Cardiff University Economic and Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Studentship: Global Language-Based Area Studies

Cardiff University’s School of Modern Languages and Department of Politics and International Relations, supported by the ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership for Wales (Wales DTP), invite applications for funded PhD study. These particular studentships, known as ‘collaborative studentships’, involve liaison with a non-academic organisation. They will commence in October 2017.

Within the Global Languages-Based Area Studies Pathway, the following studentship is available:

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Routes into Languages Cymru as an Intervention for Supporting Modern Languages in Schools in Wales (2008-16). Supervisors: Professor Claire Gorrara (Modern Languages) and Professor Roger Scully (Politics and International Relations)

This PhD investigates the effectiveness of Routes into Languages Cymru, a collaborative outreach project that supports modern languages in Welsh schools. In existence since 2008, the Routes Cymru network is currently funded by a consortium of 5 Welsh universities, 2 of Wales’s 4 education consortia, the British Council Wales and the European Commission Wales. The project would provide the first in-depth evaluation of the network’s activities over its eight-year existence and their effectiveness in supporting pupil choices and attainment, as well as in shaping public policy. The PhD will focus on the following research questions:

  1. How have Routes Cymru’s activities impacted on schools and pupils? Which of their activities have had the greatest relevance across the project’s life cycle?
  2. What has been the role of Routes Cymru in influencing attitudes to modern languages in Wales? Where and how can these benefits be measured and assessed?
  3. To what extent has devolved educational policy provided opportunities for Routes Cymru’s engagement? Where and how has the Routes Cymru project fed effectively into policy decisions?
  4. How does Routes Cymru compare to other interventions at an international level and what can this research tell us about sustainable interventions for modern languages in a post-EU referendum landscape?

This studentship incorporates an internship with the British Council as our collaborative partner organisation.

The Global Languages-Based Area Studies pathway provides an excellent training environment, as evidenced by the fact that Modern Languages was ranked 7th and Politics 13th in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. In this setting, students have access to world-class supervision (first and second supervisors) and to vibrant research environments with seminar series involving Modern Languages and Politics staff via the ‘Conflict, Development and Disaster’ cluster in Modern Languages (which works closely with Politics and with colleagues in Swansea) and the International Studies research unit (also in Politics with participation from languages):

The distinctiveness of this setting can be discerned in two ways. The first relates to the capacity of Modern Languages directly or indirectly to deliver language training in a bespoke or pooled fashion across a wide range of languages from Europe and beyond (e.g. Spanish, Catalan, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese). The second concerns the links that Modern Languages and Politics/IR have to leading politicians (e.g. the Honorary Distinguished Professors include former First Minister Rhodri Morgan) as well as to non-academic organisations in Europe, Asia, Latin America, including the OECD, European Central Bank, European Commission, Musée du Général Leclerc de Hauteclocque, the Welsh government, the Wales Africa Hub, the BBC and the Imperial War Museum.

Applications are invited from exceptional candidates with a first class or strong upper second class honours degree, or appropriate Master’s degree. Both the University and the ESRC wales DTP value diversity and equality at all levels and we encourage applications from all sections of the community. We welcome applications for both full and part-time study, and studentships are available as either ‘1+3’ (i.e. one full time year of research training Masters followed by three years of full-time Doctoral study, or the part-time equivalent), or ‘+3’ (i.e. three years of full-time doctoral study or its part-time equivalent), depending on the needs of the applicant).

For academic queries on ‘Evaluating the Effectiveness of Routes into Languages Cymru’, please contact Professor Gorrara (

For general queries about the scheme, please email Professor Gordon Cumming ( For any administrative questions, please email or phone Alex Ford (; 02920 870824).

Applications welcomed by 1 February 2017 (12 noon).