Major public investment in postgraduate social science research at Durham and Newcastle universities
(26 January 2011)
Durham and Newcastle universities are to receive over £9million from the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) to establish a joint world-class Doctoral Training Centre to train the next generation of social scientists.
The ESRC has announced that Durham and Newcastle's joint bid to set up a collaborative Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) at the two universities for postgraduate research students in the social sciences has been successful.
The new North East Doctoral Training Centre will bring together the research strengths of Durham and Newcastle universities, offering students a wealth of opportunities to work with research leaders across a wide range of social science subjects and benefit from world-class training and resources.
The North East DTC is one of only 21 to be approved by the ESRC across the UK following a rigorous peer review process. The ESRC's reviewers highlighted the long-established collaborative relationship between the two universities in the social sciences; praised the DTC's innovative approach to joint supervision and training; and commended each university's investment in new, state-of-the-art facilities for the DTC.
Twenty-eight fully-funded studentships each year over the next five years have been granted to the North East ESRC DTC to recruit and support postgraduate students from across the social sciences. This represents five per cent of the total number of ESRC studentships available over the next five years. It ranks the North East DTC as the eighth largest in the UK and equates to approximately £9million of funding in total.
Professor Robin Coningham, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health, at Durham University, said: "The ESRC's decision to support Durham's and Newcastle's bid to establish a joint Doctoral Training Centre shows the strength of both universities and our ambitions for the future. Both institutions are already leading centres for teaching and research in the social sciences and our joint bid allowed for our strengths to complement each other.
"In the current economic climate we are delighted that the ESRC has chosen to continue to support the social sciences at Durham and Newcastle. Whilst the ESRC's budget is declining by 12 per cent over the next three years following the Comprehensive Spending Review, the ESRC is maintaining its investment in our students, staff and facilities.
"I would strongly encourage anyone interested in undertaking postgraduate study in the social sciences to see what the new DTC will be able to offer them."
Professor Charles Harvey, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, at Newcastle University, said: "The ESRC's decision is excellent news not just for Newcastle and Durham universities, but also for the wider region. Students from the DTC will be working closely with public, private and charitable organisations across the North East and will be helping to inform local and regional policy-making.
"We are pleased that the quality of our joint bid has been rewarded. The new DTC will offer postgraduate students the very best training and support in state-of-the-art facilities.
"Both universities are now looking forward to recruiting high-calibre social science students and training them to become leading academics and researchers in their fields. Full details about the exciting opportunities that will be available through the new DTC will be advertised shortly."
ESRC-funded studentships provide students with a tax-free maintenance grant of £13,590 each year and pays for their tuition fees during their studies. Students who have completed an undergraduate degree or have also completed a postgraduate Masters degree can apply for funding.