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NWSSDTP Newsletter 
                                              December 2021  

Please scroll down for upcoming training events, funding opportunities and NWSSDTP student blogs!  
               Season's Greetings from the NWSSDTP team

Photo of the Month

                             Matt Hanley, Development and Humanitarianism in an Unequal World, Lancaster University, (2019 Cohort)         

Training and Opportunities

Methods North West: Methods Sessions

Following on from the successful series of online methods sessions in 2020-21, Methods North West is offering another series of methodological sessions during 2021/22, once again delivered by experts in their fields. New sessions are still being added, so do keep checking back! For full details of upcoming sessions and how to register see here

16th December; Using the Freedom of Information Act to Gather Data; 14.00-15.00
10th February; Diverse economies: anticapitalocentric, hopeful reading for better worlds;14.00 -15.00
17th February;  Metaphors of menopause and how to analyse them; 14.00 - 15.00

Interdisciplinary Research toolkit 

In case this is of interest, we would like to pass on information on a multi-media toolkit that is an output from the Shaping Interdisciplinary Practices in Europe (SHAPE-ID) project.
This has been developed with the aim to improve pathways to inter- and transdisciplinary research both within the Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) disciplines but also across AHSS and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and with societal partners.
The toolkit contains resources including case studies, downloadable discussion guides, “top ten tips” and signposting to extensive third party information about how to conduct successful interdisciplinary research which is tailored for different user groups – researchers, research institutions, research funders and societal partners.


Methods Matter Podcast series 
The Methods Matter Podcast, from Dementia Researcher and the National Centre for Research Methods, aims to given an introduction to a number of different research methods for those who are either unfamiliar with them and/or want to know about ways to use them in their research. Please circulate the link to any students or ECRs who may be interested in this.   

NCRM: Guide on in-situ methodologies in a Covid-impacted uncertain world 

NCRM has published a new guide on in-situ methodologies and how they can be adapted for research conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The publication, titled The NCRM wayfinder guide to in-situ methodologies in a Covid-impacted uncertain world, was produced as part of the Changing Research Practices project.he guide was written by Dr Martine Shareck of the Université de Sherbrooke, Dr Stephanie Alexander of the Fondation d'Entreprise MGEN pour la Santé Publique and Nicole Glenn of PolicyWise.The authors present a set of reflective questions to guide adaptation of in-situ methodologies for research conducted during the pandemic and beyond. They also provide a working example of how they have adapted go-along interviews in practice. For full details see here.

See here for Research methods training courses and events

Methods November Newsletter


Exploring PhD Internship Motivations and Experiences

Supporting early career researchers (ECRs) has always been a key strategic objective here at Zinc. It is in this spirit that we are proud to be launching a PhD internship programme in April 2022. To inform the delivery of this (in collaboration with ASPECT) we are reaching out to early career researchers to learn more about their motivations to conduct internships and their experiences of having done so. If you are looking for a unique internship opportunity applications are open on a rolling basis for our April cohort, you can find out more here or apply here

If you would like to take part in our research, there are two ways to get involved: 
1) If you have completed an internship during your PhD. We would like to invite you to attend a group conversation to reflect on your internship experiences. To register your interest please email These will be informal discussions hosted by the Zinc team on Zoom.
2) For those who are currently enrolled in post-graduate study but have not conducted an internship. We would like to invite you to fill out this quick survey about your career aspirations and internship motivations.
If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch with either Ella Moonan-Howard ( or Rachel Middlemass (


Institute for Fiscal Studies: Enrichment Placements


Any student at a UK DTP may be eligible to apply for these ESRC-funded placements, which can last for between 6 months and a year. The funds are additional to any other funding the student receives, allowing them to spend the time at IFS, developing their skills and building networks. Students are placed in the research team most closely associated with their own interests and are encouraged to take part in the intellectual life of the Institute. For full details see here 

Find an inquiry


Includes other committee work such as pre-appointment and non-inquiry hearings, and legislative scrutiny. See website here.


Pen to Paper Thursday


The idea with the Pen to Paper Thursday sessions is to carve out a designated space for us all (at all levels) to get "stuff" (of all sorts) done in the digital community. There is no obligation for participants to stay for the whole session/ join each session. People are free to use the sessions in a way that works best for them. These sessions are designed for people to develop an accountable writing practice and to "reclaim" time for us to work on the things we'd like to focus on together. 

Each Pen to Paper Thursday looks like this: 

  • 09:30am - 12.30pm BST (incl breaks).
  • 5 X 25-minute writing sessions.
  • Google Meet (cameras and mics off until break time).
  • A short goal-setting exercise (for personal accountability, non-pressured/ no testing.


Future participants should email: to be added to the weekly Google Invitation. 

British Library: Doctoral Open Days: Now open for bookings

What is the British Library? What’s in the collection? And how can I find what I need? Join us for a series of webinars to learn how to kick off your research.  Our online Doctoral Open Days will be followed by two on site orientation days at the Library in St Pancras.

Pick up the basics with our introductory webinar, and then choose from a range of modules, each introducing an area of our collection so you can focus on what will be relevant to you.

All online sessions take place on Wednesday afternoons between 12 January and 2 March 2022.  You will then be invited to join us onsite  on 4 or 7 March 2022, and more information will be circulated in February.

All events in the series are free, and you can join as many as you like. In fact, we recommend you do because you never know what you might find. Please book in advance, as places are limited.

For full details see here.


Registrations are now open for the 2022 CLOSER conference: 18th January (online)

Following the success of its 2018 and 2020 editions, CLOSER is hosting a third collaborative conference to share best practice and tackle mutual challenges faced by the longitudinal studies community.
With the world still dealing with COVID-19 and its far-reaching impacts, ‘Preparing for the future III: tackling key challenges facing longitudinal population studies in a post-COVID world’ (18-20 January 2022) will focus on the value and shape of longitudinal studies in the wake of the pandemic.
Find out more and register

Latest closer news 

UK Data Service 

Browse their database by theme or type (Ageing, COVID-19, crime, economics education, environment and energy, ethnicity, food, health housing, information and communication, labour, politics or poverty).
Search the UK Data Service catalogue here 
Tour of the UK Data Service new website 

Students in Focus
Naiara Unzurrunzaga, Language Based Area Studies, University of Liverpool (2020 Cohort)


As I started my MRes programme last October, I was interested in exploring how existing Intercultural Education programmes for indigenous and other minoritized populations in Latin America, specifically in Brazil, were acting as a resistance strategy and a potential tool for decolonisation. As a former teacher myself, frustrated with my own experience on how, in my view, education systems are hugely reproducing social oppressive relations, I was interested to see how alternative initiatives of education may be addressing and challenging such logics. This was a continuation of a short project I had undertaken in the past before being offered a 1+3 NWSSDTP funding opportunity. Read Naiara's full blog here.

Ting Liu, Social Statistics, University of Manchester (2019 Cohort)


In mid-November, I attended a writing training session “Writing from a reader’s perspective”, which was an interactive workshop examining ideas of academic style. Although writing is seen as the usual routine for a third-year PhD researcher, doing that well is not like a familiar job with ease especially for people like me whose main language is not English. I have been doing research on the UK’s climate change attitudes and green lifestyle based in the department of social statistics at the University of Manchester for three years, but I still found it hard to balance what I want to the reader know and what the reader want to know. Telling a good story is not only a business of establishing authority as a writer, but also getting into an interactive relationship with your readers. What the whole session made a deep impression on me was that the writer may want to dance with the reader.
 Read Ting's full blog here.


Student Representatives

For details of who your reps are and current activity, please visit the NWSSDTP Student Representatives page!              

Recent Events

Managing challenging interviews – Online training - SRA


Daisy Harvey, Health & Wellbeing, Lancaster University (2020 Cohort)
I recently attended a one-day training course (held over two mornings) for managing challenging interviews, which was advertised through the Social Research Association (SRA).  I’m a second-year PhD researcher based in the department of health research at Lancaster University, and my PhD is looking at how people living with bipolar disorder talk about risk-taking. The SRA provide regular practical training which covers qualitative and quantitative methods as well as other research methods and techniques. The courses that the SRA provide begin at £220, although if you are a member of the SRA the courses are £165 and student membership costs £25 for a year.  The course that I attended was delivered by Jane Kerr who is a senior researcher at the NatCen social research organisation. Read Daisy's full blog here.

Feedback from Danielle White: Roadmap to Work session: DTP Week
  • It was really useful to have the space to really think about career options, and to be given the tools and prompts to do this more efficiently and proactively. This is the second time I have been able to do the session but it wasn't repetitive as Danielle and Rachel really tailor it the specific needs of the group, so it is really relevant for everybody regardless of their PhD stage. 
  • Really helpful. I was able to identify multiple difference sources of useful data. I think there has been too much push to only listen to information from supervisors. Finding new and different opinions will help me to develop a career suitable for me. I don't know if I would have realised this without attending the session. Thank you.
  • It was great connecting with people going through a similar path, and the guiding tips from the presenters were especially useful for reflecting and thinking about ways forward when it comes to a career path
  • Great. Really useful 2 hours. Hadn't thought much about post-PhD life, so this was timely as I enter the final straight of the PhD.
  • Really useful session - very interesting to deconstruct our past experiences and things we enjoy in order to apply that to seeking out new career options. I would recommend the session to my peers!
  • Great, it was useful for formulating the process of intentionally planning and thinking about future roadmaps. The pace and delivery was gentle and informative.

Academia 101: How to Become a Reviewer: Developing Reviewing Skills

Reviewing for a journal is a skill sought after by academic employees so should be a major tool in any academic's toolkit. The University of Liverpool's How to Become a Reviewer session, run by Professor Dilani Jayawarna, is an incredibly rich and detailed training resource for all early-career academics on how to be a reviewer.   Prof. Jayawarna covered all the basics, like explaining the star system in journals (the higher the number, the better the journal) before setting out the benefits of reviewing to an early-career academic: get to know the journal; enhance your visibility within your chosen field; develop your own writing by reading and learning from more experienced scholars; identifying strengths and flaws in others' arguments can help develop your own research and writing; and the potential to be invited to join the journal's board. The session went on to discuss what journal editors can expect from you as well as what you can expect from the journal, before presenting a detailed guide to the actual process of reviewing. If you couldn't make the session on the 7th, I would strongly advise all early-career scholars to contact Prof. Jayawarna to get hold of the invaluable slides. Matt Hanley, Development and Humanitarianism in an Unequal World, Lancaster University (2019 Cohort)


The Constant Gardener: Episode Four Advent Sunday 2021

How I love this place


We’re tipping over into December now and my PhD writing has become the kind of obsession that woke me up early today, at 5 am on a nonworking Sunday and sent me downstairs to write three hours of entirely unexpected additions to some already unexpected writing that had happened yesterday, a Saturday, when I got home from an afternoon’s Liverpool walking. Today's writing is a rough first draft of what feels very much like some conclusions I might be beginning to draw for the end section of the whole thesis. Not due, not really, for the best part of another year yet. So what I've written today will definitely be debated and probably changed by that time. But it’s nevertheless a huge comfort and encouragement to see it turning up this early at all. These early hints of the new knowledge I’ve undertaken to try and find through my work. Read Ronnie's full blog here.

Additional Funding Competitions 

The next deadline for all NWSSDTP Additional Funding Competitions is Friday 4th February 2022 (suggested deadline for activity taking place May-August 2022)

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