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  WALES ESRC DTP PHD 'COLLABORATIVE' STUDENTSHIP - School of Social Sciences: What works: Understanding structural versus individual interpretations of inequalities data

   Cardiff School of Social Sciences

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  Dr Katy Greenland, Dr M Pomati  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Cardiff University School of Social Sciences, supported by the ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership for Wales (Wales DTP), invites applications for PhD study. These ‘collaborative studentships’ involve liaison with a non-academic organisation, often at many key stages of the research programme. They will commence in October 2020. 

External Collaborator: Equality and Human Rights Commission

What does discrimination (e.g., racism, sexism, ableism) look like? Do we know it when we see it? Evidence from quantitative data finds that groups who share certain protected characteristics experience different outcomes in health, employment, education etc. Different people can interpret this data in different ways i.e., as indicating structural inequalities (caused by multiple and complex factors including institutional practices, the direct or indirect impact of policy decisions, historical and cultural factors) and/ or as indicating individual differences (in ability, motivation, or life choices). The proposed research will combine quantitative and qualitative methods to explore (a) the ways in which people make sense of quantitative data on structural inequalities; (b) how people may interpret data in ways that are contrary to the expectations of the researchers; and (c) how data can be framed to encourage people to acknowledge, discuss, and address structural inequalities. The successful applicant will work alongside the Equality and Human Rights Commission evidence team for the equivalent of three months a year. They will work alongside policy and operational staff, and wider networks of stakeholders. They will develop the professional skills that are common to both government and research roles. 

Applications are invited from exceptional candidates with a first class or strong upper second class honours degree, or appropriate Master’s degree. Both the University and the ESRC Wales DTP value diversity and equality at all levels and we encourage applications from all sections of the community, irrespective of age, disability, sex, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation. In line with our commitment to supporting and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion, and to increase recruitment of currently underrepresented groups, applications from Black British, Asian British, minority ethnicity British and mixed-race British candidates are particularly encouraged and welcomed. We welcome applications for both full and part-time study, and studentships are available as either ‘1+3’ (i.e. one full time year of research training Masters followed by three years of full-time Doctoral study, or the part-time equivalent), or ‘+3’ (i.e. three years of full-time doctoral study or its part-time equivalent), depending on the needs of the applicant.

Applications welcomed by 24 May 2021 (1200 hours).

Applicants should take careful consideration of the working title and description of the project and may wish to contact the named member of staff for a discussion prior to applying.


ESRC studentships are highly competitive, candidates should have an excellent academic background in the social sciences, holding a 1st or strong upper 2nd class degree; applications from those also holding a relevant research training Masters degree (or an equivalent background in research training) will be considered for a +3 award. Wales DTP studentships are available to both home and international (including EU and EEA) students. All applicants will be eligible for a full award consisting of a maintenance stipend and payment of tuition fees at the UK research organisation rate. Applicants must satisfy studentship eligibility requirements. For further details see the UKRI web site. Successful international student applicants will receive a fully-funded Wales DTP studentship and will not be charged the fees difference between the UK and international rate.

1+3 OR +3?

Awards are available on a 1+3 or +3 basis. 1+3 studentships provides funding for four years (or part-time equivalent), completing a research training Masters in the 1st year, followed by 3 years research funding for a PhD. +3 studentships provides funding for the 3 years PhD research study only (or part-time equivalent).


Short-listed applicants will be invited to interview, expected to take place between 14 June and 18 June 2021. After interview, the shortlisted applicant's details will be forwarded to a Panel convened by the ESRC Wales DTP Management Group at which final decisions regarding studentship awards will be made. Applicants can expect to hear during July 2021.

Computer Science (8) Sociology (32)

Funding Notes

Studentship Awards commence in October 2021 and will cover your tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant (currently £15,285 p.a. for 2020/21 for full-time students, updated each year); and includes access to an additional Research Training Support Grant (RTSG), though an element of this latter fund may be ‘pooled’ and require separate applications from 2021 onwards. There are other opportunities and benefits available to studentship holders, including an overseas fieldwork allowance (if applicable), internship opportunities, overseas institutional visits and other small grants.


Submission deadline: 12 noon on 24 May 2021. Complete an online application form, by using the ‘Apply’ box on the following School of Social Sciences PhD programme web page and select the options ‘Doctor of Philosophy’, ‘Part-Time’ or ‘Full-Time’ and ‘1 October 2021’ as the start date: In the funding section, please select “I will be applying for a scholarship/grant” and “ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Partnership”. Incomplete applications received after the deadline will not be accepted.
1. Covering Letter: Please address to Dr Dawn Mannay. The covering letter must name the collaborative studentship being applied for. It must set out your reasons and motivation for applying to study at Cardiff University, and the Pathway; your understanding, and expectations of doctoral study; and your academic interests generally, and particularly how these relate to the description of the project supplied. The covering letter should be no more than two pages. Please also specify whether you wish to apply on a +3 or 1+3 basis.
2. Academic / Professional Qualifications Where appropriate, this should also include proof of English Language Competency (7.0 IELTS minimum).
3. References Two Academic References. Candidates must approach referees themselves and include references with their application.
4. Curriculum Vitae. It should be no longer than two pages.
5. Research Proposal. For collaborative studentships, the proposal should build directly on the outline description that has been supplied. The proposal should be up to a maximum of 1000 words, not including bibliographic references. We suggest that you use the following five headings in your research proposal:
• Your reflections on the title, aims and purpose of the research;
• An overview of some key research literature relevant to the study;
• Your proposals for developing the design and methods of the study;
• A description of potential outcomes of the project for understanding, knowledge, policy and practice (as appropriate to the topic);
• Bibliographic references
This program is available in English only. To request information in Welsh, please contact the Postgraduate Recruitment Team (

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