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Closing date: 1 February 2019
This scholarship is funded by the ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Partnership, Oxford University Press and Grange Junior School.
Swansea University, supported by the ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership for Wales (Wales DTP), invites applications for funded PhD study, available to start in October 2019. The following collaborative studentship is available in the Linguistics pathway of the Wales DTP:
‘Defining and measuring the vocabulary gap in school-age speakers of English’ (working title) in collaboration with Oxford University Press and Grange Junior School.
Research suggests that vocabulary deficits in the language of young children play a significant role in limiting their education success. Research in Oxford also suggests this problem is getting worse (see report available at oxford.ly/wordgap), but our understanding of the subject is limited by an issue of linguistics. We have little good data on the vocabulary growth of these young learners and little, therefore, by way of real-world evidence or well-founded language learning theory to guide any intervention that might hope to address this problem. Children in Wales struggle particularly in achieving educational success and therefore we have particular motivation in understanding and attempting to address this problem.
This project will answer the following research questions:
Method and Timescale
Both strands of research will allow the identification of the number of words, and which words, that form this vocabulary deficiency in learners who perform poorly in educational assessments. This will lead to well-researched materials to bolster and ameliorate the vocabulary knowledge of lexically disadvantaged children.
The research will add significantly to the linguistic and theoretical underpinning of the Word Gap hypothesis and explanations for educational underachievement. It will provide the educational community with normative figures for vocabulary growth in the school years; an explanation of which words are learned, a theory of learning and the link with low performing learners; and an empirically-based assessment of whether the vocabulary knowledge of children is diminishing over time.
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. Swansea University values diversity and equality at all levels and encourages applications from all sections of the community.
Research is at the core of Swansea University’s vision. We aim to foster research excellence across a broad range of subject areas, with internationally leading research staff informing all our teaching. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions, showed that Swansea is now a top 30 research university, soaring up the leagues table to 26th in the UK from 52nd position in 2008.
This studentship is a ‘collaborative’ award. Applicants should take careful consideration of the working title and description of the project, and may wish to contact the named supervisor and / or the Swansea pathway contact for a discussion prior to applying. They are:
Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. You must:
• be ordinarily resident in the UK, meaning there are no restrictions on how long you can stay, and
• have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for at least three years prior to the start of the studentship grant. This means you must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences), and
• not have been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK nationals and EU nationals who were ordinarily resident in the EU immediately before the period of full-time education).
Due to funding restrictions, these scholarships are not open to international candidates.
ESRC studentships are highly competitive. Candidates should have an excellent background in the social sciences or in a relevant area such as psychology, computer science (with a demonstrable focus on HCI) or Design, and also hold a 1st or upper 2nd class degree. Applications from those also holding a relevant research training Master's degree (or an equivalent background in research training) will be considered for a ‘+3’ award.
Full-time ESRC studentship award holders cannot hold either a full-time job, or a permanent part-time job, during the period of their award. Part-time ESRC studentship award holders cannot hold a full-time job.
Ideally, the successful candidate will have some background in the study of vocabulary knowledge and testing.
You will be required to apply for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Clearance check, and the result of this check will be required prior to enrolment. For more information please see our website here: https://www.swansea.ac.uk/admissions/criminal-record-guidance/dbs-application-guidance/
EU Candidates: You are required to provide us with a Police Check prior to enrolment. In many countries this document is called “A Certificate of No Criminal Conviction”, “ A Certificate of Good Conduct” or “A Police Clearance Certificate”. For more information please see our website here: https://www.swansea.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply/after-application/#EDBS
The studentship provides the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend. There will be additional funds available for research expenses.
Studentship awards commence in October 2019 and will cover your tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant (currently £14,777 per annum for 2018/19 for full-time students, updated each year) and includes access to an additional Research Training Support Grant (RTSG). There are other opportunities and benefits available to studentship holders, including an overseas fieldwork allowance (if applicable), internship opportunities, oversea institutional visits and other small grants.
A ‘1+3’ studentship provides funding for four years (or part-time equivalent), completing a research training Masters in the 1st year, followed by 3 years research funding for a PhD. A ‘+3’ studentship provides funding for the three years PhD research study only (or part-time equivalent).
The application must contain the following documents and be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org:
Please note that incomplete applications or applications received after the specified time will not be accepted.
The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Friday 1 February 2019.
Short-listed applicants will be invited to interview; interviews are expected to take place in March 2019. After interview, a final shortlist of applicants will be put forward to a Panel convened by the ESRC Wales DTP Management Group at which final decisions with regard to studentship awards will be made. In most cases, successful applicants can expect to hear by mid-April 2019.
Informal enquiries about these studentships are welcome, and should be directed to Professor Nuria Lorenzo-Dus (email@example.com).