The Division of Human and Social Sciences Hybrid Research Away-Day

Our Divisional Research Away Day was a great way to learn and connect with all the dynamic research centres within the four schools.

The Schools of Politics and International Relations, Anthropology and Conservation, Psychology and Economics met to discuss their many dynamic research groups, with a view to potential interdisciplinary collaboration.

The Division of Human and Social Sciences is not quite a year old. This inaugural research ‘away-day’, focused on research throughout the Division, and aimed to broaden our understanding of currently conducted research, future ambitions of research activity in HSS, and how our individual scholarship connects or could connect to each other in the future. It was clear that there was already considerable synergy.

The hybrid event began with a welcome and reflections on the last year and a look at the year ahead by Head of Division, David Wilkinson, with Heather Ferguson and Alexandra Leduc-Pagel who organised the day. Conscious of promoting the interdisciplinary possibilities, each Research Centre Director briefly introduced their centre, its ambitions, innovations and potential links across the Division.

  1. Dimitrios Theodossopoulos opened with the Centre for Ethnographic Research (CER)
  2. Neo Loizides presented the Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC)
  3. Rajindra Puri introduced the Centre for Biocultural Diversity (CBCD)
  4. Jane Wood summarised the Centre of Research & Education in Forensic Psychology (CoreFP)
  5. Zaki Wahhaj and Irma Clots-Figueras introduced the Development Economics Research Centre at Kent (DeReCK)
  6. Jim Groombridge, on behalf of Director Bob Smith, presented the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE)
  7. Tom Casier presented from Brussels on behalf of the Global Europe Centre (GEC)
  8. Harmonie Toros did the honours for the Institute of Cyber Security for Society (iCSS)
  9. Joseph Tzanopoulos introduced the Interdisciplinary Centre for Spatial Studies (KISS)
  10. Miguel Leon-Ledesma presented the Macroeconomics, Growth and History Centre (MaGHiC)
  11. Matt Skinner familiarised us with the Skeletal Biology Research Centre (SBRC)
  12. Sophia Davidova spoke of the successes and challenges at the Centre for European Agri-environmental Studies (CEAS)
  13. Ben Seyd acquainted us with the Comparative Politics Group (CPG)

It was evident that many research centres are already engaged in interdisciplinary collaborations across the University, as well as far-reaching impact with alumni networks, think tanks, professional and advocacy bodies internationally. These research collaborations have been a very successful ‘magnet’ for attracting students to our courses, both undergraduate and postgraduate, with impact on outreach and civic relevance locally, bridging the gap between academia and mainstream media.

These presentations were followed by group discussions around research areas that are building momentum within HSS to discuss potential collaborations and new research centres around the following questions:

  • How might the research centre’s identity change in the Division; what opportunities are there to broaden its scope?
  • How might the methodological approach of research in this centre benefit others?
  • How can the research centre further enhance its (internal and external) visibility, and distinctiveness?
  • How does/could connecting across research areas in the Division benefit our scholarship activities?

A Technical Showcase led by Jason Marshall and the technical team presented the technology facilities and expertise that we now have access to as part of HSS to impact and support all this dynamic research and teaching.

Rob Fish and Kelda McCabe gave an overview of the HSS ‘People Strategy’ discussing key themes and emerging evidence from the recent survey on workplace culture, governance and decision making, career development and training, and work-life balance, which couldn’t be more timely, due to the disruption and mitigation required as a response to the pandemic and our gradual return to campus. 

The day concluded with an in-person meet up on campus in K-bar – a recognition of how so many collaborations and research advancement has manifested from informal discussion.

Let the collaborations begin!