Three students talking on sofas


South-East Doctoral Training Arc for the Social Sciences

About SEDarc

The University of Kent is partnered with Royal Holloway University of London (Doctoral Training Partnership lead institution), University of Reading, University of Surrey, University of Sussex and Kingston University to make up the South-East Doctoral Training Arc (SEDarc). SEDarc is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

SEDarc will develop world-class social science researchers from all backgrounds who thrive in challenge-led, collaborative and interdisciplinary contexts. Kent is proud to be one of the six partner research-intensive institutions supporting future leaders of social science in academia, public services and industry

About the studentship

NOW CLOSED FOR 2024 APPLICATIONS -  if you wish to be considered for a SEDarc scholarship, please apply for the 2025 competition. The application process for 2025 will re-open in October 2024.   

SEDarc are offering fully-funded 3.5 year PhD studentships and a limited number of 1 year Masters + 3.5 year PhD studentships. Each awarded student will benefit from a broad range of research skills training across the lifetime of their PhD. It also offers opportunities to use research in practice through a placement in academia, public sector, or industry. Placement travel expenses of up to £1,000 is available to all. Research skills training and research in practice (not including the placement) will comprise approximately 200 study hours per year.  

Research projects will be developed around five interdisciplinary social science themed challenges

  • Living sustainably 
  • Healthy thriving communities 
  • Inclusive economic growth 
  • Secure, effective and trusted institutions 
  • Transformative technologies for society 

Each partner institution can nominate up to 18 candidates for consideration. Only nominated candidates will be able to access the SEDarc application. Due to the nature of the PhD, students who have already started their PhD will not be eligible. If you have already been accepted at Kent but deferred your place, please contact your supervisor and the School Director of Graduate Studies.  

PhD Training Programme

SEDarc offers a standard 3.5 year PhD. If required, a candidate can apply for a + 1 year Masters if no previous social science Masters degree has been obtained. 

The individual research project is estimated to take 2.75 years. The remaining time will be made up of 200 hours per year of digital, data skills and advanced method training. Each student will also have the opportunity to undertake a 3-month placement in academia, public, private sector or industry. 

The Placement 

Total duration of the placement is 3 months (if full-time), and can be spread out to a
longer duration for part-time and flexible arrangements. Placements partners can be from public, private, or academic sectors. Students are encouraged to source their own placement so that it best serves their career goals.

The Training 

It is expected that PGR students graduating from SEDarc universities must be able to
demonstrate, through relevant training, practical experience and/or submission of their
thesis, that they possess the following knowledge, skills and attributes:

  • Conceptual skills
    • principles of research design and strategy, research methods, data generation, analytical approaches, ethical practice, Open Science principles and practices.  
  • General research skills
  • project management, data management and analysis, ethical and legal issues, digital and bibliography skills, language skills, research impact, Intellectual Proport Rights (IPR). 
  • Specialist skills
    • subject/field knowledge, specialist qualitative and quantitative skills. 

The Thesis 

The PhD thesis is the product that demonstrates competencies acquired from the general and specialist skills training. The PhD thesis must include: 

  • A section on project management
  • A data management plan
  • A chapter on knowledge exchange, perhaps reflecting learning from the placement (e.g policy report, industry solution, accessible science communication)
  • Reflections in appropriate chapters as to how the training journey influenced the
  • Archiving of study materials, data, and reproducible analysis code (as
    appropriate) on the Open Science Framework.