Interdisciplinary doctoral research at Oxford

The two studentships as part of the ‘Childhood Adversity and Lifetime Resilience’ project offer an exciting opportunity for students simultaneously to develop their own independent research interests and to shape a new interdisciplinary and collaborative research project.

Students will be part of either the Faculty of History or the Department of Experimental Psychology. Both departments offer a rich programme of seminars and events. For instance, the history student will have the opportunity to participate in Modern British History seminars, Economic and Social History Seminars, the seminars and colloquia organised by the Centre for the History of Childhood at Magdalen College, and the activities of the Centre for Gender, Identity and Subjectivity in the Faculty of History. The psychology student will be expected to attend relevant journal clubs and seminars both in the Department of Experimental Psychology and across other University Departments (e.g. the Department of Education and the Psychiatry Department). They will also have the opportunity to attend statistics lectures and tutorials as needed.

Both students will, unusually, also be part of The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH). This is a new research centre that hosts a wide range of seminars, lectures and research programmes, so as to stimulate and support research activity that transcends disciplinary and institutional boundaries. A programme of events to develop new ways of working between the sciences and humanities is currently the ‘headline series’ at TORCH. Both doctoral students will be an integral part of this programme, contributing to and developing these events. They will have their own desks in a new shared research space, together with other doctoral and post-doctoral researchers.

This project is designed to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and learning. It is essential that both D.Phil students are interested in the interaction between the sciences, social sciences and humanities, and that they are committed to finding innovative ways to work together across disciplinary boundaries. As well as presenting their research findings in articles and conferences that are specific to their discipline, both students will be encouraged to collaborate so as to write and present their research through articles, presentations and posters in interdisciplinary contexts. Generous funding for research expenses is attached to these studentships, but the supervisors can assist in applying for further travel grants as necessary.

Engagement with the public and with policy is at the heart of this project. The graduate students will play a key role in developing constructive – and mutually beneficial – relationships with policy-makers, the voluntary sector, and others with an interest in this research.

While working with the graduate students on Childhood adversity and lifetime resilience, Dr Lucy Bowes and Dr Siân Pooley will also develop funding applications to extend this research on the impact of adversity in childhood, on child development and parenting, and on longitudinal approaches to understanding people’s lives. The D.Phil. students will have the opportunity to play formative roles in shaping this exciting research.