Middlesex University is a proud member of the SENSS, the South and East Network for Social Sciences. The network has just been accredited as a Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) by the Economic & Social Research Council, which means that MDX is among those universities whose students are eligible for government-funded PhD studentships in social sciences.
SENSS is built on three commitments, each of which also underpins the wider mission of Middlesex.
The first is to genuinely interdisciplinary research. SENSS is structured by themes, not disciplines, and our choice of six interdisciplinary themes – for example, Sustainability & Climate Emergency, Digital Social Sciences, and Health, Well-Being & Social Care – is such that every SENSS-funded researcher will be working in one of UK Research & Innovation’s priority areas.
The second is to equality, diversity and inclusivity. Building on partners’ strong records in widening participation, SENSS aspires to be the DTP of choice for those from underrepresented backgrounds, such as BAME applicants or those with significant caring responsibilities.
"The new partnerships link doctoral students to the highest quality research environments in the UK and involve a major step change in terms of focus, ambition and inclusion. We are part of making these ambitions a reality and we urge students who are considering undertaking a doctorate that addresses one of the core themes to reach out to us." Professor Kevin McDonald, Middlesex University
The third is to be at the heart of our communities: local, regional, national, and international – and their attempts to solve the hardest problems facing society today. This civic character is reflected in our universities’ strong links with industry, government, and the voluntary sector, and our pledge to offer all SENSS-funded researchers an external placement.
Commenting on the news, Professor of Sociology, Kevin McDonald said:
"Middlesex is proud to be a member of this partnership. A major focus is to meet the challenge of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. To do so, access to the PhD is being reshaped to ensure that under-represented groups can access doctoral training, and that the culture of doctoral research in the UK reflects the richness and diversity of the society as a whole. The new partnerships link doctoral students to the highest quality research environments in the UK and involve a major step change in terms of focus, ambition, and inclusion. We are part of making these ambitions a reality and we urge students who are considering undertaking a doctorate that addresses one of the core themes to reach out to us."
SENSS brings Middlesex together with seven other partners: City University, Cranfield University, the University of East Anglia, the University of Essex, Goldsmiths, University of London, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Roehampton. The first cohort of SENSS-funded students will begin their research in October 2024. Anyone looking to apply for a studentship or just to find out more about this exciting new network should go to the SENSS website at http://senss.ac.uk.
Stian Westlake, ESRC Executive Chair, said:
“Our vision for postgraduate training is that it will develop globally competitive social science researchers who can operate in interdisciplinary, collaborative, and challenge-led environments across a range of sectors and who have a diversity of backgrounds and experiences.
“This redesigned and expanded doctoral training opportunity will enhance the experience for PhD students and boost the UK’s capability.”
Students interested in finding out more should contact MDX.