write ‘AHRC
Collaborative Doctoral Studentship’ on your envelope.
The closing date for applications is 26 June 2009.
Interviews for short-listed candidates are likely to be held in the week
commencing 13 July 2009. The successful candidate will be required to
complete the relevant part of the student nomination form for forwarding to
the AHRC by 20 July 2008. Nominations are subject to final approval by the
Enquiries should be made to Professor Sharon Ruston, [log in to unmask]
or on 0161 295 5071.
The University of Salford and the Royal Institution of Great Britain are
committed to an inclusive approach to promoting equality and diversity. We
aim to have a more diverse workforce at all levels of the institution and
welcome applications from people from minority ethnic backgrounds and people