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Partnerships and Centres: can changes in doctoral research funding support equality in provision

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Richard HetheringtonORCiD, Oonagh McGee


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Over the last 10 years there has been a shift in the way the UK Government has funded doctoral research. UKRI concentrating funding with Doctoral Training Centres (DTCs) and Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) being the main means of supporting research studentships. Funding has been allocated where research expertise was already well supported with grant funding. The concept that research students should learn their research skills together and develop as a cohort is intrinsically a very positive step. It could be argued that where students are co-located with their cohorts, or brought together for regular events and training, these foci could provide an antidote to the ‘lonely journey’ often reported by doctoral students. Partnerships and centres also provide excellent additional training opportunities in areas such Science Communication, Enterprise & Innovation and Personal & Professional Development. In a study of doctoral centres in (2019-2020) students (n=209) and staff (n=6) reported on the less tangible benefits of doctoral centres, primarily relating to wellbeing and support but also the opportunity to share methods, skills, and work on problems collaboratively. However, for the many benefits this concentration of funding with three and a half or four year fully funded studentships with additional training opportunities included has increased the disparity in experience between research students depending on how they are being supported and their discipline. In this discussion seminar we will look at how provisions made through these funding models can be spread to the broader community of research students. There will also be a discussion on equality, diversity and inclusivity of opportunity as funding models develop. With some consideration of the approaches taken to recruitment and the support provided to ensure researchers can maximise the benefits of their experience for careers both within and beyond academia

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hetherington R, McGee O

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Vitae Connections Week 2021

Year of Conference: 2021

Online publication date: 07/09/2021

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

Publisher: Vitae