News Training Opportunities

Innovation Caucus PhD Intern Opportunities

Applications are invited from highly motivated PhD candidates for a three month internship to undertake research to inform the strategy and practice of Innovate UK and ESRC.

The Innovation Caucus is an initiative funded by Innovate UK and the ESRC to support innovation-led growth and promote greater engagement between the social sciences and businesses.

Serving as a gateway to the social sciences, the Innovation Caucus comprises 66 academics working across different disciplines with a focus on innovation. As well as promoting the awareness of and engagement with social science research, the Innovation Caucus is focused on understanding the dynamics of innovation ecosystems.

More information, including details of the internship projects and a person specification, can be found on the ESRC website.

Please note that applications must be received by 12.00 on 1 June 2018.

Research Blog

Visiting the University of California, Davis

Eleanor Palser

Eleanor Palser (PhD, UCL Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology)

I am a fourth and final year multidisciplinary PhD student, studying Clinical Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL. I am interested in how signals from the body are used by the brain to help us think and feel.
There are theories that suggest that these signals are affected by conditions like autism and anxiety, and this might explain some of their symptoms. So far, I have been using behavioural methods to research this. However, I also want to develop skills in neuroimaging methods, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). A combination of both methods might better enable me to answer this question.

As such, I chose to visit an institution that had a strong track record in conducting neuroimaging research with younger populations, particularly with individuals diagnosed with developmental conditions like autism. There isn’t much of this kind of research happening in the UK, so I decided to travel further afield. I spent six months (three of which were funded by the DTP) in Professor Susan M. Rivera’s Neurocognitive Development lab at the UC Davis MIND Institute . There, they specialise in conducting research on the brain basis of developmental disorders, such as autism.

MIND Institute building at University of California, Davis
MIND Institute building at University of California, Davis

Going in the MRI scanner can be challenging – it is noisy, claustrophobic and you have to stay still. I wanted to learn about what procedures can be put in place to help young children, especially those diagnosed with autism, take part in these kinds of experiments. It turns out there are lots of ways to help participants stay calm, including familiarisation training in a pretend scanner.

While at UC Davis, I worked on a project investigating brain and behavioural differences in how gesture is used and understood by autistic children and adolescents. We found out that gestures are processed differently in the brains of autistic people, and they sometimes struggle to produce the hand posture necessary for others to understand their gestures. This may explain some of difficulties autistic and non-autistic people face when communicating with each other.

I am immensely grateful that I had the opportunity to travel to another institution during my PhD. It is hoped that I learnt will help me bridge the gap between my two disciplines, and conduct more powerful research in my population of interest.

Research Blog

Researching the EU referendum through web archive and ephemera collections – British Library PhD Placement

Alexandra Bulat

Alexandra Bulat (PhD, UCL School of Slavonic & East European Studies)
A call for applications circulated through the UCL ESRC mailing list in February. The British Library invited research students to develop their skills outside academia through placements. As my PhD focuses on attitudes towards EU migrants in the UK, I was intrigued by a three-month placement researching the EU referendum. I filled in the written application form, was invited to an interview, and found out I was selected in March.

During the summer, I explored two collections while in the British Library offices –  the UK Web Archive’s EU referendum special collection and the LSE Brexit Collection. I also worked with the EU referendum collection at the University of Cambridge Library. I used those three collections to see how immigration was presented in the 2016 EU referendum campaign.

The placement outputs include two blog posts, one for the British Library, and the other for the LSE Brexit Blog. I organised a roundtable at the British Library with curators from different EU referendum collections, research development staff, and academics, to discuss how can researchers make best use of library collections. I also delivered a report on my user experience with the web archive.

Alexandra presenting at the roundtable event, British Library
Alexandra presenting at the roundtable event, British Library

This autumn I will talk about this summer’s placement results to different audiences at the British Library, at academic events, and during the Bloomsbury Festival at Conway Hall. An academic article situating this research project into the emerging literature on Brexit, and providing detail on the findings, will also be available in due course.

As a qualitative researcher mainly working with interviews and observations, I would have never thought that I would explore political campaign leaflets and archived websites in such detail. My placement with the British Library helped not only to inform my doctoral research, but also to develop my transferable skills, in particular presenting to and writing for non-academic audiences, which are essential for public engagement.


Runner-up prize for DTP student

Karitiana Man by Raffaela Fryer-Moreira, entry for the Research Images as Art/Art Images as Research: 2017/18 competition
Karitiana Man by Raffaella Fryer-Moreira

DTP student Raffaela Fryer-Moreira (UCL Anthropology) has won a £200 prize for her photograph, ‘Karitiana Man’, in the Research Images as Art / Art Images as Research competition for 2017/18, run by the UCL Doctoral School.

The competition, which takes place every year, was open to all UCL graduate students, and academic staff, either science or arts based. Entrants were invited to submit images associated with their research which have aesthetic appeal.

The first prize went to David Griffiths for his image, ‘Ardara River Swirl’. A gallery of the winners and honorable mentions can be found on UCL News Flickr.


Down to Present – 3 May 2018

Students in the UBEL Doctoral Training Partnership have launched their own student-run seminar series, Down to Present (‘D2P’).

The first seminar will be held at 6.00pm on 3 May at Clarke Hall in the Institute of Education. Details are available from the new D2P’ website:

We plan to make this a monthly event, happening on the first Thursday of the month. We will keep you up to date about the details of each event via e-mail and on the D2P website.

D2P is a space where you can present your work in progress, discuss your current doubts, socialise a conference paper you’re working on or anything else – all within a supportive, interdisciplinary, collegiate environment.

Three speakers will give 10-15-minute presentations followed by a short Q&A session. We’ll then head over to the aul’ Marquis Cornwallis for a couple of pints.

Your Friendly D2P organisers – Max, Kit, Peter & Jane