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Wales Doctoral Training Centre launched

09 July 2012

A 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 today (Tuesday 10 July, 2012).

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."

Cardiff University 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 human geography, management and business studies, political science and international studies, science and technology studies, bilingualism, and empirical studies in law, language based area studies, sociology and social work and social care.


    Lowri Jones
    Cardiff University
    T: 02920 870 995

    Notes to Editors

    About the Wales Doctoral Training Centre
    The Wales Doctoral Training Centre (Wales DTC) is a consortium of leading universities which commenced in October 2011 with a multi-million pound award from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

    The Wales DTC has also received £1.5m from HEFCW to support its work in Wales. The partner institutions are Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff (lead institution) and Swansea.

    About Cardiff University
    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 its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University President Professor Sir Martin Evans.

    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.

    Lowri Jones
    Public Affairs
    Communications & International Relations Division
    Adran Cyfathrebu a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol

    Cardiff University/ Prifysgol Caerdydd
    Deri House, 2-4 Park Grove, Cardiff, CF10 3PA
    Tel/ Ffôn: 029 20 870995
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