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NWSSDTP Newsletter 
                                                      June 2021  

Please scroll down for upcoming training events, funding opportunities and NWSSDTP student blogs!  
Photo of the Month
      "Cargo bike ‘photobomb’ in front of Liverpool team bus goes viral" : 
Harriet Larrington-Spencer, Geography & Environment, University of Manchester  
   Read the story behind this photo here                   


Training and Opportunities

Embodied Geographies: Workshop: Setting up and running a reading group for PGRs

We are hosting a workshop on July 27th (14:30-15:30 BST) which focuses on setting up and running reading groups for PGRs. We recognise that it has been difficult for people, in particular new PGRs, to connect during COVID-19. Reading groups and other recurring events provide opportunities for people with similar research interests to connect.
This workshop will consist of a brief talk about our experiences of starting a reading group; followed by a couple of activities which provide the opportunity to explore your own ideas about hosting reading groups and events. Furthermore, this workshop will give you the chance to network with people outside of your institution and potentially facilitate the formation of new reading groups.
Our talk will draw on our own experiences of starting an Embodied Geographies Reading Group as Postgraduate Researchers in times of COVID. We will discuss how we set up the reading group, how we decided on the theme, the readings and the running of the sessions. We will also discuss how we advertised the reading group and how we networked with PGRs and authors via Twitter. The workshop will also touch upon how and when we communicate with members, and the technological logistics of hosting a reading group online. See here to register 

For both events contact ;

Methods @Manchester Summer School

Dates: The Summer School will take place over three weeks: 21–25 June, 28 June – 2 July, and 5–9 July

Courses cover a range of topics that are particularly relevant to postgraduate and ECR research in humanities and social sciences. The selection includes software training, qualitative and quantitative analysis, data visualisation, and research design. For full details see here.


PhD Summer School on Applied Microeconomics

Dates: 6th - 9th July 2021

This virtual event is organized by the Departments of Economics of the University of CyprusLancaster University and University of Padova.

The aim of the Summer School is to provide an overview of cutting-edge research and methodologies in applied microeconomics and to offer opportunities to PhD students for interactions and exchange of ideas via virtual poster presentations and a (very) limited number of regular presentations.

The speakers of the event are:

There will be no registration fee and early registration is highly encouraged. The selection process of the papers that will be presented will be competitive due to the online setting. The deadline for application is  15th June 2021. For further details see here.


The 2021 Research Methods e-Festival: Innovation, Adaptation and Evolution of the social sciences

The Research Methods e-Festival will take place between the 25th and 29th October 2021. This will be a celebration of research methods with an interdisciplinary social science flavour pulling in the contributors and participants to provide a wealth of content. The event, which will be 100% web-based, is an amalgamation of the UK NCRM Research Methods Festival and the methods@manchester Methods Fair. Being fully web-based we aim to attract interest from around the world adding international perspectives to the theme of Innovation, Adaptation and Evolution of the social sciences.
For further details.
To apply 

See here for NCRM June newsletter 
See here for NCRM's searchable database of training events 

Black Future Dr: A Podcast Increasing the Visibility of the Black Doctoral Experience

Black Future Dr is a South West DTP-run podcast dedicated to showcasing the experiences of black doctoral students in the UK. This includes PhD students, as well as students doing professional and medical doctorates. There will be 12 episodes in total, each focusing on a different student studying a different subject at a different institution. Episodes are released weekly and can be listened to via Acast as well as on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Deezer.

UK Parliament

Online training for researchers

UK Parliament offer free online training sessions for academic researchers and knowledge mobilisers.  Recordings and resources from previous sessions, plus dates and booking details for any upcoming training sessions, can be found here.



Cutting through the noise: mobilising data and generating impact during a global pandemic

In May 2020, Rob Davies, Head of CLOSER's COVID-19 Taskforce, highlighted the need to harness the power of longitudinal population studies to help understand the immediate and long-term impacts of the pandemic on individuals, families and communities and called for the creation of a new national birth cohort study to ensure that valuable data from a generation born during a global pandemic is not lost. As the UK moves into a new phase of its COVID-19 response, he explore what happened over the past year and how our work ensured that longitudinal data and research will remain at the forefront of the country’s response to the pandemic, now and in the future... 
Read the full blog here.

See Cross-study data guides here
See Longitudinal Studies: an overview video here

British Library

Blog pages: These blogs express the thoughts and opinions of individual British Library staff members. You can subscribe to any blog by email.

Innovation and enterprise blogs 
For example, A week in the life of Zachary Pulman, founder of Zachary Pulman Design Studio


Zachary Pulman is the founder of award-winning Zachary Pulman Design Studio, fast becoming the go-to design agency for the competitive socialising sector. The team recently took part in Innovating for Growth: Scale-ups. See here for more details.

Administrative Data Research (ADA)

ADR UK works with expert researchers from academic institutions and other research bodies to utilise administrative data and produce valuable insights into UK society. Access to good quality administrative data is extremely valuable for research, facilitating a far more accurate and comprehensive picture of UK society than can be achieved without it. For details see here.

Methods Lab 

Methods Labs is an experimental research collective building a laboratory to stimulate creative sociological debate. Methods Lab website. Methods Lab resources 
Students in Focus

Rosie Harrison, Business & Management, Lancaster University (2019 Cohort)

Method to the madness: the art of writing methodology chapters

Although your methodology chapter is seen as the easiest chapter to write, I have found it really hard to balance what I need to say for my thesis to pass, and what I want /like /find easier to write about. After rewriting this chapter about 20 times and still not being happy with it, I decided to seek out some professional help. The NCRM website is a great source of training sessions, and with the RTG covering most training costs, they are a good way of benefiting from expertise outside your institution. Especially now when provision is mostly online, I have found it a really good way of accessing courses which would otherwise have proved impossible due to the time and travel requirements when needing to travel around the country. Read Rosie's blog here.

Lee Wainwright, Business and Management, University of Liverpool (2019 Cohort)

We are all effectively entrepreneurs trying to pitch our research in the most attractive, easy-to-digest yet interesting enough to want more, kind of way.  And we’re pitching to journals, to co-authors, to internal review panels, to prospective employers, to funding bodies, to anyone who can help further our research and academic ambitions. Having taken a series of PhD employability seminars covering publishing and career development Lee shares here some of the best, most useful, headline-grabbing points.

Recent Events

COP26 and Climate Exp0 Conference: Thoughts and reflections of a critical climate decade


Between the 17th – 21st May 2021 I (and my dog, as pictured!) attended the Climate Exp0 conference, including volunteering as a student rep on the Friday. This was first conference of its kind organised by the COP26 Universities Network and the Italian University Network for Sustainable Development and supported by the UKRI, Cambridge University Press, and the Conference of Italian University Rectors. With the weight of support behind it, this conference presented the latest thinking in issues related to the climate, as part of the official All4Climate Pre-COP26 Programme. Read Eleanor's blog here that will look at what COP26 is and the purpose behind the Climate Exp0 conference, and provide key takeaway points from the conference itself.

Writing & Structuring an Effective Thesis held on 20th May 2021

In my experience as a PhD student, I haven't been given much guidance about what a good thesis should look like. Dr Watt's training addressed that gap in knowledge by providing me with very valuable insight and helpful tips. It was an excellent session, delivered very clearly and comprehensively by going through each part of the thesis, chapter by chapter. I'm much more confident now in my ability to write an effective thesis. I highly recommend this training to be delivered again in the future to help more students. Matina Shafti, Psychology, University of Manchester ( 2019 Cohort)

The Writing thesis training has been enormously helpful. The whole session is very clear and concise with many great examples in terms of some of the details about each chapter. The coherence of the literature review and the basic thesis structure has made a deep impression on me. Dr Watts has insightful highlights on reinforcing the difference between the methodology and method, which is nicely digestible with humour and thoroughly enjoyable. The session has also alleviated so much stress on writing. I will be recommending the training to my friends and colleagues.
Ting Liu, Social Statistics, University of Manchester (2019 Cohort)

I was fortunate to attend the above workshop. On reflection, Dr Watts has an amazing ability to explain complex ideas extremely comprehensively and I would recommend any student to watch out for his workshops. This was extremely helpful, articulate, full of practical tips, delivered with humour by Dr Watts who was generous enough to share some of his wealth of expertise. Thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you.
Kerry Ramsbotham, Socio-legal Studies, Keele University (2020 Cohort)

I just wanted to quickly say how very useful, informative and inspiring I found Simon's session yesterday. It really made clear to me the most effective way to structure a thesis and why it was so, alongside picking up many useful insights from his years examining PhD students. Thank you very much for putting on this session for NWSSDTP students! Abi Lafbery, SSSTM, Lancaster University (2020 Cohort)

I attended the 2nd DTP workshop yesterday, by Dr Simon Watts. I thought I’d give my feedback on both sessions (
What Should a Literature Review Do? held on 13th May 2021). I thoroughly enjoyed learning the content of each and Simon is such a natural in teaching. He has given very good visual examples that made me understand better what a reader/examiner needs to see in both a literature review and a thesis. He also provided lots of material for students which I found to be very helpful examples of the points he was making. I would highly recommend booking him again for future training.
Rosemary Oram, CSPSW, University of Manchester (2017 Cohort)




Snapping out of lockdown: Walking and photography for wellbeing

The winter with its cold and bleak weather was hard amid the lockdown. But now, finally, the weather is becoming brighter, and spring is in the air. Giles Penman discusses his positive experiences of enjoying walking and photography in the sunshine. Read Giles Penman's blog here.

N.B. If you would like to send in a photograph for the newsletter please email it to the NWSSDTP ( )

Student Space

It's as important as ever to look after our mental and physical health. Find out here what you can do to improve your wellbeing.

SWDTP student  Gareth Griffith '“Why Big Boys Don’t Cry” Tedx Talk

See link here Gareth Griffith talking about mental health in a sell-out TEDx event with over 200 attendees at the Bristol’s SU building. The theme was ‘Finding Space’ and Gareth reports he was “equal parts excited and terrified” .

Student Representatives

There is a cohort of NWSSDTP Student Representatives across the institutions of the NWSSDTP. For details of who your reps are and current activity, please visit the NWSSDTP Student Representatives page!

Additional Funding Competitions 

The next deadline for all NWSSDTP Additional Funding Competitions is Friday 4th November 2021 (suggested deadline for trips taking place January - April 2022)

Submit an item

To submit an item to appear in the Newsletter (conference presentations and publications, announcements you want to make public, etc.) please email 
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