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Please find below a list of research areas we would invite proposals to be submitted along with your application.
Each supervisor provided some guidance on how to structure your research proposal, what questions should be addressed.

AI/Data Ethics - Supervisor: Dr William Chan

Hosting Department: Institute of Technology and Humanity, Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence 

Research Areas:  

  • AI/data ethics and governance  
  • Contemporary political philosophy, Western and Chinese  
  • Democratic theory 

I’m interested in supervising a broad range of topics as long as they fall within my research specialisms above. However, I pay more attention to the following topics recently: 

  • What would John Stuart Mill say about AI/data justice? 
  • What are the moral norms applicable to the design of dating apps? 
  • What principles of justice are applicable to international data transfer? 
  • What can be learnt from Chinese philosophy for questions about AI and data ethics? 
  • What are the implications of democratic values (e.g. equality, freedom) for AI and data? 

Applications that are relevant to one of these questions will be appreciated. 

In your proposals, you should explain 

  • The topic you hope to explore, or the argument you wish to defend 
  • Why is that topic/argument important 
  • How will that topic/argument fit into one of the broader questions above 


For instance, you can study

(a) John Stuart Mill’s harm principle and its implications for modern AI/data regulations, (b) show that the topic is important because it stimulates new perspectives into how AI and data practices should be regulated, and (c) say that the harm principle is a core component of Mill’s theory of justice and thus highly relevant to the first topic above.

Architecture (Design) - Supervisor: Dr Ramit Debnath

Hosting Department: Department of Architecture  

Research Areas:  

  • Climate action  
  • Social tipping points  
  • AI design

This research internship will be aligned with the current research themes of the Cambridge Collective Intelligence & Design Group (, led by Dr. Ramit Debnath.  

The broad question to explore is how climate change influences social tipping points.  

This is a niche but rapidly growing interdisciplinary field; hence, some guiding sub-questions include: 

  1. What are the definitions of social tipping points in relation to climate dynamics? 

  1. What approaches have been used to understand or model social tipping points?  

  1. Is there any evidence of how the rapid rise of AI might affect these tipping points? 


Recommended reading: change/  


Applicant should  

  • Have an interest in climate change and its social dimensions (essential).  
  • Have strong writing and synthesis skills, and a motivation to publish research (essential).  
  • Have a collaborative attitude to work with interdisciplinary peers.  
  • Programming knowledge or intrinsic motivation of learning R/Python (desirable).  
  • Basic data handling and interpretation skill (desirable).  
Architecture (Sustainable Design) - Supervisor: Dr Ronita Bardhan

Hosting Department: Department of Architecture  

Research Areas:  

  • Sustainable Design 
  • Urban Heat Islands 
  • Gender inequality in Global South 

This research internship will be aligned with the current research themes of the Sustainable Design Group (, led by Dr. Ronita Bardhan. The broad question to explore is how we can mitigate the gendered impacts of heatwaves in Global South.  

We draw sub-questions at the intersection of sustainable design and architecture, gender studies and climate change mitigation.   

  • How does heatwaves impact gender inequality in Global South?  
  • What are the intervention choices to improve adaptation measures from heatwaves?  
  • How can sustainable design help in reducing heatwave impacts at scale? 

Reading based on my research:   


Applicants should 

  • Have an interest in climate change, gender studies and urban design (essential).   
  • Have strong writing and synthesis skills, and a motivation to publish research (essential).   
  • Have a collaborative attitude to work with interdisciplinary peers.   
  • Have programming knowledge or intrinsic motivation of learning R/Python (desirable).  
  • Have basic data handling and interpretation skill (desirable).  
Digital Humanities - Supervisor: Dr Eleanor Dare

Hosting Department: Cambridge Digital Humanities  

Research Areas:  

  • Critical AI 
  • Digital Technologies + Science & technology Studies 
  • Virtual Reality 
  • Creative Computing/coding

In your research proposal, make sure you answer the following questions: 

  1. What are the main critical themes or questions you would like to explore?    

  2. What theories/theorists are you aware of which might support your research?    

  3. What is your personal experience or interest in this subject – how do you situate this work in relation to the things that matter to you  - as a social/political/cultural person? 

Literature (Early modern and 18th Century) - Supervisor: Dr Samuel Diener

Hosting Department: Faculty of English

Research Areas:  

  • Early modern and 18th-century literature and culture; history of empire and colonialism  
  • History of human relationships to the oceans   
  • New materialist theory  
  • History of the book  
  • Poetry and poetics  
  • History of the novel  
  • Studies of race and ethnicity  
  • Gender and sexual identity  
  • Digital humanities 

Most folks come to research with a general topic in mind. In writing a proposal, however, it is often helpful to narrow your focus within that topic concretely. Your proposal certainly need not offer answers to all of the following questions, but they may provide a starting point for thinking:  

  1. Is there a question you are hoping to be able to answer?  

  2. Is there a specific text or set of texts you are interested in working with as a starting point for your inquiry?  

  3. Is there a piece of scholarly writing you admire that has inspired you in asking this/these question[s], or one that doesn’t seem quite right, whose claims you think you may be able to challenge?  

  4. Is there a topic you would like to know more about or a skill you would like to gain by the time this project is done?  


Samuel focuses on the Anglophone world, but also does comparative work in Portuguese and Spanish. His research examines practices of reading, writing, and commodity consumption through which people imagined their identity from the early colonial period through Romanticism. He has written about Daniel Defoe, Eliza Haywood, William Cowper, Jonathan Swift, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, and Luís de Camões. He is working on a book on published accounts of colonial voyages, from Vasco da Gama to James Cook.

Late Medieval and Renaissance English Literature - Supervisor: Dr John Colley

Hosting department: Faculty of English

Research Areas:  

  • Late medieval and Renaissance English literature (from Chaucer to Shakespeare, c.1350–1600)  
  • Classical reception  
  • History of the book   
  • Textual editing 

I would welcome applications to work on English literature of the period c.1350–1600. Candidates’ research proposals should have at least one clearly defined research question.  

Candidates should show awareness of how their research question(s) and topic more broadly respond to recent scholarship in relevant fields.  

Candidates should explain briefly what specific texts they would work on and why.

Theatre and Literature - Supervisor: Dr Sarah Burdett

Hosting Department: Faculty of English   

Research Areas: Eighteenth-century and Romantic Literature and Culture, 1750-1850 

I particularly welcome applications interacting with the following areas: 

  • Theatre and Performance (acting theory; celebrity culture; cross-dressing)  
  • Gender and Sexuality (women writers; proto-feminism; femininity and masculinity) 
  • Literature, nationhood and politics (Responses to the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars; Irish and Scottish Romanticism)  


In your proposal, please make sure you provide the following:  

  1. Which eighteenth-century / Romantic period writer(s) are you interested in researching? 

Example answers: Mary Wollstonecraft; Sir Waler Scott; Elizabeth Inchbald (etc.) 

  1. Which eighteenth-century / Romantic literary works / performances will this research consider? 

Example answers: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman; Rob Roy; Animal Magnetism 

  1. What is your theme/topic? 

Example answers: gender and politics; literature and nationhood; Georgian theatrical culture  

  1. Rationale for proposed topic: 

Writing in full sentences, explain your reason for wanting to research this topic as it emerges in the works of your chosen author(s). Why do you think this topic might be important and/or interesting right now? Answers to this question should be between 100 and 200 words. 

  1. What is your proposed methodology? (Ie which primary / secondary sources do you intend to work with? What contextual / theoretical backdrops will inform your study?) 

  1. How will the completion of the proposed research project benefit the fulfilment of your scholarly / professional / vocational aspirations? 

English and French Literature (19th Century) - Supervisor: Dr Victoria Baena

Hosting Department: Faculty of English

Research Areas:  

  • English Literature – Victorian literature, modernist literature  
  • French literature – Nineteenth-century French studies  
  • Archival research 
  • Translation project (French, Spanish) 

Please compose a one-sentence research question on what you hope to learn or discover during your six weeks of study at Cambridge.  

What motivates this guiding research question—what got you interested in the topic?  

Do you have any initial hunches as to what you expect to find? (It’s normal for this to change over the course of the research!)  

Finally, how do you plan to investigate this question over the course of six weeks?  

What kinds of sources (primary and secondary) do you intend to examine?  

How do you plan to make use of Cambridge’s substantial research resources, whether print or manuscript?  


Example of research topic: Nineteenth-century letters between women writers

Example of research question: How did [x author]’s correspondence with [y author] affect her understanding of what it meant to become a published writer?   


Please also submit a writing sample from your undergraduate course of study (coursework essay or dissertation) in your application. 


For applicants of translation projects, you should have sufficient knowledge of French of or Spanish to translate into English. 

Philosophy and Futures Studies - Supervisor: Dr SJ Beard

Hosting Department: Institute of Technology and Humanity, The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk  

Research Areas: 

  • Philosophy – moral philosophy and philosophy of science 
  • Futures Studies – futures, foresight, and horizon scanning methods, the study of science and technology 
  • Existential Risk and Global Catastrophic Risk 

In your research proposal, make sure you answer the following questions: 

  1. How would your research help to address one or more of the biggest problems facing humanity as a species?    

  2. What methods or approaches could you bring to thinking about extreme and unprecedented future risks and how to prevent or mitigate them?    

  3. How can your work challenge the limitations of existing disciplines, institutions, and approaches to impact in making the world safer?    

  4. What do you see as missing from current discussions about these topics and how would you like to remedy this?

Theology and Religious Studies - Supervisor: Professor Esra Ozyurek

Hosting Department: Faculty of Divinity 

Research Areas:  

  • Religion 
  • Interfaith relations 
  • Islam 
  • Muslims in Europe 
  • Holocaust memory 
  • Turkey 
  • Islamophobia 
  • Antisemitism 
  • Religious conversion 
  • Secularism 

In your proposal, please make sure you provide the following: 

  1. Which religion or religions you are interested in?    

  2. What aspect of a religion you are interested in as it relates to a social or cultural context?   

  3. How do you think you will be able to understand this connection? Will you be making observations and talking to people? Or use another research method? Please explain.