The Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS) has been awarded significant funding by the ESRC to provide PhD training across the social sciences in Scotland.
Building on the strong foundation of the previous Doctoral Training Centre and first Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has awarded SGSSS funding for a further five cohorts of PhD studentships, with the first group starting their research in October 2024.
SGSSS has been awarded a core allocation of 40 studentships per year by the ESRC. The successful SGSSS co-funding model with HEIs, SDS and other collaborative partners means that approximately 54 studentships will be available to be awarded each year, ensuring ongoing significant and impactful contribution to social science research in Scotland. This is a fantastic investment in the future of research in Scotland, which will benefit all sectors and industries, contributing to tackling global societal challenges.
SGSSS are delighted that ESRC has recognised the high quality training, cohort development and student support offered by the DTP. This new funding will enable SGSSS to achieve our vision of equipping PhD graduates to be independent thinkers that contribute to addressing global challenges and systematic problems. SGSSS will continue to be a major contributor to social science research in Scotland, as we support our PhD researchers to apply their skills across sectors and to develop into future research leaders on the national and international stage.
SGSSS is the UK’s largest facilitator of funding, training and support for doctoral students in social science. SGSSS is a partnership of 16 higher education institutions (HEIs) across Scotland, the core of which is a Doctoral Training Partnership of 14 HEIs.
Through DTP funding provided by the ESRC, SGSSS provides studentship funding for PhD research, which includes training, cohort development and student support. Over the lifetime of SGSSS, over 500 studentships have been awarded and over 700 days of training have been provided. Further to this, SGSSS also has a long standing partnership with the Scottish Funding Council. SGSSS uses its scale and cross-Scotland network to widen its training opportunities and support infrastructure to all social science PhD researchers in Scotland, regardless of funding status.
SGSSS has an ambitious vision to equip PhD graduates to be independent thinkers that contribute to addressing global and systematic problems. Working at the national scale allows us to draw upon a wide pool of training expertise (including around 2250 social scientists across Scotland) to deliver our vision for excellence in the social sciences. The scale of our DTP enables our graduates to apply their skills across sectors and to develop into future research leaders on the national and global stage.
SGSSS Director, Professor Graeme Nixon said:
SGSSS is delighted to receive ongoing funding and accreditation from ESRC. We have worked hard with all our HEI partners and other key collaborators such as the Scottish Government, Scottish Funding Council and Skills Development Scotland to ensure we have an ambitious, dynamic and effective training programme. We are very proud to support PhD researchers across Scotland, enabling them to contribute to research in all sectors, tackling global challenges and contributing positively to societal development.
In their announcement the ESRC stated that they are investing in 15 doctoral training partnerships spanning 89 institutions over the next five years. Following ESRC’s response to the Review of PhD in the Social Sciences in 2021, a revised vision for postgraduate training is now being implemented.
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.”
Investments in doctoral training partnerships (DTPs) are an important component of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and ESRC’s overarching vision to develop research talent and skills.
These investments will provide a breadth of professional development training opportunities to enhance the capabilities of doctoral candidates and further develop a world-class, highly skilled workforce for the UK.
The SGSSS team can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org