Interdisciplinary Research Awards 2018/19

The WRDTP offers 2 x Interdisciplinary Research Awards recognising that many of the most pressing research challenges are interdisciplinary in nature, both within the social sciences, and between the social sciences and other areas of research. The principle aim of this steer is to provide a mechanism by which students can tackle a project that is genuinely interdisciplinary in nature and straddles the social sciences and other research council remits. The proposed research should include substantive interaction between the relevant scientific areas and the studentship should provide training that is not constrained to one scientific approach.

Studentships steered in this area must be 50 per cent social science and no more than two thirds.

Applications must be genuinely interdisciplinary and inclusive; they should not exclude the approaches of either Council and we would not expect any application to have a share ratio greater than 2:1.  These studentships do not have to be co-funded by another Research Council.

Assessment criteria

The application will need to demonstrate:

  • Interdisciplinary project excellence: justifying how the studentship falls across Research Council remits and how this split meets the 50% share ratio. Responses should include reference to accredited interdisciplinary pathways where relevant and also describe how the interdisciplinary split supports the research questions to be addressed.
  • Student excellence: academic success and qualifications, relevant work experience, prizes and awards.
  • Supervisor excellence: the suitability and experience of the supervisory team.
  • Pathway excellence: fit with, and development of, pathway research strategy
  • Training excellence: justify how this training will prepare the student to be able to work effectively across research council and disciplinary boundaries.

The DTP will monitor bi-annually the on-going interdisciplinary training needs of the student to ensure that these continue to be met.

The following are examples of the types of studentships which would be viewed as meeting the steer:

  • The social neuroscience of interpersonal actions and interactions
  • The effects of pesticides on child health: a case study of Huichol Indians
  • Self-monitoring of Blood pressure in Patients with Hypertension and Diabetes: Who self monitors and why
  • Economic values of rift forests – Use in conservation policy development
  • Tools for Trust: Assessing the most effective methods for hazard communication

Supervisory Arrangements

There will be a joint supervisory arrangement for these studentships, with one supervisor from the social sciences and one supervisor with a background in the other relevant scientific area.  If both supervisors are based in the same department one must have a social science background and the other must have a background in the additional discipline.  If either, or both, supervisors consider themselves to be interdisciplinary (i.e. already may have a mix of social and medical science research training and experience) this should be fully explained.

Research Council Remits

Each of the Research Councils publishes information on its website about its current research grants portfolio.  This information can be accessed at:

The joint statement with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) relating to the interfaces between the arts and humanities and the social sciences may also be useful:
· Interfaces between the arts and humanities and the social sciences (PDF, 65Kb)