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10 July 2012
A University-led training centre to develop the social scientists of the future has been officially launched by the Minister for Education and Skills, Leighton Andrews AM.
The creation of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Wales Doctoral Training Centre, which prepares PhD students for careers researching some of the key challenges facing our economy and society, was celebrated at an event in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.
Established in 2011, the Centre is helping to build Wales’ research capacity across a range of social science disciplines including business studies, criminology, economics, education, human geography, international studies, linguistics, politics, psychology, social policy and sociology.
Funded by the ESRC, the Centre operates as a consortium between Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff and Swansea universities, with Cardiff as the lead institution. The Wales DTC is one of 21 across the UK judged by the ESRC to deliver truly excellent postgraduate training provision, which reflects Welsh universities’ reputation for high-quality social science research.
The Centre aims to encourage research collaborations across disciplines and institutions in Wales and internationally. It will also build links with partners in the public, private and third sectors to promote knowledge exchange: current links include the Welsh Government; Countryside Council for Wales; Shell Global Solutions; Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens; the Workers' Educational Association; WJEC; Aneurin Bevan Health Board;, the Probation Service and the Research Councils.
'To date the Centre has created over 90 fully funded studentships. It has been awarded an ESRC grant to the value of 33 new studentships per annum for five years but aims to increase the number of studentships in Wales to support in excess of 250 over the term.
During the launch event which took place at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, Leighton Andrews AM said:
"We are keen to see social science in Wales develop and the award of the ESRC Doctoral Training Centre recognises that we can offer some of the very best social science research training anywhere in the UK."
Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Grant, said: "Wales contains a significant portion of the very best social science, and the very best social science research training in the UK. We are delighted to be the lead institution in an initiative that builds on and promises to further develop the high quality of social science research in Wales, particularly to address the needs that arise in the post-devolution context."
Also speaking at the launch, Professor David James, Director of the Doctoral Training Centre explained how the launch underlined the importance of the ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Centre for the future of social science in Wales and indeed the UK:
"Social science is increasingly significant as we struggle with the great uncertainties and inequalities of our times. It is vital that the next generation of social scientists have breadth as well as depth, readily engaging with a range of audiences and interests whilst being independent and critical thinkers who understand and embrace their responsibilities in a democracy. As a Doctoral Training Centre, we have an important part to play in making that happen".
Other subject areas which will attract the fully-funded studentships include environmental planning, science and technology studies, bilingualism, empirical studies in law, language based area studies and social work and social care.
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