ESRC Summer Research Experience Placements pilot scheme

The ESRC wants to encourage and support students from diverse backgrounds to move into postgraduate training and careers in research.

We are therefore piloting a Summer Research Experience Placements Scheme for undergraduates from underrepresented groups to experience postgraduate research in the social sciences. DTPs will tailor their opportunities to address areas of underrepresentation that reflect their specific diversity profile.

We will be funding 8 placements over the next two years (during the Summer in 2022 and 2023) to give undergraduates a first-hand opportunity to undertake a research project supported by researchers and receive information on graduate study.

Our intention is that everyone who takes part will gain benefits in terms of confidence, skills and experience that will enhance both their CV and any future postgraduate applications.

2022 Competition


Funding will be made available through the WRDTP for our partner universities to host the placements. Research experience placement students will be made an employee of the host organisation and receive a salary for the duration of the placement. They must be paid at least the national living wage.

Placements will be between 6-8 weeks in duration.

The call for applications will open in Spring 2022, and students will apply to the WRDTP directly. Please see the Application process section below for more details on the timeline and procedure to follow.


  • These awards are open solely to Black British students (Black or Black British African, Black or Black British Caribbean, Black or Black British other or Mixed Black or Black British). Applicants will self-identify and sign a disclaimer to the effect that the information they provide is correct.
  • The student must be in the penultimate year of their undergraduate studies.

Students don’t have to apply for a project at their home institution – any student from any of the WRDTP partner universities can apply to any of the projects on offer. Working locations will be discussed at the offer-making stage of the process if a student is shortlisted.

However, you must belong to a WRDTP/ESRC-accredited department or school at your university. If you want to check if your department/school is eligible, please check this list.

Research projects must:

  • have a clearly defined objective
  • be within the remit of ESRC and within an accredited WRDTP pathway and department
  • be suitable for a student to feasibly complete within the timescale of the award
  • not be part of their normal degree course or take place outside of the UK
  • give scope for thought and initiative on the part of the student and should not use the student as a general assistant

Application Process

The call for applications will open in Spring 2022, and students will apply to the WRDTP directly.

We are running a two stage process:

Stage 1 – Submission of projects by potential academic supervisors

Requires all potential academic supervisors to submit potential projects for the scheme, using the WRDTP submission form. A guidance document is available here.

Please note that responses to this form will be collected automatically so you do not need to email us a copy of your submission.

The deadline is 5pm, 18 March 2022.

Following the deadline for submissions, a selection panel will assess all projects and confirm the allocation of funding.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their project proposal submission as soon as possible.

Successful supervisors will then be informed of the process for recruiting placement students and asked to provide further information if needed, to help with advertising the placements to students.

Finalised projects will be advertised to eligible students by the WRDTP and WRDTP link administrators at our partner universities. 

Stage 2Student placement applications

Students applying for an ESRC Summer Research Experience Placement will be required to complete an application form. A application preview document is available here so you can see the information required for the form in advance of submitting your application.

Please note: You will need to complete the Google Application Form in one sitting – you cannot save your progress and return later to complete.

The application process for placement students will open in the week commencing 11 April 2022. The deadline for students to apply is 12pm, Friday 13 May 2022.

We require a number of supporting documents to be submitted alongside your application form:

You will need to upload a copy of your University transcript(s) containing the grades/marks you have received so far for your undergraduate degree.

Downloads or screenshots from student self-service online systems are permitted, but must clearly show: your name; the name of the awarding institution; details of your course; and a breakdown of grades.

When preparing your document, please save it with the following filename: SURNAME, First name, Transcript.

Your CV should include:

    • the schools you have attended
    • your GCSE and A-level results
    • your undergraduate results so far
    • any prizes or awards for your academic work at school or at university
    • any work experience (of any kind) that you have had
    • any extra curriculum activity or experience you feel is relevant to your application

When preparing your document, please save it with the following filename: SURNAME, First name, CV.

Your academic referee should be a member of university academic staff (eg a tutor, advisor or professor) who can comment on your academic ability, the quality of your work, your potential for further study, and your suitability for the ESRC/WRDTP Summer Research Experience Placement programme.

Next steps:

Once you have completed the Google Application Form, a PDF containing a copy of your answers will automatically be sent to you by email. (If you don’t receive a PDF copy, you may have entered your email address incorrectly. Please email to request it is passed on to you).

When you have received the PDF, please then send an email to with the Subject ‘ESRC Summer Research Experience Placement – Student Application’, attaching the following files:

  • The PDF copy of your application form submission
  • Your current transcript(s)
  • Your current Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • An academic reference

Application emails (with all necessary attachments) must be received by the application deadline of 12pm, Friday 13 May 2022 in order to be considered. Form submissions alone (i.e. without sending an email with the 4 required attachments) will not be deemed eligible.

After the application process closes, a selection panel will assess all candidates and confirm the successful placement students.

Students will be notified of the outcome of their application during the week commencing Monday 30 May 2022.

Confirmed Summer 2022 Placement Projects

Project Project keywords University Academic lead Dates for project
Promoting risk reduction and living well with dementia amongst African Caribbean communities in the UK. Dementia, Health promotion, Communities, African and Caribbean families, Public Health University of Bradford Dr Sahdia Parveen Starting Monday 13 June 2022
Matters of race, space and place Anti-racism, decolonial praxis, Narrative Inquiry, Critical Race Theory Manchester Metropolitan University Dr Josie Gabi Wednesday 15 June – Monday 15 August 2022
How can we generate a genuinely just transition in Small Island Developing States? SIDS, Climate Change, Caribbean, Pacific, Just Transitions University of Sheffield Dr Matthew Bishop To be confirmed: mid July – end of August
Listening to Brixton London, Brixton, history, heritage, gentrification University of York Dr Gareth Millington Monday 6 June 2022 – Friday 29 July 2022

As a reminder:

  • Students don’t have to apply for a project at their home institution; any student from any of the WRDTP partner universities can apply to any of the projects on offer. Working locations will be discussed at the offer-making stage of the process if a student is shortlisted.
  • Placement students will be paid at least the national living wage for the duration of their placement.

Further details on the projects for the 2022 ESRC/WRDTP Summer Research Experience Placement scheme can be found below:


The number of people living with dementia from African Caribbean backgrounds is going to increase seven-fold compared to a two fold increase in the white British community. This is because of the higher prevalence of risk factors such as diabetes and heart disease within African Caribbean communities. Despite the rapid increase of the number of African Caribbean families affected by dementia, very little is being done to prevent or reduce the risk of dementia. This project aims to work with African Caribbean communities to establish the community’s knowledge of dementia risk and how we can support families to reduce the risk in a culturally sensitive way. The project will involve conducting an online survey and community-based workshops. This project is suited to those individuals who want to make a real world impact and improve the lives of families affected or at risk of dementia. You will have the opportunity to work with a range of experts and develop your own leadership and academic skills.


The following criteria is essential for this project:

• An interest in dementia care/health care.
• Positive person centred attitude to people living with dementia
• An openness to learn about diverse communities
• Excellent communication skills (written and verbal)
• Ability to establish good working relationships with study participants and colleagues
• Ability to use IT packages such as Word, Excel, emails, Microsoft Teams, Zoom

The following criteria is desirable for this project:

• Ability to organise own workload and deliver to deadlines
• Knowledge of surveys
• Experience of using data analysis software such as SPSS
• Experience of using social media to engage with the public about health care
• Experience of working with community groups


If you have any questions about this project, please contact the project lead and academic supervisor:

Dr Sahdia Parveen



Are you inspired by how trainee teachers prepare for working in a range of schools with diverse groups of children? Would you like the opportunity to work with exciting youth organisations? Then we’re looking for someone like you to co-produce a project with us, delving into these ideas and much more!

We’re recruiting a student-researcher to explore how Black, Asian and minoritised trainee teachers narrate their experiences of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) at Man Met, with a particular focus on curriculum, pedagogies and placement practices. We want to understand how to better incorporate marginalised students’ living knowledges, as a process of decolonial thought and anti-racist praxis in ITE programmes. By ‘praxis’ we mean a way of bringing theory and practice together to drive change within education.

The student-researcher will be based in the Education department of the Faculty of Health and Education at Man Met and work closely with Dr Josie Gabi throughout the 8-week placement. This research placement will be accredited by the University’s Rise programme ( ensuring you gain new skills, experiences and knowledge, extra recognition and 30 credits towards your degree. You will have access to an online self-study package with information about the theoretical and methodological approach the project will take and the methods of inquiry the research could use. We are mindful that you will come with lots of ideas yourself, so although we have some initial plans, the 8-week placement is about developing a co-produced research project with you.


The candidate will have:
– knowledge of, and interest in anti-racist and decolonial practice in education (E)
– some awareness of Critical Race Theory (D)
– initial education or training in social science research (E)
– commitment to co-produced research in education (D)
– familiarity with social media platforms (D)
– competence setting up meetings on Microsoft Teams (D)
– some understanding of data management and GDPR (D)
– good keyboard skills (E)
– interest in developing deeper knowledge of, and skills in education research (E)
– good team working skills (E)
– interest in academic writing for publication (E)
– able to articulate the qualities they have that they think are needed in this field (E)
– free for a full block of 8-weeks (E)
– availability to travel to the Faculty of Health and Education’s Brooks Building at Manchester Met on occasions (D)

(E) = Essential skill for this project

(D) = Desirable skill for this project


If you have any questions about this project, please contact the project lead and academic supervisor:

Dr Josie Gabi



Small Island Developing States (SIDS) bear little responsibility for accelerating climate change, yet are likely to suffer its consequences more quickly and painfully than any other group of countries. Some are literally at risk of drowning, becoming wiped off the earth as ‘states’. Transitioning away from carbon-intensive industries in ways that are socially and ecologically equitable is an urgent global priority. But generating a so-called ‘Just Transition’ is anything but straightforward in SIDS.

The existing literature focuses on large, developed nations, alleviating injustices caused by climate mitigation (reducing emissions), and decarbonisation of extractive sectors. However, islands cannot mitigate because they are energy-dependent, make negligible contributions to global emissions, have little to decarbonise, and desperately require help with adaptation (adjusting to the imposed harm of climate change). So, how can we rethink the notion of a Just Transition to better serve the policy needs of SIDS?

You will be working with an interdisciplinary team of experts at the newly launched Resilient and Sustainable Islands Initiative (RESI) at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in London to answer this question. You will have the opportunity to develop literature reviews, write your own contribution to the debate, liaise with real-world policymakers from around the world in helping to organise a policy-focused event that presents the project’s findings.


The main things we are looking for from a potential candidate is enthusiasm, intellectual open-mindedness, a passion for small islands and the regions in which they are located, a willingness to be a thoughtful part of a team that is searching for policy solutions to the distinctive challenges faced by SIDS, and an ability to search for, read and distil academic literature on Just Transitions. These are all essential criteria, but they do not exclude any student, from any discipline: we are a consciously interdisciplinary group and value everyone’s distinctive disciplinary knowledge and expertise, and are very open-minded regarding the profile of a student that ultimately works with us.

In terms of desirable criteria, we would like to see a broad degree of familiarity with climate change debates, some knowledge of the special problems facing SIDS (even if just derived from initial reading around the topic), and a clear motivation for why you want to work on the subject and how it might fit your wider interests and longer-term plans. However, we do not expect you to have significant expertise on Just Transitions debates, or specific SIDS policy agendas, at this stage, only a genuine desire to learn more and a nascent passion for the subject.

We can guide you to reading that brings you up to speed: an enthusiastic, diligent and collegial disposition, which convincingly demonstrates your capacity to do that reading, apply it and engage with the team collaboratively, is far more important than anything else.


This is an extremely exciting opportunity. RESI will launch formally around Easter, and is likely to become an important policy think tank and repository for SIDS analysis in the coming years. If the placement goes well, not only will it be hugely valuable in terms of your employability, but it may well lead to other longer-term opportunities and collaborations with us, as well as helping you to develop your own policy networks. You will not only work with me on the Just Transitions project, but a number of other experienced academics and policy experts from the UK, Caribbean and Pacific, and we will treat you as a full member of our non-hierarchical, collegial, collaborative team, offering you as much opportunity as possible to lead discussions and agendas, and exposing you to our other workstreams and wider expert community. We are also particularly keen to find students who wish to work on SIDS issues in future, and will be very happy to support collaborative PhD funding applications with the successful candidate, as well as connect them to our wider network of SIDS policy actors and organisations (and, therefore, potentially internship and job opportunities).

If you have any questions about this project, please contact the project lead and academic supervisor:

Dr Matthew Bishop


If DR Matthew Bishop is unavailable at any point, Professor Jack Corbett will be happy to advise (


This project is part of a larger Leverhulme-funded project titled ‘Archiving the Inner City: Race and the Politics of Urban Memory’, which analyses the many ways that the times and spaces of the twentieth-century ‘inner city’ are being remembered and made legible in the present.

This five-year mixed methods study is based in Brixton, London; Château Rouge, Paris; and the ‘Seventh Ward’, Philadelphia. In this smaller project (connected primarily to the London research), you will:

(1) Work alongside our research assistant to write three short articles (approx 500 words) based upon existing interviews with public figures in Brixton. These articles will be published on the project website ( and possibly The Voice (Britain’s only black national newspaper);

(2) Work alongside our research assistant and a professional sound engineer in organising, interviewing, recording and producing three 20-minute podcasts that will also be available on the project website.



  • Organisational and time-management skills
  • Written and verbal communication
  • Keen interest (though not necessarily prior study) in topics including, urban sociology, urban geography, Black British history, race and racism, memory studies, heritage studies


  • Knowledge of qualitative research methods
  • Experience of audio recording


If you have any questions about this project, please contact the project lead and academic supervisor:

Dr Gareth Millington



Starting a placement

Following the matching of students to placement projects, colleagues at our partner universities will help to confirm the student’s eligibility to work and arrange payment for the placement.

Once the placement is complete, the student and academic project supervisor will be required to complete a brief report on the outcome of the placement.

Key Dates

Date Process
1 3 March 2022 WRDTP to invite project proposal submissions from potential academic supervisors
2 18 March 2022 Deadline for academic supervisors to submit project proposals to the WRDTP
3 21-29 March 2022 Assessment of project proposal submissions by WRDTP Academic Quality Committee
4 To be confirmed WRDTP to confirm the successful projects with all potential academic supervisors
5 Week commencing 11 April 2022 WRDTP to list the available projects and invite student applications
6 12pm, Friday 13 May 2022 Deadline for potential placement students to submit their application to the WRDTP
7 week commencing Monday 30 May 2022 WRDTP to notify all students of the outcome of their placement application

For all enquiries please email