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Royal Holloway to lead ESRC Doctoral Training Network partnership

Royal Holloway to lead ESRC Doctoral Training Network partnership

  • Date08 November 2023

Royal Holloway, University of London will lead a ground-breaking Doctoral Training Network after being chosen by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) alongside five other institutions.

Sedarc Logo 600Dpi

The ESRC Doctoral Training Network – the South East Doctoral Training Arc (SEDarc) – will be a collaboration led by Royal Holloway. The Network also includes University of Surrey, University of Sussex, University of Kent, University of Reading, and Kingston University.

It comes as part of the ESRC’s plans to invest in 15 doctoral training partnerships spanning 89 institutions over the next five years.

This marks the first occasion that Royal Holloway has led on an ESRC Doctoral Training Network. The SEDarc will focus on the training of five cohorts of PhD students in challenge-led themes that reflect some of the most pressing social science concerns of the forthcoming decades. These will include living sustainably, fostering economic growth, developing thriving communities and trusted institutions, and using transformative technologies for societal benefit.

The SEDarc will have a significant focus on advanced digital and data skills. Furthermore, all students will be expected to complete a period of work placement to enhance employability, and to build a more engaged social science sector through real-world experience.

Professor Kathy Rastle, the Principal Investigator and Director for SEDarc from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, said:

“This is an incredible opportunity to develop the social science leaders of the future, able to apply the unique research strengths of social science disciplines to address some of the most significant challenges of our time. We’re looking forward to working together and with partners across the South East to realise this ambition.”

Professor Dawn Watling, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Postgraduate Research) at Royal Holloway said:

“We are excited to be leading the SEDarc new Doctoral Training Centre here at Royal Holloway. Alongside our South East partners, building on our Social Science research strengths, we will be delivering a strong, innovative training programme that will develop the next generation of researchers and professionals who are set to address key societal challenges.”

Stian Westlake, ESRC Executive Chair, said: 

“Our vision for postgraduate training is that it will develop globally competitive social science researchers who can operate in interdisciplinary, collaborative, and challenge-led environments across a range of sectors and who have a diversity of backgrounds and experiences.

This redesigned and expanded doctoral training opportunity will enhance the experience for PhD students and boost the UK’s capability.”

Professor Julie Sanders, Vice-Chancellor and Principal at Royal Holloway, added:

“For Royal Holloway to be leading an ESRC Doctoral Training Network for the first time is a reflection of the hard work from all of our colleagues who were involved in the bidding process. I am delighted that our University is at the centre of a Training Network that will encourage PhD students to tackle some of our planet’s most urgent concerns over the next few years – navigating new and exciting technologies in a way which can create a more sustainable future for all of us.”

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