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A “highly impressive” environment for postgraduate study

05 August 2009

Students sat in front of Cardiff University main buildingCardiff University’s "both extensive and impressive" research environment has been praised in the latest Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Training and Development Board visit.

The ESRC undertakes quality assurance and enhancement visits to institutions with a record of success in gaining research studentships.

The visiting Panel found that the University provides its research students with an extensive range of opportunities to engage with high quality interdisciplinary research. Panel members were "highly impressed" by the premium support and training offered across the social sciences at Cardiff University and by supervisors’ considerable commitment to students’ development.

The University’s Research and Graduate School was commended for the key role it has played in co-ordinating and enhancing support to graduate students in the social sciences, including the delivery of the MSc/Diploma in Social Science Research Methods. The Research and Graduate School spans seven academic Schools - Business and Management, City and Regional Planning, Psychology, Social Sciences, Law, European Studies and Nursing - that have a long history of cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Students in the Business School trading roomStudents in the Trading Room at Cardiff Business School

The Panel members were greatly impressed by the Research Students’ Skills Development Programme noting that it provides "a rich resource of training opportunities" including training in advanced research skills. They also singled out the work of the research centres seeing them as "beacons of quality" in interdisciplinary research and training.

Professor Jonathan Osmond, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students said: "A key feature of Cardiff’s teaching provision is its relation to research. Our postgraduate students are very much part of the research culture at Cardiff and our Research and Graduate School in the social sciences has done much to develop this."

The Graduate Centre’s role as the South West and Wales regional host for both Vitae, a national organisation supporting the development of doctoral researchers, and Researchers in Residence, a scheme which places postgraduate researchers in schools to help youngsters learn about the latest research, was commended for facilitating the sharing of Cardiff’s considerable expertise in this area with both a regional and national audience.

Cardiff was awarded a total of 27 new ESRC studentships for 2008/09 - including competition studentships - which ranks Cardiff 6th in the list of institutions in receipt of new awards. Cardiff performs particularly well in the Open Competition - in 2008/09 it was ranked joint third, with Oxford and Manchester, in terms of the number of new competition awards.

Professor Keith Whitfield, Director of the Research and Graduate School in the Social Sciences, said: "We are delighted that the ESRC visit highlighted the strong interdisciplinary postgraduate provision that allows our students to develop excellent research and transferable skills."

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