North West becomes largest centre for PhD training

Studentships will be available across the full range of social science disciplines

The largest centre in England for social science postgraduate training has been established at the Universities of Liverpool, Manchester and Lancaster.

The North West Doctoral Training Centre (NWDTC) is one of 21 in the UK, created by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and will provide PhD students with access to quality research training in social science disciplines. Liverpool, Manchester and Lancaster are now guaranteed a total of 63 new postgraduate studentships per year to support research and training at doctoral level each year.  This will amount to more than £15 million of investment over the next five years.

Studentships will be available across the full range of social science disciplines, including areas such as Geography, Economics and Psychology.  The ESRC has also identified particular areas of study that would benefit from further development across the UK.  These include subjects such as Language-Based Area Studies, Economics, and Management and Business Studies.  A number of studentships will be set aside for these particular areas to help ensure that social sciences continue to contribute to the development of society and the economy.

Students will have access to research expertise across Liverpool, Manchester and Lancaster, allowing them to take advantage of a variety of study in social sciences, as well as in subjects where scientists are collaborating with colleagues from other disciplines such as medicine and the arts.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jon Saunders, said: “The new Centre is an acknowledgement of the quality of social sciences research and expertise at Liverpool, Manchester and Lancaster.  The partnership will provide a vibrant and exciting research environment for postgraduate students who want access to world-class training provision.  With this Centre we aim to support the next generation of social scientists, allowing them to contribute knowledge that will further develop UK society and the economy.”

Professor Bertrand Taithe, Associate Dean of Postgraduate Research at the University of Manchester’s Faculty of Humanities, said: “The North West Doctoral Training Centre is the largest in England, and thanks to the success of this bid we have increased the numbers of studentships across the three Universities.  Doctoral students will have access to excellent research facilities across all social science disciplines.”

Professor Geraint Johnes, Lancaster University’s Dean of Graduate Studies, said: “The studentships that the Centre will make available are wide-ranging and will fund research across social sciences disciplines at each of the partner institutions. Doctoral students at Lancaster will now be able to enjoy not only the fantastic research facilities that we have, but also the best offerings at Liverpool and Manchester.”

Notes to editors:

1. The DTC studentships are available to postgraduate students living in the UK and European Union, but there are also opportunities for international students to apply for study in economic and social statistics.  Courses included in the new scheme are listed below.

2. Study pathways for postgraduates applying for studentships include:
Accounting and Finance; Business and Management; Development and Humanitarianism; Economic and Social History; Economics’ Geography and Environment; Language Based Area Studies; Learning and Technology in Educational Research; Linguistics; Planning and Environment; Politics in a Global World; Psychology; Security, Conflict and Justice; Social Anthropology; Social Statistics; Social Work; Sociology; Health and Wellbeing; Science, Technology and Innovation.

3.  The University of Liverpool is a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive institutions in the UK. It attracts collaborative and contract research commissions from a wide range of national and international organisations valued at more than £110 million annually.

4. The University of Manchester, a member of the Russell Group, is the largest single-site university in the UK. It has 22 academic schools and hundreds of specialist research groups undertaking pioneering multi-disciplinary teaching and research of worldwide significance. According to the results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, The University of Manchester is now one of the country’s major research universities, rated third in the UK in terms of ‘research power’.

5. Lancaster University is a member of the 1994 Group of research intensive universities and is currently ranked in the top ten for quality in major league tables. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise Lancaster emerged in the top band of UK Universities with a high proportion of its research rated ‘world leading’.

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