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NWSSDTP Newsletter 
                                               September 2021  

Please scroll down for upcoming training events, funding opportunities and NWSSDTP student blogs!  
Photo of the Month
           Ronnie Hughes (aka The Constant Gardener), Sociology, University of Liverpool (2018 Cohort)

           If you have a photograph you would like featured please send it to 

Training and Opportunities


HM Government's Open Innovation Team PhD Programme 2022

Deadline: 19th September 2021
Our recruitment round for placements across 2022 is now open. We are inviting PhD students to join our team for three months to help us deliver projects on a wide range of policy areas.
Please see details here.

Is your research being conducted within the correct ethical boundaries?

Date and time: 30th September 2021; 12.00 -17.00
Like all academics, PhD students must successfully negotiate a Research Ethics Committee before engaging in most forms of empirical data collection. The question is, how do you know you are not crossing an ethical line? For example, could you ethically justify the methods you intend to use to achieve your research aims? Are there any sensitive issues? If your methods involve face to face contact, where do you meet? What determines your choices over who participates? What determines theirs? What factors do you need to take into account when anonymising responses? What is your data security plan? Can you explain what your research entails to the non-technical audience evaluating your application? See full details and registration see here.

Methods North West: Exploring issues of positionality in qualitative research

Date and time : 7th October 2021; 14.00-15.00
Qualitative method texts often discuss the importance of understanding positionality as a researcher during research design, yet its importance for participants during data collection is often neglected. Using my experiences of conducting ethnographic fieldwork with paid carers, this seminar will explore how notions of positionality matter for participants and will provide a space for you to reflect on the potential implications for your own research.
Registration details.

Methods North West: Using Graphic Elicitation Data Gathering Methods with Ex-Offenders

Date and time: 21st October 2021; 14.00-15.00

In this talk Lee Wainwright will draw upon his own research into how entrepreneuring in prison helps to change the lived experience under conditions of extreme restriction, to discuss what graphic elicitation methods are, how to use them and how to analyse the qualitative data.

Registration details


Research, Resilience, Resurgence

Dates: 18th & 19th October 2021
Research, Resilience, Resurgence addresses the changes and stages through a research degree. From discovering new research strategies and texts, developing a sense of resilience to the trials of the experience, and a resurgence from the challenges we face through the story. As we emerge from the challenges of 2020, we invite scholars, performers, and creative practitioners to reflect on the three core themes in relation to their own PhD experiences and research subjects.
For further information see 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. 



2021 Research Methods e-Festival
Dates: 25-29th October 2021
NCRM is delighted to bring you the 2021 Research Methods e-Festival in collaboration with methods@manchester. The event will be a celebration of research methods with an interdisciplinary social science flavour. There will be more than 80 sessions run over five days, with more than 130 speakers offering diverse perspectives on the festival’s theme: innovation, adaptation and evolution of the social sciences. The e-festival will be 100 percent web-based and hosted on a dedicated interactive platform, where attendees can join sessions via live video streams, take part in community discussions and network with other guests. Our keynote speakers are Professor Trisha Greenhalgh (University of Oxford), Professor Noshir Contractor (Northwestern University), Dr Ash Watson (University of New South Wales), and Amos Toh (Human Rights Watch). For more information see

Call for Expression of Interest open for Poster competition: 2021 Research Methods e-Festival. See here for full details. Closing date 7th October 2021

Studying Human-Computer Interaction with Video - Online
Dates: 10 - 11 November 2021
Human-computer interaction (HCI) is an ever-more pervasive phenomenon. In fact, avoiding any kind of interaction with digital technologies has become a purposeful and quite challenging act in many modern societies. In this way HCI has the potential for widespread relevance considerably beyond its initial disciplinary origins stemming largely from university computer science and psychology departments. This course will explore one formative strand of interactionism: video-based studies of social interaction with/around digital technologies (e.g., in everyday life), informed by traditions of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis. For more information: To book see here.

See here for recently added training sessions
For a full list of training sessions see here.
NCRM newsletter 


During your doctorate: the middle phase

By now you will have settled into your research and institution, mastered the techniques required to carry it out and formed a social network. There is some time left yet before you start racing through the final research stage and focus on pulling your research into a comprehensive thesis. This can easily be a time when you don’t notice how quickly time is going. Here are some tips on how to successfully and productively use this time. See here for further details.


CLOSER report sheds new light on harmonising longitudinal measures of mental health

This report is designed to help researchers understand the measurement properties and maximise the comparability of existing mental health measures within and across the cohort studies.For further details see here.

For the latest CLOSER Twitter highlights see here.

British Library

If Homes Had Ears

Open your ears, draw back the curtains and peek into domestic life as you may never have heard it before. See here for details.


Top 5 tips for designing and undertaking an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship

Read Wales DTP student Rebecca Windemer's blog on her top 5 tips for designing and undertaking an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship here.

Students in Focus
Joe Pearson, Psychology, Lancaster University (2019 Cohort)


‘Things are swell’, I think to myself, ‘I’m going into the final year of my PhD, I’ve a paper submitted for publication, and I’ve presented work at a couple of conferences. I’ve even tackled an entire set of cross-sectional analyses with what feels like dignity and all I have to do now is extend that longitudinally.’
Things were not swell.   
Read Joe's full blog here.

Peter Duncan, Criminology, Social Policy and Social Work, University of Manchester (2020 Cohort)


Researching the nature, organisation and control of tax abuse in professional football
My PhD research aims to understand how tax abuse in English men’s professional football is organised with a view to informing more effective and efficient control. By ‘tax abuse’ I mean any activity in which financial advantage is achieved by illicitly withholding taxes from the state. Tax abuse may be perpetrated by individual or corporate taxpayers and may come in various forms, including activities which are frequently referred to as ‘tax evasion’, ‘tax avoidance’ or ‘aggressive tax planning’. Tax abuse is therefore only sometimes a crime. At other times tax abuse might only constitute a civil infraction – such as tax avoidance schemes that can be counteracted and sanctioned via the UK’s General Anti-Abuse Rule – whilst others might not represent any formalised wrongdoing despite being socially harmful and morally questionable. Read Peter's blog here.

Richard Smith, Language Based Area Studies, University of Liverpool, (2018 Cohort)


Chile in/en Liverpool: Music & Memories - Música & Memorias
Some readers may be familiar with BBC Radio 4's feature Inheritance Tracks, in which the great and the good talk about music they have inherited, and music they cherish. For example, Liverpool-born Alexei Sayle talked about a Bertolt Brecht song that reminded him of his autodidactic parents and their involvement in the city's left-wing Unity Theatre, and Elvis Costello's Shipbuilding as a supremely political song. This approach is being used by a cross-disciplinary project at the University of Liverpool that aims to explore the power of musical reminiscences to promote well-being. Read Richard's blog here.


The Constant Gardener: Episode One 


So a regular gardening column in the NWSSDTP Newsletter. What's all this about, you're probably asking? Well, let me explain since I'll be writing it each month, for a few anyway to see how we get on. And before I explain, also say that as well as gardening the column is aiming to be about time, observation and reflections on life and its meanings, in case that makes you feel any easier? 
Anyway hello. I'm Ronnie Hughes and I'm just becoming a third-year PhD person in Sociology. Writing “An Ethnography of Utopia” as it's called about the past and future uses of wishing for better lives in better places. Much of which writing, thank you global pandemic, is being written safely and distantly on this Liverpool Allotment. Hence the gardening and this column, for when I need a break from future ideas and concepts and want to get my hands dirty in the soil of transplanting actual things, as well as theories and methodologies. 
Read Ronnie's column here.

Brain Music: Focusing Music, Brain Food and Power

RelaxingRecords are experts in creating study music and concentration music, studying music using binaural beats and alpha waves to improve focus and boost concentration and brainpower. See here for the link to their YouTube channel. (Personally, I used the soundtrack to The Hobbit movie...Joolz)

Recent Events 

Want to release the causal inference genie? Attend the Summer (/Winter) School in Causal Inference with Observational data!

After 18 long months of working from home with only my dog for company, at the beginning of September I was lucky to attend The Alan Turing Institute Summer School in Causal Inference with Observational Data at the University of Leeds. In-person! Now I know some of you may be wary about attending your first events in person (and having to socialise) but hopefully I can put your mind at ease. By attending this course in person, I had the opportunity to meet new people for the first time, and also meet friendly faces that I had only ever seen over Zoom (and what better way to do this than eating different cuisines every night such as Thai, Japanese and Indian). Although going out for dinner used to be the norm – this felt like such a treat and socialising in person really made this experience great. Read Emma Thornton's full blog here..

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!



Laura Clancy, Sociology, Lancaster University, (2015/16 Cohort)
Laura Clancy is a Lecturer in Media at Lancaster University. Running the Family Firm is the monograph adaptation of her PhD thesis, which was funded by the ESRC NWDTC and AHRC NWCDTP.
For details of Laura's book see here.

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)

Read Charis Bridger Staatz's (a PhD Researcher at University College London) blog about her three-month internship with CLOSER’s policy and research teams in early 2021 here.
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