£20m in ESRC-funding awarded to the North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership


The North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP) is pleased to announce that it has been recommissioned by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for a further five years of activity, beginning in 2024.

The NWSSDTP is a consortium of universities, involving Lancaster University and led by the University of Liverpool, which provides funding and training for postgraduate students in the social sciences. The partnership will receive more than £20 million in funding from the ESRC, equating to a minimum of 44 postgraduate studentships a year for the next five years across the constituent universities.

The current consortium consists of the universities of Keele, Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester and will be welcoming the University of Central Lancashire to the partnership for this next phase of activity.

The recommissioned NWSSDTP will be one of a network of 15 ESRC-accredited DTPs across the United Kingdom, and will fund studentships across the spectrum of social science disciplines through 21 distinct disciplinary pathways while continuing to facilitate advanced methodological training provision through the Methods North West initiative.

Ceu Mateus, Professor of Health Economics and NWSSDTP lead at Lancaster University, said: “Lancaster University is very proud regarding the successful recommissioning of the NWSSDTP. It was noted that our training offer is of high-quality and student focused, and is accessible to a diverse student population. We are also very pleased to be part of a new pathway on Social Data Science and AI. With the recommissioning we can recruit top students and contribute to the cutting edge research profile our University has developed through the years.”

The NWSSDTP Manager Hayley Meloy from the University of Liverpool said: “The five NWSSDTP institutions worked together very closely in assembling this bid for recommissioning and we are delighted with this outcome.

“In this next phase of activity, we will build on our 12 years’ experience in collaboratively supporting postgraduate researchers by expanding our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion activities, developing a large-scale Research in Practice placement scheme, and launching six Interdisciplinary Societal Challenge Themes to provide a broader range of training opportunities across the region.

“We are particularly excited to be welcoming UCLan to the partnership, further expanding the impact our funding and training provision has for social science researchers across the North West.”

Tanisha Mittal, who is studying for a PhD in Economics at Lancaster University, said: “Receiving the prestigious NWSSDTP scholarship allowed me to realise my goal of pursuing a PhD. It serves as a validation of my hard work, a significant boost in confidence, and a commitment to an exciting journey ahead.”

The NWSSDTP was initially commissioned 2011-2016 (as the North West Doctoral Training Centre) and recommissioned 2017-2023, at which point Keele University joined the extant partnership of Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester.

The inclusion of the University of Central Lancashire from 2024 brings additional capability to the NWSSDTP through their long-established collaborations with practitioners and local communities across the Northwest of England, a renowned reputation for their commitment to Widening Participation and innovation in EDI Policies, and a broadening of the DTP’s research profile in key areas of social science.

The next round of NWSSDTP studentship competitions, for candidates starting in October 2024, will launch in October 2023. Further information will be made available via the NWSSDTP Website (www.nwssdtp.ac.uk).

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