Collaboration and Placements Overview

The Grand Union ESRC DTP strongly encourages collaborations between our PhD students, early career researchers and a variety of external organisations ranging from businesses to government and NGOs. The ESRC is committed to supporting innovation and mobilising social science evidence to address significant social and economic challenges. One avenue of pursuing this goal is through funding engagement opportunities for its scholars such as PhD placements.  


What can I do in my PhD placement?

A major aspect of engagement with external organisations is generating mutual benefit between the host organisation and the researcher, and ultimately enhancing the quality or impact of research. Depending on the purpose of engagement, the type of activities can vary:

  • Work on a challenge together with industry stakeholders
  • Inform policy makers on a particular topic
  • Contribute to the development of a program or service
  • Disseminate research findings and test research ideas
  • Access rich real-world datasets, and provide feedback to the organisation on findings

What is in it for me?

A placement project will allow you to start building your network and gain valuable transferable skills. Leadership, communication and collaboration skills are essential for researchers of the future in and outside academia. You can also learn about a field from the inside and test a potential career path, enhancing your resume.


Do I need to think about impact?

Most global challenges the world faces today involve a social sciences aspect, from healthy aging, to economic productivity and sustainable development goals. Funding bodies place an increasing emphasis on the impact aspect of research proposals, including for post-doctoral positions. Significant impact can rarely be achieved in isolation and this is why a placement can allow you to establish the building blocks of potential future research collaborations. You can use your placement as a starting point to inform and inspire organisations outside academia.