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A: Royal Holloway; b: Bristol University; c: Oxford University ‘UK Social Science research training policy and practice: three perspectives on recent developments.

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Presentation on theme: "A: Royal Holloway; b: Bristol University; c: Oxford University ‘UK Social Science research training policy and practice: three perspectives on recent developments."— Presentation transcript:

1 a: Royal Holloway; b: Bristol University; c: Oxford University ‘UK Social Science research training policy and practice: three perspectives on recent developments and unintended consequences’ ROSEMARY DEEM a, SALLY BARNES b, GILL CLARKE c

2 OUTLINE  The overall theme is the development of social science doctoral training in the UK  3 semi narrative accounts by the presenters of their experience of social science doctoral education both now and in the past; all of us once worked at the same university.  Finally explore some current issues: critical mass; visions, experiences, thesis type; ideas about collaboration; administrative funding challenges

3 1. R OSEMARY DEEM : CONTINUITY & C HANGE IN SOCIAL SCIENCE DOCTORAL EDUCATION  1970s and 1980s there were SSRC/ ESRC awards through allocation and/or national competition; students were slow to submit and the doctorate was seen as a great work, training patchy  In 1992 ESRC began to implement the 1987 Winfield Report (recommended tightening up on supervision, completion & developing two doctoral routes, training and knowledge)  Personal experience of doctoral education at Open University, Lancaster University, Bristol University, RHUL  From 2009 onwards greater orientation towards all disciplines sharing training and extreme selectivity

4 INITIAL RESPONSES TO DOCTORAL TRAINING  Often resisted by students, especially in 1990s/2000s plus some supervisors regarded it as a distraction  Degree regulations revised in 1990s; 4 years of training and study  Lot of issues around what should be studied (qualitative, quantitative, philosophy of social science?) and its relevance to student research topics  Role of training in the completion of the thesis and in employment very different

5 T HE BEGINNINGS OF THE ESRC D OCTORAL TRAINING CENTRES  2009 – 2010 initiative announced: unclear if collaboration between institutions an afterthought & bi-product of collective bids in Wales and Scotland  Some universities steered by ESRC to single HEI bids  financial crisis meant bids reassessed after initial sift; DTUs removed altogether & only 21 DTCS funded  Assumed bigger was better – science model  No initial support for those running DTCS. SRHE event in 2012 with Pam Denicolo, ESRC a bit nonplussed

6 S OUTHWEST DTC  Comprises Royal Holloway + Surrey, Kent & Reading  Pathways: Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Management, Politics, Psychology, Socio-legal, Social policy, Sociology & Environment, Energy & Resilience  Hard work to collaborate – different cultures, regulations, student information systems, VLEs, structures but students doing well  Told we must do more research collaboration and meld together the 4 research & teaching strategies

7 2. S ALLY B ARNES : T HE C OMPLEXITIES OF D OCTORAL T RAINING : THE SWDTC  Bristol, Exeter and Bath Universities   12 Disciplinary Pathways  5 Interdisciplinary Pathways  Environment, Energy and Resilience (EER)  Health and Well-Being (HWB)  Security, Conflict and Justice (SCJ)  Global Political Economies (GPE)  Advanced Quantitative Methods (AQM – Bristol only)

8 BRISTOL’S SWDTC VISION  To increase interdisciplinary research collaborations across the Faculty of Social Sciences & Law by encouraging staff to collaborate on PhD supervisions, Advanced training workshops, seminars, etc  To introduce multiple perspectives into the Masters in Research programmes by creating teaching teams from schools across the Faculty  To increase research collaboration with other institutions, through joint supervision of PhDs  To increase successful collaborative research applications

9 I NSTITUTIONAL C OMPLEXITIES  ESRC deals only with Lead partner so all monitoring etc must be accessible to Bristol, as lead partner  Interdisciplinary Pathways have required the three institutions to work as one in terms of the regulations pertaining to the MRes.  For the new disciplinary Masters in Research - need to align educational structures to create a common marking scheme, credit awards, degree awards, etc  Supervisory requirements for doctoral candidates needed to be aligned across institutions  Partnership Agreement governing the SWDTC

10 C OMPLEXITIES FOR A CADEMIC S TAFF  Understanding that there ARE changes to admissions, supervisory and monitoring issues for ESRC doctoral candidates  To potentially teach research methods units with staff from other disciplines - teaching both face-to- face and virtual groups  To potentially supervise doctoral students with staff from other institutions.

11 C OMPLEXITIES FOR D OCTORAL C ANDIDATES  For candidates to become aware of the broader opportunities offered  Research training units  Advanced training opportunities  Placements, internships, overseas visits  To view their colleagues as being in several institutions but all together  ID Students have supervisors from more than one institution – managing different locations, styles, travel, ethos, etc

12 O THER I SSUES  Ensuring opportunities are available for Non-ESRC funded candidates  Initial ESRC funding for 6 years (formal review after 3) – how to manage the rebidding process, and do we want to rebid?  ESRC changing relationship with institutions and their desire to have direct relationship with ESRC candidates

13 3: G ILL C LARKE : UK S OCIAL S CIENCE RESEARCH TRAINING POLICY AND PRACTICE ; THREE PERSPECTIVES ON RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

14 S UMMARY  Role of ESRC and the research councils  Leadership qualities  Avoiding over-bureaucratic management  Importance of organic development  The student experience and perspective ___________________________________________________________________

15 CDT Univ C OMPLEXITIES OF TRAINING MODELS Grad School/ Doctoral College CDT Univ 2 Univ 3 CDT Single university graduate school or ‘doctoral college’ with independently funded centres for doctoral training CDT Multiple graduate schools and centres for doctoral training in one university CDT Grad School CDT Univ 4 Univ 1 GS Large CDT with several university partners; includes multiple graduate schools; universities often part of more than one CDT Univ 1 CDT Univ 2

16  ‘Taught’ modules in years 1-2  Identification of ‘training’ needs  Cohorts rather than individuals  Identify with lab / CDT / department / school ?  ‘Streams’ of candidates? M ODELS OF DOCTORAL TRAINING : CANDIDATES More autonomy More structure Increasing years ofstudy Prof doc? PhD? Lunt, I., McAlpine, L. and Mills, D. (2013). Lively bureaucracy? The ESRC’s Doctoral Training Centres and UK universities. Oxford Review of Education, 40:

17 CRITICAL MASS  Critical mass in doctoral study long questioned by Delamont et al (1997a,b). Has this just been an adoption of the science model by ESRC? Does critical mass improve submissions & improve knowledge quality?  For: Learning from peers; Cohort identity, multiple advice sources; Larger pool of interaction, Potentially, exposure to more disciplines  Against: social science PhD fieldwork & writing not collective experiences; requires no big equipment; excludes regional pockets of excellence; more advice but may be contradictory; sustained supervision & discipline socialisation key feature; cohorts fragmented anyway by age, topic, location, thesis stage, fieldwork

18 V ISIONS, EXPERIENCES, TYPES OF P H D THESIS  To what extent have the visions and plans of ESRC DTCs been realised and how? Role & type of leadership in this process: transformative, charismatic, transactional, distributed?  How has the doctoral student experience been changed by the advent of DTCs and which student experiences?  Should we mourn the loss of the knowledge based PhD suggested by Winfield in 1987?

19 C OLLABORATION : HOW, WHY & SO WHAT ?  Lunt 2014 suggests was part of the ESRC exercise but possibly unintended consequence of Welsh & Scottish decisions  ESRC officers explicitly ‘advised’ some departments in to go it alone.  What is involved in making collaborations work? What factors predict success? Forced/voluntary?Is this about PhD training or everything?  Is collaboration at odds with the pgr ‘market’?

20 F UNDING CHALLENGES & ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS  Rise of matched funding for DTCs & DTPs a worry for the UK HE sector (UUK 2014); will home/EU undergraduate fees end up subsidising PhDs?  The decline in ESRC staffing & transfer of administrative roles to universities with no resources attached is a significant challenge  Only Scotland and Wales properly fund their DTCs (Delamont and Atkinson 2014) including administrative budgets.


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