Students Staff

12 December 2016

Essex takes the lead in training the next generation of social science researchers

Photo of Professor Shamit Saggar

Professor Shamit Saggar.

The South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS) consortium led by the University of Essex, is launching its new ESRC-backed Doctoral Training Partnership at the House of Lords.

The formal launch on Monday 12 December will celebrate the awarding of the Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) and the combined reputations of the ten SeNSS institutions for world class social science research training, infrastructure and expertise.

The launch event will be hosted by Lord Currie of Marylebone. The speakers will be Sharon Witherspoon, MBE, Head of Policy at the Academy of Social Sciences and its Campaign for Social Science and Jonathan Portes, formerly Chief Economist at the Cabinet Office and now a Research Fellow at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

The Doctoral Training Partnership will enable SeNSS to offer fully-funded doctoral studentships each year for the next six years, providing high quality social sciences training.

Students will also have the chance to collaborate with over 200 external organisations already in partnership with SeNSS. In addition, the consortium’s External Innovation Group, comprising senior research users and practitioners will be on hand to provide strategic advice for such collaborations.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Professor Shamit Saggar, Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor Research at the University of Essex and Director of SeNSS, said: “This is an exciting moment in social science doctoral research. Leading the new South East Network for Social Sciences is a proud achievement for the University of Essex, and I am delighted to be its inaugural Director.

“SeNSS is a timely development that will add to our collective strengths across the social sciences. It represents the kind of cross-university partnership that is increasingly a feature of the higher education landscape.

“Our ten universities have made an early start in preparing the next generation of social scientists who will have strong disciplinary training and skills, be equipped to take on big research questions, work collaboratively and in larger research teams, also anticipate the priorities and perspectives of research users and practitioners. In short, it has never been a better time to study for a social science PhD!"

Alongside Essex, the SeNSS consortium consists of the following UK universities: City University, London; University of East Anglia; Goldsmiths, University of London; University of Kent; University of Reading; Roehampton University; Royal Holloway, University of London; University of Surrey and University of Sussex.

The ESRC will be funding 14 new Doctoral Training Partnerships across the UK, with the first intake of students starting in October 2017. In total, around 500 studentships will be available each year across all of the DTPs, with 50 Postdoctoral Fellowships also funded through the DTP Network.

The launch event will be attended by SeNSS members, including the Vice-Chancellors of partner institutions, senior academics and administrators, as well as other external stakeholders and practitioners who have given the consortium their backing.

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