ESRC accredits White Rose Doctoral Training Centre

A successful collaboration between the universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York will create one of the UK’s biggest doctoral training centres for postgraduate researchers in the social sciences.

The consortium's application to form the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) was accepted by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which praised the exceptionally high standard of the bid. Peer reviewers and panelists commented on its strategic vision, solid collaborative foundations, and the high quality of the research base and training plans. Members of the ESRC Training and Skills Subgroup remarked that the bid was "one of the strongest applications submitted". 

The ESRC accredited all 20 pathways in the application, and allocated the White Rose DTC 48 studentships per annum for the next five years, commencing in October 2011. Academic leadership is joint across all three institutions, with the University of Sheffield taking the administrative lead. 

"This is a major achievement, both in terms of the number and value of PhD scholarships that it will bring and the highly positive feedback which the bid received," said Professor Andrew Thompson, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation. 

"By combining the expertise of the White Rose Universities, the DTC will deliver excellent supervision, first class training and vibrant intellectual environment for postgraduate research students," says Professor Anne Kerr (School of Sociology and Social Policy). "It will enable them to participate in our national and international networks of industrial partners, opinion formers, policy makers and academics, and will produce doctoral graduates with outstanding skills and flexibility."

The White Rose DTC will build on the collective strengths of 1,340 academics in 56 social sciences departments within the three universities. Together, the three universities' combined research income for the social sciences exceeded £181m over the RAE period.  They have existing ESRC training recognition in 110 programmes and 50 ESRC recognised training outlets, and a total of 170 ESRC funded students registered in 2009/10.

The White Rose DTC joins a network of just 21 DTCs, all from Russell Group or post-1994 institutions.

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