< Back to News

DTC Matters Issue No13. January 2016

January 29, 2016

banner-yWelcome to the thirteenth edition of the White Rose Social Sciences DTC newsletter; “DTC Matters”.

The White Rose Doctoral Training Centre was launched in November 2011. Read more.

This newsletter is issued quarterly and includes NEWS AND EVENTS, TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES, PATHWAY NEWS, ESRC NEWS and FEEDBACK ON FEEDBACK. If you would like to submit an article for a future edition of DTC Matters or provide feedback on any of the featured articles, go to ‘News’ and click ‘Suggest A Story’ button.


WRDTC Welcome Event, 23 October 2015, Sheffield United Football Club 

2015 welcome bannerThe WRDTC Welcome Event for new PhD researchers in the social sciences at Leeds, Sheffield and York took place on 23 October 2015 at the exciting venue of Sheffield United Football Club, Bramall Lane, Sheffield.

The event was attended by about 300 first-year doctoral researchers, who had the opportunity to listen to the experiences of current WRDTC PhD researchers, and see their work displayed in a poster exhibition.

WRC040Talks by current WRDTC PhD researchers were very well received by the audience. Emma Blakey (Psychology Pathway, University of Sheffield), described her Overseas Institutional Visit to Canada, while Nicholas Roxburgh (Environment & Sustainability Pathway, University of Leeds) talked about his experience of doing fieldwork in  Nepal. Amy Hunter (Health & Wellbeing Pathway, University of Leeds) got involved in the organisation of a WRDTC seminar series, while Joanna Elvy (Planning Pathway, University of Leeds) has been active in attending conferences and making the most of her experience as a PhD researcher. Nur Suhaili Ramli (Management & Business Pathway, University of York) described her experience writing an article based on her research for the media.

Talks by current WRDTC student rep Marianne Hvistendahl Allday and by the editors of York Policy Review also featured in the rich student-led programme.

Besides real life PhD experiences, attendees also heard from Prof Martin Jones, WRDTC Director, from Psychology Pathway leader Dr Richard Rowe, and from Sheffield librarian Maria Mawson, who highlighted the importance of library resources and information skills.

A full report as well as videos and photos from the event are available on the WRDTC website. You can also read how the day developed through some of the tweets from the conference on this Storify.

Audrey Dugué-Nevers was awarded the prize for the best poster on the day.At the end of the event, Audrey Dugué-Nevers (Politics and International Studies – East Asian Studies Pathway, University of Sheffield) received a prize for the best poster of the day, and Lena Kruckenberg (Environment and Sustainability Pathway, University of Leeds) was celebrated as the winner of the WRDTC Best Paper competition which took place earlier in the year.

The next WRDTC event will take place in June 2016 at the University of Leeds – all PhD researchers in the social sciences at Leeds, York and Sheffield will be invited to attend and participate actively.

Changes in ESRC doctoral training

ESRCThe White Rose universities are currently participating in a bid for the next phase of ESRC-funded doctoral training partnerships (DTPs). Changes will take effect from October 2017, and will not affect current students or those starting in 2016. More information will be available from September 2016.

WRDTC PhD researchers in the News

Photo of Neda Nobari NazariESRC-funded collaborative PhD research by Neda Nobari Nazari (Security, Conflict and Justice Pathway, University of Leeds) was discussed in Bradford newspaper ‘Telegraph & Argus’ on 1 December 2015.

The title of Neda’s project is ‘A comparative analysis of the policing and prevention of radicalization and violent extremism in the UK and Denmark’. The project will be developed working in collaboration with the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner in West Yorkshire, and East Jutland Police in Denmark.

Four PhD researchers in the Psychology Pathway at the University of Sheffield (Giulia Poerio, Theresa Veltri, Tom Hostler, and Emma Blakey – Giulia and Emma have now completed their PhDs and hold post-doctoral positions at York and Cardiff respectively) set up a research group to study the phenomenon of ASMR which has received very little scientific attention.

bbcAutonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a sensory experience characterised by pleasant tingling, relaxing sensations that originate in the scalp and may extend throughout the body. ASMR is triggered in some people in response to certain stimuli (e.g. tapping, softly spoken voices, repetitive movements). Despite widespread and growing Internet and media attention, ASMR has not yet been the subject of rigorous scientific enquiry. The group’s research aims to address this gap by providing some of the first scientific evidence for ASMR as a genuine phenomenon in those that experience it. The group has now completed data collection for two studies into ASMR and is now undertaking the exciting process of analysing the data to be written up for publication.

The group’s research has been quoted as part of recent media coverage of ASMR, including an article and video on BBC News, as part of a programme on BBC radio, and on the Guardian.

WasimA blog post by Wasim Ahmed (Science and Technology Studies Pathway, University of Sheffield) on ‘Using Twitter as a Data Source’ in the social sciences, was ranked among the top 5 most viewed all year on the London School of Economics and Political Sciences Impact Blog. Since it was posted in July to early January it had received over 13,488 hits, with and average time of 4:19 on the page. The LSE Impact blog received over 1 million unique page hits in 2015 and the Twitter account has over 28 thousand followers on Twitter.

Wasim has also recently published another post for the LSE titled Amplified messages: How hashtag activism and Twitter diplomacy converged at #ThisIsACoup – and won. This post has attracted the attention of the mainstream media, has been cross posted on Democratic Audit UK, LSE European Politics and Policy, LSE British Politics & Policy, and is now indexed within Google News Search results.

Journal publication for WR DTC PhD researcher

claireCongratulations to Caroline McCalman (Planning Pathway, University of Sheffield), who had a paper published in a high quality peer-reviewed journal:

McCalman, C. and S. Connelly (2015) ‘Destabilizing Environmentalism: Epiphanal Change and the Emergence of Pro-Nuclear Environmentalism’, Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning: 1-18.

Ian MarderRestorative practice conference at the University of Leeds, 6 November 2015 

WRDTC PhD researcher Ian Marder (Socio-legal Studies Pathway, University of Leeds) was involved in the organisation of a one-day conference at the School of Law, University of Leeds, involving researchers and practitioners of restorative justice. You can read more about this event at this link. 


WR DTC Advanced Training Series 

WRDTC logo-high resolutionA number of Advanced Training sessions are taking place over the next few months, and more will be added. Please check back on the Training page of the WRDTC website for any new sessions.

Sessions currently available:

Academic Career Development in Differing International Contexts: Benchmarking for Personal Achievement (two sessions), 11 February and 20 May 2016

Impact 1: Co-Constructing Knowledge and Building Partnerships, 15 February 2016

m5Impact 2: Managing collaboration and dissemination, 22 February 2016

Open Scholarship and Research Data Management, 2 March 2016

Impact 3: Achieving Excellence in Impact, 7 March 2016

Elite Interviewing, 17 March 2016

AQM: Advanced Spatial Analysis, 22-23 March 2015

Doing Interdisciplinary Research (three sessions), 5 April, 10 May and 7 June

Understanding the Impact of Research Perspectives: The Importance of Metatheory, Research Methodology and Reflexivity in Crafting Qualitative Research, 13 April 2016

Doing Fieldwork in Distant or Difficult Locations, 5 May 2015

Other sessions – details coming soon:

Big Data (May-June 2016)

Conversation Analysis Summer School (June 2016)

Realist Methods (July 2016)

Advanced Visual Research Methods (July 2016)

British Library Doctoral Open Days – Social Sciences: 12 February 2016 

British Library Doctoral Open DaysThe British Library Doctoral Open Days are a chance for PhD students who are new to the Library to discover its unique research materials. Each day concentrates on a different aspect of the Library’s collections and most take an inter-disciplinary approach. As well as hearing from expert and friendly staff, students will have the opportunity to meet researchers in all disciplines.

For details of all Open Days and how to book please see the British Library website.

Resonances: A Postgraduate Conference on Qualitative Research, University of Leeds, 11 May 2016

W2WRDTC and WRoCAH PhD researchers are involved in the organisation of Resonances, a postgraduate event focusing on qualitative methods. WRDTC PGRs from all disciplines are invited to attend. Further information can be found on the WRDTC website

Research Group on Participatory Action Research 

Selina KeetonPhD researcher Selina Keeton (Human Geography Pathway, University of Leeds) is looking for participants to form a new group for researchers interested or experienced in participatory action research (PAR) methods. The group will be cross disciplinary and across the academic institutions.

The group aims to meet on a monthly or bi-monthly basis across the White Rose locations to share resources and knowledge, and to discuss any issues that members of the group might be experiencing.  In the future the groups may look to organise events or specialist training in PAR.

If you would like to be a part of a group engaged in this type of research, or to obtain details of the first meeting (30 January 2016, in Leeds) please contact Selina via email at onpargroup@gmail.com

Security Ethics: Theory, Trends and Developments, University of Leeds, 22-23 March 2016 

WRDTC PhD researchers are invited to join this inter-disciplinary workshop, which will bring together leading thinkers from law, philosophy, international relations and the broader social sciences. The event will have a broad scope, encompassing ethical issues at the societal level as well as those of particular technologies and practices. The workshop will explore issues related to the current state of research concerning the surveillance society, radicalisation, the omnipresent threat of terror, and the role played by the state in both countering and promulgating these. At the same time, we will consider developments in smart CCTV, biometrics and the Internet in terms of the impact these have on security issues and society as a whole.

Look here for more details, a programme, and instructions to book a place. 

Internship Report 

By Kerry Montgomery (Psychology Pathway, University of Sheffield)

Kerry recently completed an internship with The Katie Piper Foundation, and reflects on her experience in the report below:

kpfThe WRDTC Company Internship Scheme is designed to give researchers the opportunity to develop research skills whilst providing support to a host organisation to work on specific piece of work. For a small charity the internship was a valuable resource to enable a researcher to work full time on a project. The Katie Piper Foundation has been developing an online peer support forum over the last few years for people living with burns and scars. Following a discussion with the charity services manager the charity thought an internship would be a great opportunity. The internship was an exciting project, to support the charity to launch the first UK online peer support forum for people with burns and scars. My PhD is in the area of visible difference and developing interventions to reduce distress. The internship provided me with a great opportunity to develop my research skills in this area. Read more….

Overseas Institutional Visit at Pennsylvania State University, USA 

By Robert Sharples (Education Pathway, University of Leeds) 

pennlingI spent the past autumn at the Pennsylvania State University as a visiting scholar in the department of Applied Linguistics. The visit was a great opportunity to meet internationally leading researchers and to experience another academic culture, with its own disciplinary boundaries and approaches to the questions I am investigating. I applied to visit Penn State to work with a leading researcher on migration and language (Professor Suresh Canagarajah, who hosted the visit). My own work explores the experiences of young migrants as they arrive in the UK education system, trying to move beyond the assumption that all these young people need is English-language proficiency, to understand how young migrants bring their experiences, assumptions and skills to bear in their own education. Read more….

Overseas Institutional Visit at the Institute of Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra, Australia 

By Fay Farstad (Politics Pathway, University of York)

Fay undertook an Overseas Institutional Visit at the Institute of Governance and Policy Analysis of the University of Canberra. Fay reported to the WR DTC that the aims she had set for her visit abroad were met and surpassed: 

Fay FarstadWorking within a strong hub of climate specialists at IGPA University of Canberra – and also travelling to present my research and interact with experts at the University of Melbourne and the University of Tasmania – benefited my research and future career prospects in several ways. More formally, I had the opportunity to present my research to staff and students. This provided helpful feedback both in terms of my climate change research as well as my case study on Australia. I also had the opportunity to discuss my PhD research one-on-one with esteemed specialists such as John Dryzek, Barbara Norman, Will Steffen, Simon Niemeyer, Jonathan Pickering, Robyn Eckersley, Peter Christoff, Bruce Tranter and Kate Crowley. These conversations not only provided the opportunity for the specialists in my field to get acquainted with my work, but also gave me some much-needed confidence in what I am doing. Read more….

WRDTC Student-led Interdisciplinary Networks 

Tourism Research Network Symposium, University of Sheffield, 19 April 2016 

Empowering the next generation of tourism scholars

Tourism Research NetworkThis Symposium is a gathering of PhD students and Early Career Researchers in tourism, leisure and hospitality which aims to offer opportunities to:

  • Discuss and reflect on future professional development through a series of workshops
  • Present research
  • Meet and network with other PhD students, ECRs and established academics

PhD research students at any stage of their research and Early Career Researchers (max. 5 years post‐PhD) are invited to participate. Read more on the WRDTC website.

The Symposium will take place Tuesday 19th April, 2016 in the Geography and Planning Building, University of Sheffield. Registration is now open through this link.

There is also a blog about the event at https://tournetsymposium2016.wordpress.com/ 


Management and Business, Accounting and Finance and Work Psychology Pathway: Writing for Publication, University of Sheffield, 11 January 2016 

By Caroline KnightGuccione (Management and Business, Accounting and Finance and Work Psychology Pathway, University of Sheffield, and Editor of the White Rose Management and Business Working Paper Series)

Monday 11th January 2016 saw the coming together of approximately 60 PhD students / early career researchers and speakers from the Universities of Leeds, York and Sheffield, to talk about writing and getting published. This event was jointly organised by the Management & Business Pathway Working Paper Series, with which I have been involved for the last two years, and the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre (WRDTC), in response to needs identified through a survey run by the WPS last summer and informal discussions with individuals. Read more… 

Economics Pathway: Fifth White Rose Economics Pathway Conference, University of York, 18 March 2016 

23649The Economics Pathway invites 2nd and 3rd year PhD researchers at the three White Rose universities to submit their abstracts for presentation of papers at their fifth Pathway conference, taking place in York on Friday 18 March 2016.

First-year PhD researchers are invited to submit and present posters, and everybody is very welcome to attend.

The deadline for abstracts and registrations is 19 February 2016. Find more information and contact details on the WRDTC website. 

25588Socio-legal Studies Pathway: WR DTC Socio-Legal and Legal PGR Conference: “Issues in Modern Society”, University of Leeds, 20 April 2016 

The conference is led by WRDTC PhD researchers and will take place at the Liberty Building, University of Leeds. All postgraduate research students from the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York are strongly encouraged to participate. The final programme will be posted online on the conference page on Facebook, and on Twitter. Read more

Planning Pathway: ‘Analysis for Planning’ conference, University of Leeds, 18-19 May 2016 

m2This two-day conference aims to explore the challenges and approaches to analysis in planning and could encompass any research methods. The event is intended to generate discussion and share experiences of emerging analytical approaches. The conference will explore a main theme that focuses upon how analytical methods are being used, changed, innovated and reconfigured within planning research.

Other key questions being considered throughout this conference will be:

  • What methods are being used?
  • Why are they being used?
  • How are they addressing challenges in planning?

The deadline for abstract submission is Friday 12 February 2016. Contact details and guidelines for abstracts can be found on the WRDTC website.


Britain in 2016 now available 

The annual ESRC magazine showcasing ESRC-funded topical research is available to purchase or order online.

New NCRM Explore Site

The Nationancrml Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) has launched the new Explore site, offering new and improved ways to search for research methods content, relevant training sessions and events, and other materials. Read more.

ESRC Media Training 

ESRC-funded PhD researchers can attend one of the Media Training sessions facilitated by the ESRC Press Office. Find out more, including dates and locations, and book a place on the ESRC website.



Are you involved in an event you’d like to advertise to the social science research community at the White Rose University? Are you looking for other PhD researchers with similar research interests? Do you want to share your achievements, or an interesting resource? Do you want to start discussion with PhD researchers in your Pathway?

You can now use the PGR Forum area on the WRDTC website to communicate online with other PhD researchers in the White Rose universities and find useful research connections. 

Coming Soon…

WRDTC Conference, 15 June 2016 – details coming soon!

Please check www.wrdtc.ac.uk to keep up to date with WRDTC news and events.