The ESRC Wales DTC has been awarded around £35k in response to its bid to enhance the research training environment through international PhD partnering. Three partnerships have been set up, based on the Language Based Area Studies, Linguistics and Psychology pathways. In each case, the money supports a collaborative arrangement that is designed to be a fundamental part of the Doctoral programme. In LBAS, a Cardiff student and supervisor will work closely with people in the Central European University based in Budapest on issues of European integration; in Linguistics, the link is with Delhi University and the research focuses on linguistic variation in English in an Indian context. In Psychology, the link is three-cornered, bringing together Doctoral students and supervisors in Cardiff, Karnatak (India) and Paraiba (Brazil) so that their research on values, emotion and action has an important dimension of cross-cultural comparison.
The four institutions comprising the ESRC Wales DTC have many established international links and these are an important element of the environment in which doctoral research training takes place. However, the PhD Partnering Scheme, with its emphasis on broadening the range of international partners, provides a most welcome opportunity to develop and expand this aspect.
The partnership between the Language Based Area Studies pathway and our partners in the Central European University (CEU), based in Budapest, Hungary, builds on collaborative research links we have had since 2004. The CEU is the most prestigious institution of higher education in east and central Europe, and has a distinctive cross- east-central European profile. It has state-of-the-art facilities, a large and thriving PhD programme, and has enjoyed substantial investment from the Soros Foundation. There is a very good fit between research groups in the two institutions, and shared intellectual interests and expertise is notable in the areas of European political economy, social policy, processes of differentiated European integration, democratisation, citizenship, decentralisation and party politics. The partnership is distinctive because it will provide a thematic basis for studentships in the next few years.
The second partnership is between the Linguistics pathway, located in Cardiff University’s Centre for Language and Communication Research, and the Linguistics Department in Delhi University. Delhi is one of the largest and most prestigious universities in India. Its Linguistics Department was established in 1963 and has thriving doctoral and Masters level programmes (currently with 20 Phd, 38 MPhil and 13 Research Fellows). Both institutions have strong scholarly reputations in key areas of linguistics and sociolinguistics. The partnership seeks to capitalise on complementary research strengths and crucial joint interests, but it is also a way to make the most of a particular opportunity to pursue a research direction that promises to be worthwhile and highly productive.
The third partnership will link the Psychology pathway (Cardiff) simultaneously with two international partners, located in India and Brazil. The two international partners are (a) the Department of Psychology at Karnatak University in India, and (b) the Department of Psychology at the Federal University of Paraíba, Brazil. The former was founded in 1972 and offers research training covering diverse topics, including counselling psychology, health psychology, psychopathology and organizational behaviour. It has a track record of successful PhD completions and has been recognized with the ‘Potential for Excellence’ by the Indian University Grants Commission. The latter institution was founded in 1955, and its Department of Psychology has supported a Graduate Program in Social Psychology since 1973, with dozens of former Masters and Doctoral graduates now working in universities in Brazil and abroad. The laboratories in both universities host numerous postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers, and are well equipped with relevant hardware and statistical software.
As well as the ‘direct’ student beneficiaries, all three partnerships will enrich the research training environment for other DTC-funded students in Wales and in the respective partner institutions.