CDTs in the round

THE (Times Higher Education) - - LETTERS -

The news story “So­cial science doc­toral train­ing cen­tres not work­ing, says re­port” (26 Novem­ber) fo­cuses on claims that cen­tres for doc­toral train­ing (as they are called now)are in­ef­fec­tive and un­sus­tain­able.

The ar­ti­cle should have high­lighted that CDTs have both good points and bad points.

In their favour, they bring stu­dents to­gether as a co­hort, which makes them feel less iso­lated and al­lows them to learn from each other.

The cen­tres can cul­ti­vate in­put from and ties with ex­ter­nal part­ners such as char­i­ties, in­dus­try and gov­ern­ment. And they can be used to force change on is­sues such as di­ver­sity.

As for points against, only a hand­ful of big uni­ver­si­ties get many CDTs. Most (even in the Rus­sell Group) will get one or two.

How­ever, uni­ver­si­ties are di­verse places, and forc­ing all aca­demics who want to take on PhD stu­dents to do re­search into, say, “age­ing” or “big data” could po­ten­tially be de­struc­tive to the breadth and di­ver­sity of the re­search ef­fort. This ef­fect is clearly greater on uni­ver­si­ties lower down the food chain, which re­ceive fewer or no CDTs but which may have im­por­tant pock­ets of re­search ex­cel­lence. Pa­trick De­ge­naar

Via timeshigh­ere­d­u­ca­

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