Economic and Social Research Council
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ESRC announces new cohort of doctoral training partnerships

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) will invest in 15 doctoral training partnerships (DTPs) spanning 89 institutions over the next five years.

University students in modern classroom with lecturer. Students talking to female African professor during or after the lectures

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.

Investments in 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.

Enhanced training provision

The new DTPs demonstrate ESRC’s commitment to its revised vision for doctoral training, that reflects the findings of the review. This includes:

  • adopting a more bespoke student-centered approach to the content and delivery of training
  • 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
  • embedding equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) principles at all levels
  • 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

Funding 15 DTPs across the UK

ESRC will fund 15 DTPs across the whole of the UK. They will cover the breadth of social sciences, as well as areas of interdisciplinary research. The awards started in October 2023 to allow DTPs to further develop a programme of flexible training opportunities, and a suite of research in practice opportunities, tailored to the needs of individual students.

Five years of PhD studentship intake will begin in October 2024. The aim is to continue to support 500 students a year.

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