Department of Social & Policy Sciences

Peer support network set up to help defence researchers

Wed May 24 16:23:00 BST 2017

The Defence Research Network is a new group connecting PhD students and early career researchers studying defence, security or the Armed Forces in relation to policy, strategy, culture and society.

Hannah west speaks with attendees of the Humanities & Social Sciences postgraduate research showcase 2017

Hannah West at the Humanities & Social Sciences postgraduate research showcase 2017

The group grew out of a meeting of like minds at an appropriately-named South West Doctoral Training Centre (SWDTC) student conference, 'Building bridges in research'. Meeting fellow researchers at the event, SPS PhD student, Hannah West, recognised a need for collaboration amongst those working in this area of research. She said, "The network enables us to share similar experiences, methodologies and best practice. Due to the nature of our research, we often experience similar challenges in terms of access and security sensitivities so can support each other through the required procedures such as ethics."

The Network is primarily an online forum for researchers based throughout the UK, but aims to hold regional and national events as group membership increases. It held an inaugural informal seminar and networking event on Thursday 11 May at the University of Bristol, attracting 25 participants from 10 institutions. The event was funded by SWDTC, through its support for student-led collaboration. SWDTC brings together the universities of Bath, Bristol and Exeter to combine social sciences research excellence across the three institutions. Attending the event, Richard Fisher from Cranfield University commented, "The breadth of defence research being conducted is outstanding and there's so many opportunities for people to share and test ideas, co-operate and help forge relationships for the rest of their academic careers."

After a career in the military, Hannah West is studying a PhD with the Department of Social and Policy Sciences titled (Wo)man of war: a genealogy of women as counterinsurgents. Hannah chairs the Network and is joined on the committee by POLIS PhD student, Tomos Evans. For more information about the Network, contact Hannah or Tomos on or via Twitter @DefenceResNet.