Collaboration and Impact

Collaboration is at the heart of the SWDTP. We facilitate lasting and meaningful ties between researchers and organisations (big or small); we share best-practice initiatives between five universities and we support student-led programmes including the South West Research COOP, The Open Review Journal and the SWDTP Conference Committee.

Click here to read more about some of the fantastic collaborative initiatives that have been conceived by our students.

What is Collaboration?

Collaboration changes its meaning according to context and partner; from the research perspective it can mean working with a wide variety of organisations and individuals from private, public and civic sectors. Forms of collaboration may vary from an entirely co-organised and co-produced project, to a workshop, design of a specific data-gathering exercise, participation in a policy review, conference, placement or internship.

What is Impact?

The ESRC defines research impact as ‘the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy’. This can involve academic impact, economic and societal impact or both .

Our collaboration and impact work currently has these main priority areas:

The SWDTP Placement Scheme offers you the opportunity to get work experience of up to six months in a relevant partner organisation. This can benefit your research as well as helping to enhance your CV and future employment prospects.  All SWDTP-funded doctoral students are eligible to take part. It is not usually possible to arrange a placement during an MRes year.

Find out more on the Student Placements page

The SWDTP has ring-fenced funding for collaborative activities proposed and developed by our student communities. Funding of up to £5000 can be secured for a conference, event, workshop, network or other kind of activity. Such activities must involve external (non-academic) organisations and partners relevant to the research or discipline and involve students across different SWDTP pathways and institutions.

Find out more on the Student-Led Collaboration Funding Page

The Impact Fund provides students with the opportunity to engage in impact and knowledge-exchange projects with non-academic partners. The scheme aims to allow students to bring their research to a wider audience and new user groups.

Students can apply for up to £1000 to support impact projects which arise, sometimes unexpectedly, from PhD research. This fund looks to highlight the importance of the impact of Social Science research.

Find out more on the Impact Fund page

This fund is designed to support students in setting-up networking and research events. ESRC-funded students can apply for anywhere between £50 and £1,000 to support research events, cohort development and mixed social activities. These activities can be extended to the wider doctoral research community and you can apply individually, or in collaboration with your fellow students.

Find out more on the Cohort Building Fund page

Information for Partner Organisations

Are you an organisation looking to form a collaboration with the SWDTP? Whether you’re a multi-national corporation; a small-scale charity or a new start-up, if you have research-needs, we’d love to hear from you!

Our students are keen to undertake social-science-based research placements and we can support this in a number of ways. To find out more about becoming a partner organisation, you can click on this link, or email our Collaboration Facilitator, Molly Conisbee, to start forming a connection.

Found out more on the our Information for Partner Organisations page

Collaboration and Impact that SWDTP Students have Undertaken:

Our students have been in collaboration with or have impacted many different partners, including:

Young Feminism Team

Rosie Walters collaborated with Oxfam among others in her event ‘ Young Feminisms‘ using the SWDTP Impact Fund

Welsh Government Logo

We’ve had 7 students on placement with the Welsh Government!

Lydia Medland and Maria Pinto Ocampo

Lydia Medland and Maria-Teresa Pinto collaborated with FabRiders to design and deliver a workshop at the University of Bristol .


And loads more through the Student-Run Research COOP!

Dr Abi Dymond Impact Interview

Dr Abi Dymond was an ESRC funded PhD student from 2013 to 2016.  Abi’s PhD research drew on elements from criminology, sociology and law, used quantitative and qualitative techniques, from binary logistic regression to actor-network theory, to examine the controversies around tasers and less lethal weapons in the UK.
Abi won the ESRC Impact Prize for Outstanding Early Career Impact in 2018 and is now a Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology at the University of Exeter.
Have a look at the video below with Abi detailing the impact of her research.


GW4 Benefits for Students at Bath, Bristol and Exeter

If you choose to do your PhD at the universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff or Exeter, you will be part of a globally competitive research network: the GW4 Alliance.

GW4 offers a variety of benefits to postgraduate research students registered at any of its four institutions, including access to a collaborative research network, expert training opportunities and shared resources.

Found out more on the GW4 website.

Have you undertaken collaboration or impact?

If you’re an SWDTP student and you’ve undertaken a collaborative project during your studentship that you haven’t told us about, then please get in touch! We love to hear about everything that our students get up to! Please email Eloise Ames ( with any updates