The University of Nottingham is to lead the field in producing the next generation of world-class social scientists, after having been chosen as a prestigious centre for doctoral training.
The University is one of just a handful across the country to receive accreditation as a Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the national body funding research and training in social and economic issues.
Over the next five years, around 200 students will undertake cutting-edge interdisciplinary research that provides insights into some of the world’s biggest challenges including global food security, mental health and well-being, energy and the environment, and the interface between science, technology and society.
The new training centre will receive around £6 million from the ESRC, match funded by partners in industry, non-governmental organisations and the University itself, making it one of the largest single postgraduate social science doctoral training centres in Europe.
The University of Nottingham’s selection by the ESRC was due to its excellent track record of fostering multidisciplinary research developments bringing together social sciences, science, engineering, medicine and the arts, its coherent vision and strategy for the promotion of social sciences, and a clear relevance to the global perspective of issues covered by social science research.
Professor Sarah O’Hara, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, said: “We are delighted to have been selected as one of only 21 Doctoral Training Centres in the UK.
“Social sciences play a pivotal role in so many of the key issues facing today’s society, whether it’s improving our understanding of how computers are used to help us live in an increasingly digital world, developing new solutions to the challenges posed by globalisation, social diversity and population displacement, or providing high-impact and policy-relevant research on the social, economic and ethical issues raised by the development of new technologies.
“The new Centre will enable the University to strengthen and expand its agenda-setting social science research by training and developing some of the brightest UK and international postgraduate students.”
The Centre will be managed and coordinated by the University’s Graduate School which was established in 1994 to provide a world-class research training and development environment for postgraduates and early career researchers. The Graduate School was recently commended in an audit undertaken by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.
Professor Claire O’Malley, Dean of the Graduate School, commented: “Social scientists at Nottingham make up 46 per cent of our entire postgraduate student population and a quarter of all research active staff, spanning all five faculties of the University, so it is fitting that we should have the opportunity to host this exciting new Centre.”
In planning for the Centre, the University has drawn on its experience in organising and managing DTCs for other research councils, such as the Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute and Doctoral Training Centre (funded by Research Councils UK) and more recently the Manufacturing Technology Engineering Doctoral Centre (funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council). The new Centre will align closely with the ESRC’s strategic objectives and demonstrate how social sciences can be harnessed to address key research challenges related to energy, environmental change, globalisation, and the impact of behavioural and lifestyle choices.
The University’s Research and Knowledge Transfer Board will also provide significant funding for the Centre in line with its target to grow and deliver influential world-class research and knowledge transfer addressing global issues and challenges in nine Priority Groups. Dr Richard Masterman, Director of Research Innovation Services, said: “The University of Nottingham’s total research portfolio is worth £495m, allowing us and nearly 300 industry partners to fund more than 2,150 research projects. They’re all part of research enterprises that seek to make a global impact.
“Social sciences are a critical component in our evolving research strategy and the new doctoral centre will help us to remain at the leading edge of world changing research.”
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Times as “the nearest Britain has to a truly global university”, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.
The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 39,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.
The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.
More news from the University at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/news
University facts and figures at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/about/facts/factsandfigures.aspx