Boost for Doctoral Training Partnerships

Research in economic and social science is expanding. The UK funding body ESRC announced a boost for doctoral training partnerships, spanning 89 institutions over the next 5 years.

What will the new partnerships offer?

Following a recent review, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) intends to focus on a number of outcomes: -

  • Increasing the PhD duration from three to 3.5 years to incorporate a three-month placement and additional training
  • introducing research in practice as a core component to ensure that students have the skills fundamental to both academic and non-academic career pathways
  • ensuring innovation in core training content and delivery, particularly in relation to data management, digital skills and the skills to analyse large and complex data
  • strengthening supervisory guidance and professional development opportunities for supervisors

Of equal importance is the attention paid to embedding equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) principles at all levels. Additionally, adopting a more bespoke student-centered approach to the content and delivery of training.

Location of the new Doctoral Training Partnerships

The ESRC will fund 15 DTPs across all regions of the UK. Universities attached to each partnership are grouped according to location. They encompass institutions of different rankings and speciality. They will cover the breadth of social sciences, as well as areas of interdisciplinary research.

The intake of studentships commenced in October and continues for five years. The boost for doctoral training partnerships is expected to reach 500 students each year.

What is a Doctoral Training Programme

Our article explains how the partnership structure works and the role individual universities play when they seek candidates to fulfil the research opportunities.

How to apply for funding

For candidates the system has not changed following these alterations. Students will still apply direct to the relevant universities as the opportunities are advertised. The UKRI does not manage these applications. Prospective researchers will access the studentships through the recruitment processes of the organisations who hold UKRI doctoral investments.

New type of investment framework

Following a review the UKRI is introducing two types of training awards commencing in January 2024. The proposal helps to fulfil the UKRI strategy that aims to make talent funding easier to understand and manage.

From January 2024, the two award types will replace the nine schemes currently supported, enabling them to retain their key features, and building on existing strengths and commonalities.

According to their announcement the changes ‘deliver better against the UKRI strategy’, namely:

  • ensuring people in the research and innovation community, and UKRI, can make the best use of their time and resources
  • improving the support available to people and teams in disciplinary and interdisciplinary areas
  • improving the flow of people across disciplines and sectors in research and innovation

Next steps

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