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Social science experts of the future brought to Wales

04 February 2011

Wales’ leading universities have won a multi-million pound award to train top-level social scientists on a range of issues affecting society today.

The establishment of a Doctoral Training Centre will allow 33 new postgraduate studentships to be offered every year in Wales for the next five years.

The postgraduates will be trained in a range of important disciplines, including social policy, psychology, economics, environmental planning and linguistics.

Cardiff University will lead a Wales consortium with Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea in creating the Doctoral Training Centre, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Other subject areas which will attract the fully funded studentships include education, human geography, management and business studies, political science and international relations, science and technology studies, social work and social care, criminology, sociology, bilingualism, language based area studies and empirical studies in law.

Full details of the studentships and how to apply will be available soon via the websites of the collaborating universities.

The Wales consortium forms part of a national network of 21 accredited Doctoral Training Centres across the UK judged by the ESRC to deliver truly excellent postgraduate training provision.

Dr David Grant, Vice-Chancellor Cardiff University said: "This successful collaboration furthers Wales’ international reputation for excellence in the social sciences.

"In gaining accreditation, the Wales Doctoral Training Centre has demonstrated excellence in the breadth of its social science postgraduate training, which is integrated into the highest quality research environment"

Professor Colin McInnes, Dean of Postgraduate Studies at Aberystwyth University said: "This is an exciting opportunity which brings together a range of outstanding centres across Wales to provide a world-class facility for training social scientists fit to meet the challenges of the 21st century."

Professor Noel Thompson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Swansea University said: "Swansea University is delighted to have been part of the bid for an ESRC Doctoral Training Centre that proved successful in the face of strong competition within the British Higher Education sector. The Centre will allow us to build capacity to ensure the future delivery of world-leading and international quality social science research within Wales."

Bangor University’s Director of Research, Professor Jo Rycroft-Malone said: "The Doctoral Training Centre arrangements will add valuable new dimensions to the experience of postgraduate students by providing more varied pathways, more advanced training, and enhanced support. Training will be delivered in an interdisciplinary research environment across the four institutions, and Bangor is delighted to be involved."

The studentships will start at the Wales Doctoral Training Centre in October 2011. For further information, email

Notes to editors

1.Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among our distinguished staff are two Nobel Laureates, Academicians of the Academy of Social Sciences, Fellows of the Royal Society and other acclaimed scholars and award winners across numerous fields.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Three major new Research Institutes, offering radical new approaches to neurosciences and mental health, cancer stem cells and sustainable places were announced by the University in 2010.

2. Bangor University

Bangor University, which recently celebrated its 125th anniversary, has a long record of academic excellence. It currently has 11,000 students and offers 500 degree programmes, with particular strengths in the fields of Environmental Science (including Ocean Sciences), Health (including Psychology, Neuroscience and Sports Science), Humanities, Physical Sciences, Business, Law, Social Sciences and Education. It is a research-led university, and the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise demonstrated that it had ‘world-leading’ research in every subject area assessed, and in Accounting & Finance was judged to have the highest-rated research in the UK. With 2,000 members of staff, Bangor University is a major employer in North Wales and a leading contributor to the regional economy.

Visit the University website at:

3. Swansea University is a world-class, research-led university situated in stunning parkland overlooking Swansea Bay on the edge of the Gower peninsula, the UK's first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Founded in 1920, the University now offers around 500 undergraduate courses and 150 postgraduate courses to more than 13,800 students. Visit

4. Aberystwyth University

Established in 1872, Aberystwyth is a leading teaching and research university and was awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2009. In 2010 the National Student Survey placed Aberystwyth in the top five institutions in the UK for student satisfaction.

For more information contact

Emma Darling

Public Relations

Cardiff University

Tel: 029 20874499