Essex part of new cohort of doctoral training partnerships

  • Date

    Tue 7 Nov 23

Students working beside lake

The University of Essex is delighted to be at the heart of one of 15 new doctoral training partnerships funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The South and East Network for Social Sciences (SENSS) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) will bring together Essex with City, University of London, Cranfield University, Goldsmiths College, University of Lincoln, Middlesex University, Roehampton University and University of East Anglia.

Director of SENSS, Professor Rob Johns, from Essex’s Department of Government, said: “We are delighted that the ESRC shared our partnership's vision for training and nurturing the next generation of researchers.

“By structuring SENSS around big themes like sustainability, justice, health and well-being and digital social sciences, we have ensured that every funded project will address one of UK Research & Innovation’s priority areas.

“Trained and supported by the very best in their field across all eight partner universities, SENSS researchers will reach beyond disciplinary boundaries, strive for public attention and policy impact, and recognise and combat entrenched inequalities."

ESRC is funding 15 doctoral training partnerships (DTP) across 89 institutions across the whole of the UK. They will cover the breadth of social sciences, as well as areas of interdisciplinary research. The awards allow DTPs to further develop a programme of flexible training opportunities, and a suite of research in practice opportunities, tailored to the needs of individual students.

Five years of PhD studentship intake will begin in October 2024 with the aim of continuing to support 500 students a year.

The announcement is part of ESRC’s response to the Review of PhD in the Social Sciences in 2021, a revised vision for postgraduate training is now being implemented.

Investments in DTPs are an important component of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and ESRC’s overarching vision to develop research talent and skills.

These investments will provide a breadth of professional development training opportunities to enhance the capabilities of doctoral candidates and further develop a world-class, highly skilled workforce for the UK.

Stian Westlake, ESRC Executive Chair, said: “Our vision for postgraduate training is that it will develop globally competitive social science researchers who can operate in interdisciplinary, collaborative, and challenge-led environments across a range of sectors and who have a diversity of backgrounds and experiences.

“This redesigned and expanded doctoral training opportunity will enhance the experience for PhD students and boost the UK’s capability.”

Social sciences at Essex

Th University of Essex is recognised as a powerhouse for social science research with four social science subjects in the UK top 10 for research quality (grade point average, Research Excellence Framework 2021) - economics and econometrics, modern language and linguistics politics and international studies, and sociology. 

Essex is also home to the Institute for Social and Economic Research including Understanding Society, one of the largest studies of its kind, plus the UK Data Archive, which is the lead partner for the UK Data Service and is central to UK data infrastructure.

Understanding Society and the UK Data Service have just been awarded £138m of funding from ESRC. This long-term investment will support the collection of world-leading social science data and access to it, which is vital to support effective research and policy design and implementation.