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The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme

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Choose a Research Project

There are two routes of entry to become a Laidlaw scholar: proposing your own summer research project or choosing a project from the list.

Students who do not wish to propose their own project will need to choose a project from the list below.  When you have chosen which project you wish to apply for, make sure you read it thoroughly and think about the issues involved.

Remember that you MUST demonstrate how you meet the Key Criteria listed on your application form. This is an essential part of your application. 

You must also ensure that an academic reference is supplied on behalf of your application.

A drop in session will take place in January 2019 for you to ask any questions.

View an example interview with a 2018 supervisor

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Play/12223

 

Projects available for Summer 2018 (now past)

This projects list shows the projects which were available in 2018.  They are for information only, and should give you some idea of the variety of projects which are available year on year.

Please note: Most projects do not repeat each year.  A completely different list of projects for summer 2019 will be posted here in November 2018.

Project 1: How can we estimate the physical properties of tissue?

Summary of Project: X-ray phase imaging is an important biomedical imaging technique in its own right. X-ray phase imaging provides access to sample information not available using conventional, attenuation based imaging. In particular, images based upon X-ray refraction and scattering within the sample can be obtained. We are currently working on a project which makes use of X-rays to estimate the physical properties of tissue such as tissue stiffness, sound speed and optical scattering coefficient.

Title of Scholarship Project: Harnessing X-ray scattering in biomedical imaging

Summary of Scholarship work: This project is principally theoretical, yet connects directly with experiment. We have constructed a large number of phantoms which consist of different types of microsphere embedded a variety of matrix materials. Such phantoms scatter X-rays to varying degrees. We have also developed a mathematical model which simulates the propagation of X-rays within these phantoms. 

This project involves implementing the developed mathematical model in a computationally efficient manner. Scholars will be encouraged to consider parallelisation techniques and advanced hardware, e.g. GPUs. The ultimate aim is to be able to match the results we have obtained experimentally.

Outputs expected of Scholar: (1) A validated computer program. However, it is possible that experimental results can be validated during the course of the project; and (2) A poster for presentation.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): Experience in, or willingness to learn, the Matlab programming language. Strong background in maths consistent with first year engineering or physics. Knowledge of computer architecture to an introductory level.

 

Project 2: How can we predict movement in streamed virtual reality?

Summary of Project: Omnidirectional visual content can be visualised via wide field-of-view or immersive Virtual Reality (VR) displays, such as head-mounted displays (HMD), or on standard 2D displays using video players that allows interactive video navigation, such as YouTube 360 or GoogleMap Viewer. In both scenarios, the viewer is assumed to be at the centre of a viewing sphere, displaying the view corresponding to the direction he is facing. During the displaying, the viewer can change his viewing direction by rotating his head (for head mounted devices) or by browsing the video with a cursor (for YouTube 360). Understanding and predicting the viewers' head movement (displayed viewports) has become essential to efficiently compress and stream omnidirectional videos. Within this framework, we are studying novel adaptive transmission techniques for omnidirectional video sequences.

Title of Scholarship Project: Learning users behavior in virtual reality

Summary of Scholarship work: The goal of this project is to develop a software able to capture the viewport displayed by users during streaming sessions using Google cardboards. Once the software is in place, the student will run subjective tests to gather an exhaustive data set of navigation patterns in 360 videos.

Outputs expected of Scholar: (1) Summary of the open software available for Google cardboard; (2) Implementation/modification of one of these software to gather navigation path; (3) Gathering of the navigation paths for several users and several users (building an exhaustive dataset) and (4) a poster for presentation.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): Good programming skills. Basic understanding of signal processing. High motivation.

 

Project 3: How are we teaching computer science?

Summary of Project: This project consists of surveying what computer science content is being taught in top universities around the world.

Title of Scholarship Project: A searchable database of computer science teaching content in top universities

Summary of Scholarship work: The Scholar will: (1) Extract a set of criteria to be used in order to describe a computer science module. This include total number of lectures, total number of lab hours, number of students, concepts covered, university name, etc; (2) Collect data related to computer science modules taught in top universities from their respective websites; (3) Design a database schema to hold this information and populated with collected data; (4) Build a web-based tool that connects to the database and allows searching and displaying of the results; and (5) Implement a graphical visualisation of the results using charts, etc (this feature is optional).

Outputs expected of Scholar: (1) A database populated with information about computer science modules taught in top universities; (2) A web-based application allowing searching the database and displaying results; (3) A blog reflecting on the student’s activities and findings; and (4) A poster presenting key findings.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): SQL programming language. Django or any other web-based framework.

 

Project 4: How far can we trust what our computers tell us?

Summary of Project: The goal of the overarching project is to develop ways to understand whether it is safe to rely on what a computer says, even if we know that criminals are trying to tamper with the computer and the ways it communicates with us and others. The outcome of the research will show how to improve computer systems so that people can make the right decision about how much to trust the information they are asked to rely upon (and if necessary, prove this in court). This research will allow us to realise the benefits of computers by giving people the confidence that they can rely on computers to do what they ask and that we can act on what computers tell us.

Title of Scholarship Project: Enhancing reliability of evidence and transparency of surveillance

Summary of Scholarship work: As part of this project we are building a system to assist the use of communication records within the legal system, by applying cryptographic techniques that provide confidence as to the authenticity of the records. In addition, this system will increase transparency around the processing of these records, so as to make law enforcement accountable for the intrusion on privacy that their activities create. We are looking for a Scholar to investigate domestic and international law and practices around admissibility of electronic evidence and government surveillance, to evaluate our proposed system and propose enhancements.

Outputs expected of Scholar: (1) Analysis of literature, such as legislation, practice directions, and rulings relevant to the handling of electronic evidence, particularly surveillance records; (2) A short report outlining the Scholar’s activities and findings; and (3) A presentation poster of findings.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): Good research and writing skills. Basic understanding of how cryptography can be used to protect information.

 

Project 5: What is the future of work in East London?

Summary of Project: The UCL Institute for Global Prosperity will launch a new workstream in Autumn 2017 focusing on questions of social value, economic resilience and the future of work in East London. This workstream is being developed in response to a number of factors identified in the London Prosperity Board’s first year, including quality of work, impact of work-related programmes, and industrial strategy and economic resilence. 

The Scholar will contribute to research about what the future of work looks like, and the creation of good quality jobs for people living and working in East London. The Scholar will have the opportunity to develop a collective understanding of good quality and future-oriented work, using primary data collected by the IGP in East London as well as a literature review developed by a former Laidlaw scholar. 

The Scholar will work in collaboration with the IGP team, and the London Prosperity Board: a partnership of local authorities, community-based organisations, and research organisations. They will also have the opportunity to engage with the activities of major corporations based in East London - particularly those in Canary Wharf.

Title of Scholarship Project: Future of work in East London

Summary of Scholarship work: The Scholar will be asked to contribute to the research and dissemination activities of the London Prosperity Board: Future of Work project. They will be engaging with primary and secondary datasets. They will also be orientating their work to a wide variety of audiences, including major corporations, local authorities, and local East London communities. 

The Scholar might be asked to: (1) Analyse primary data and produce ‘state of work’ analysis that reports on current situation in East London; (2) Desk research to map out spend on job-readiness/local economic development programmes in East London, i.e. local and central government benefits and training, third sector programmes, private sector spending, EU grant. Map onto primary data findings to develop hypothesis about impact of current investments; and (3) Draw out set of points for LPB to champion around prosperity and future of work in East London.

Outputs expected of Scholar: Since the Future of Work project is currently running, there is likely to be new data and new developments which could change the outputs expected of the scholar: (1) A 'state of work' analysis that reports on current situation in East London; (2) A written report on job readiness/local economic development programmes in East London, and how these map onto primary data about job readiness and quality of work in East London; (3) A dissemination plan for LPB to share findings from the Future of Work project, which engages with a wide variety of audience and ensures sustained engagement with findings; and (4) a presentation poster of findings.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): The Scholar must demonstrate an interest in the theme of work, and the challenge of creating future-relevant and good-quality employment opportunities. The Scholar must demonstrate critical analysis skills - whether you have a quantitative or a qualitative skillset, we want to know that you can critically assess information. The Scholar must be collaborative - the Future of Work project is carried out in partnership with multiple organisations and institutional types. This means that you must be flexible, open in your outlook, and willing to accommodate others.

 

Project 6: What are the causes and results of food poverty?

Summary of Project: Families and Food in Hard Times (foodinhardtimes.org) is a major mixed methods study of food poverty in the UK, Portugal and Norway that is funded by the European Research Council (2014-2019) and based at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education.

Title of Scholarship Project: Preparing qualitative data on families and food in hard times for archiving

Summary of Scholarship work: Engaging junior social scientists in making data available to the research community is vital to the Open Science agenda. The successful Laidlaw Scholar will play a key role in preparing in-depth qualitative data from the ERC funded 'Families and Food in Hard Times' study for deposit in the UK Data Archive. 

Under the supervision of the Principal Investigator, and working alongside the Project Administrator, she or he will: (1) Systematically review and anonymise transcripts of sensitive semi structured interviews with poor and low income young people and their parents; (2) Assist in the preparation of supporting documentation; and (3) Attend relevant training (e.g. at the British Library, London and UKDA, University of Essex). 

Depending on the aptitude and appetite of the Scholar she or he will be supported by the PI to design and carry out an original secondary analysis of the data in line with her or his interests and to write up the methodology and findings as a brief report.

Outputs expected of Scholar: Outputs will include: (1) Anonymised interview transcripts (for at least 50% of the UK sample that comprises 45 young people and their parent/s or carer/s); (2) Systematic data list and record of anonymising procedures, queries and decisions; (3) Folder of supporting documentation; (4) Optional design and/or report of a secondary analysis of the qualitative data; and (5) a presentation poster of findings.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): Appreciation of Open Science and awareness of ethical considerations regarding participant confidentiality. Organised approach to academic work including rigorous attention to detail. Passion for research about poverty, inequality and/or the sociology of food, childhood and family life.

 

Project 7: Do energy networks perform better under RIIO regulation?

Title of Overall Research Project: Performance of energy networks under RIIO regulation

Summary of Project: In October 2010 Ofgem, the UK energy regulator, decided to introduce a new form of regulation for electricity and gas network companies. The new regulatory framework, called RIIO regulation, has now been implemented and data is available on the performance of companies under the scheme. The aim of this project is to establish trends in charges, costs, outputs and innovation under the scheme and to compare these to the objectives of RIIO and where feasible to past performance under the RPI-X regulatory framework. The work will inform updates to research papers and teaching materials produced by the project lead, Dr Cloda Jenkins

Title of Scholarship Project: Collect, collate and analyse data on performance of electricity and gas network companies between 2010 and 2017

Summary of Scholarship work: The Scholar will need to find data produced by Ofgem, the energy sector, and other public sources on performance of the energy companies between 2010 and 2017. The data will need to be collected and organised in Excel in a way that is useful for later users of the data. The Scholar will be asked to produce charts showing trends over time and any relevant summary statistics that they think are relevant. The Scholar will also be asked to add sections to an existing set of notes on RIIO regulation that uses the data to explain how companies have performed over time. Time permitting, the Scholar would also be asked to compare the performance to historic trends under RPI-X regulation.

Outputs expected of Scholar: (1) Excel spreadsheet with collated data and clear charts; (2) Write-up of company performance, incorporating charts and summary statistics into existing Word Document that explains how RIIO works; and (3) a presentation poster.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): Confident organising data in Excel and producing charts and summary statistics. Confident undertaking web-based research to find suitable data sources. Ability to write clear and succinct summary of what is found in data.

 

Project 8: Is there a link between cognitive flexibility and attitudes to immigration?

Title of Overall Research Project: Psychology and Cognitive Differences in Attitudes to Immigration

Summary of Project: Existing research has provided evidence that one of the key individual differences that predict attitudes towards immigration relates to how flexible people think people’s personality is. If you think that people’s personality is relatively fixed across time and in different social contexts, then you tend to have a more negative view of immigration. Whereas if you think people’s personality is more flexible and malleable across contexts then you are more likely to have a positive view of immigration. 

This research project will seek to extend this finding to test whether this difference (between people who think personality is more fixed or more malleable) is a specific social attitude or whether it relates to a broader differences in the cognitive flexibility of different individuals. This test is motivated by the fact that, existing research provides evidence that people who identify as more conservative politically (who are typically less positive towards immigration), tend to have a less flexible cognitive style. For example they tend to perform slightly worse on a classic test of cognitive flexibility called the ‘Go, No-Go’ task. You can try this task online at: http://cognitivefun.net/test/17

This research project will test specifically whether attitudes towards immigration are predicted by lower level cognitive flexibility tasks (like the Go, No-Go task). In addition the project will then test whether the current correlation between views of how flexible human personality is, and immigration, is in fact, mediated by differences in cognitive flexibility. Thus ultimately this project will test whether people differ in their views about the flexibility of human traits, because of underlying differences in cognitive flexibility across individuals.

Two key reference here are: Amodio, D. M., Jost, J. T., Master, S. L., & Yee, C. M. (2007). Neurocognitive correlates of liberalism and conservatism. Nature neuroscience, 10(10), 1246-1247. Bastian, B., & Haslam, N. (2008). Immigration from the perspective of hosts and immigrants: Roles of psychological essentialism and social identity. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 11(2), 127-140.

Title of Scholarship Project: Attitudes towards immigration and cognitive flexibility

Summary of Scholarship work: 

  • Research tests of cognitive flexibility.
  • Research methods for collecting a representative sample, with a balance of different political attitudes.
  • Collate key measures of political attitudes, and attitudes towards immigration.
  • Collect data on a large sample of participants (using online tests).
  • Analyse the data from the empirical study.
  • Specifically looking for correlations between measures, and ultimately developing a statistical regression model of the relationship between the different measures.
  • Write a report of the research in the form of a scientific research article.

Outputs expected of Scholar: Written research report (including statistically analysis of the data), and a presentation poster.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): The student must have an interest in using statistical methods to analyse their data.

 

Project 9: How can you characterise the mechanical response of a new material?

Title of Overall Research Project: Mechanical characterisation of materials and systems

Summary of Project: Very often and in a variety of research projects, we would benefit from characterising the mechanical response of a new material, device or system, or to further study the response of a currently available material/system under particular conditions (e.g. at different compression/tension rates, under cyclic loading, at different temperatures, when submerge in salty water, etc). However, in the majority of the cases, this is not possible as the equipment is very costly and researchers cannot afford to buy it just for a small part of their project. Also, even when the purchase of a mechanical testing machine could be justified, funding bodies usually require results of some pilot studies to support the grant application, going back to square zero.

The Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering Department has recently purchased a state-of-the-art mechanical testing machine (Instron E3000) that Pilar Garcia Souto is managing. The E3000 is quite versatile, with capacity of up to 3000N and 25N.m rotation, but also suitable for accurate measurements at low forces and displacements. We have collaborated with various researchers across UCL to perform the mechanical characterisation of materials and/or devices that they use in their projects, and we are keen to continue to do so. Some examples are: calibration of a new developed force sensor, characterisation of collagen samples to inform computational simulations, and study of loss of mechanical properties of dental cement when subjected to sugary drinks.

Title of Scholarship Project: Mechanical characterisation of a new material or system

Summary of Scholarship work: The selected Scholar will work within the field of mechanical characterisation of materials/simple devices, i.e. how the material or device reacts to the application of a load, either under compression, tension or bending. The Scholar will get trained on the use of the E3000 machine and will learn about mechanical characterisation. Prior experience is desirable but not required.

Pilar Garcia Souto is collaborating with various research projects across UCL that require a better understanding of the mechanical properties of a material or device used within the specific project. The Scholar will be assigned a specific project in which s/he will take a leading role on this investigation, while supported and guided by Pilar. 

The Scholar would be able to make a significant contribution by taking the lead in the testing of a material/device of interest within a research project, and the corresponding data analysis. This is a comprehensive and coherent piece of work, which includes designing the required experimental protocol, organising, leading and performing the data collection, comparing experimental observations with the theoretical values when available, and reporting results. This would permit the Scholar to experience an ongoing research, and to take a leadership role in one particular material or device while being supported by the rest of the team.

Therefore the Scholar will contribute to the project by undertaking the following tasks:

  • Learn about mechanical characterisation of materials. Get trained in the use of E3000. Get trained in the basic use of Matlab.
  • Learn about the specific material/device that needs to be tested, as well as how this would contribute to the overall research project.
  • Design (in collaboration with Pilar and the research team) an experimental protocol to test the mechanical properties of the assigned material.
  • Lead and perform data collection.
  • Analyse experimental data, and report results.
  • Small supervision role of related 2018/19 research project students.

Outputs expected of Scholar: 

  • Obtain a fair understanding of the procedures of mechanical characterisation (introduction to the field by the researchers is given, and relevant readings and further insights are provided).
  • Demonstrate ability to use a state-of-the-art mechanical testing equipment (training is provided).
  • Demonstrate or improves ability to use Matlab for data presentation and data analysis.
  • Experience collaborating on a multi-disciplinary project with various researchers.
  • Gains experience on the design of experimental studies with new materials/devices.
  • Perform data collection that is of high quality and relevant for the project. The Scholar will need to provide all data in a comprehensive and well described format such that others are able to use it in the future.
  • Report of the experimental protocol and results back to the researchers for its possible use in papers or grant applications (<1000 words).
  • Write a short report at the end of each year stating the work done, the impact towards the overarching project, and benefits for the Scholar of having undertaking this project (1000 words each). This will be used for divulgation, e.g. in wikis.
  • Produce a poster for presentation.
The Scholar should be able to complete these tasks with the support of the research team. However, if delays arise, the use of milestones (defined at the start of the project) shall ensure that the project is nevertheless successful.
Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): High motivation to perform research within the subject area of this project. Ability to work to high standards. Ability to work and learn independently, demonstrating initiative and leadership.

 

Project 10: How does air conditioning affect thermal comfort monitoring?

Dates: Monday 18 June to Friday 27 July 2018

Summary of Project: Modern technology such as thermal cameras, automatic systems, image processing and the internet of things open a word of possibilities to monitor and ensure the well-being of people both in the privacy of their homes or offices, as well as in public spaces such as planes, train stations, airports, shared offices, cinemas, etc. 

This internship will be part of an overarching project that looks at human temperature (core temperature and skin temperature) of both healthy and ill people, thermoregulation and thermal comfort, i.e. how the body physiologically adapts to the environmental conditions and how this environment is perceived psychologically (e.g. neutral, cold, hot, etc). 

Modelling and predicting parameters such as core temperature or thermal comfort is difficult because of the large number of highly interdependent variables (e.g. descriptors of the climate conditions and personal characteristics). However, a good understanding of this field is highly desirable. For example, it can help us to identify people with fever in public spaces and prevent infectious outbreaks, to identify a marathon runner with high risk of suffering a heat stroke, or to design better and healthier indoor spaces that would increase the occupants’ level of conform, and therefore productivity, while decreasing the energy expenditure.

Predicting models in this field have gradually become more complex and sophisticated. However, most of these models are of statistical nature, giving a fair prediction for an average person, but dis-regarding the individual, e.g. the PMV model. Pilar’s project uses temperature data from each individual measured via a thermal camera to make the models and predictions more personalised and therefore more accurate.

Pilar Garcia Souto (project lead) has been working on the field for over 9 years. She has a large experience on experimental data collection, and has materialised a large experimental database with gender-balanced self-clothed volunteers in every-day office and classroom situations, which was missing in the literature. Pilar is also developing ‘adaptive models’ where statistical approaches are combined with real-time personal descriptors to adapt to the individual, which is the new state-of-art trend in the field.

Title of Scholarship Project: Temperature and thermal comfort monitoring systems for humans – accounting for the effect or air conditioning systems

Summary of Scholarship work: Modern technology such as thermal cameras, automatic systems, image processing and the internet of things open a word of possibilities to monitor and ensure the well-being of people both in the privacy of their homes or offices, as well as in public spaces such as planes, train stations, airports, shared offices, cinemas, etc. 

The selected Scholar will work within the field of human temperature and thermal comfort monitoring systems using thermal cameras, specifically designed to ensure the well-being of people. A good understanding of this field is highly desirable. For example, it can help us to identify people with fever in public spaces and prevent infectious outbreaks, to identify a marathon runner with high risk of suffering a heat stroke, or to design better and healthier indoor spaces that would increase the occupants’ level of conform, and therefore productivity, while decreasing the energy expenditure.

Modelling and predicting core temperature and thermal comfort is challenging because of the large number of highly interdependent variables. The state-of-the-art trend is to use ‘adaptive models’ where statistical approaches are combined with real-time measurements from a given person to adapt to that individual in each moment. This can be done by using thermal cameras, as they allow us to measure skin temperature in real time without requiring contact.

The Scholar will work with the research team in the development of the new temperature and thermal comfort models. S/he will be able to make a significant contribution by taking the lead in the experimental testing of a theoretical model of how individuals use and get affected by air conditioning systems. This is a comprehensive and coherent piece of work, which includes designing the required experimental protocol; organising, leading and performing the data collection; comparing experimental observations with the theoretical model; developing a suitable monitoring system; and reporting results. 

Therefore the Scholar will contribute to the project by undertaking the following tasks:

  • Learn about the field of study, and specifically the new trend on modelling core temperature and thermal comfort in based of personalised real-time data. 
  • Get trained in the use of thermal cameras and the understanding of the infrared images.
  • Get trained in the basic use of Matlab, and use it for infrared image processing.
  • Design (in collaboration with Pilar and the research team) an experimental protocol to test the behavioural usage of table fans, such that it can be compared with the researchers’ theoretical model.
  • Lead and perform data collection.
  • Compare experimental data with the theoretical model, and report results.
  • Create a system that automatically collects and processes infrared images and air conditioning information, and gives prediction of core temperature, thermal comfort and thermal sensation.
  • Small supervision role of a related 2018/19 (final year) research project student.

Outputs expected of Scholar: 

  • Obtain a fair understanding of the field of study, and specifically the state-of-the-art fever mass screening systems and adaptive models (introduction to the field by the researchers is given, and relevant readings and further insights are provided).
  • Demonstrate ability to use infrared technology (training is provided).
  • Demonstrate ability to use Matlab for data analysis and image processing (training is provided).
  • Demonstrate good understanding of the proposed theoretical model (this will be presented by the researcher and discussed with the Scholar).
  • Report of the experimental protocol (<1000 words).
  • Identification of suitable spaces (perhaps office or climate chamber) for data collections and volunteers. This shall be done following specifications in the ethical application.
  • Perform data collection that is of high quality and relevant for the project. The Scholar will need to provide all data in a comprehensive and well described format such that others are able to use it in the future.
  • Comparison of the theoretical model and the experimental data. Write report with the results (~1500 words).
  • Development of a system that automatically collects and processes infrared images and air conditioning information, and gives prediction of core temperature, thermal comfort and thermal sensation.
  • Write a short report at the end of each year stating the work done, the impact towards the overarching project, and benefits for the Scholar of having undertaking this project (1000 words each). This will be used for dissemination, e.g. in wikis.
  • Produce a poster for presentation.

The Scholar should be able to complete these tasks with the support of the research team. However, if delays arise, the use of milestones (defined at the start of the project) shall ensure that the project is nevertheless successful. The project spans over two years.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): High motivation to perform research within the subject area of this project. Ability to work to high standards. Ability to work and learn independently, demonstrating initiative and leadership.

 

Project 11: What is the level of design skills in Local Authorities?

Title of Overall Research Project: Place/Politics/Priorities: National survey of local authority councillors with a focus on place quality

Summary of Project: The aim of this project is to deliver a follow up to the (UCL) Place Alliance’s (see https://www.ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/planning/research/place-alliance) recently published report summarising the findings of a short survey of urban design skills/resources within local planning authorities nationally, and how they have changed over the last five years.

The initial survey (see: https://bit.ly/PA_SkillsReport2017) was focused on identifying the provision of in-house design skills within the Local Authority planning department, and briefly looked at the use of design guidance, and the availability of design training as two factors that might help non-designer officers and councillors to fill any gaps in appropriate design skills. The results indicate that with regard to councillor design training, only half receive any kind of training. Where it exists, training appears to be mostly informal and in-house, with very few mentions of accredited courses or CPDs provided by professional bodies. Whilst there were a small number of specific workshops mentioned for councillors covering design issues, there were a larger number of references to previously available training which is no longer available due to budget cuts.

Considering that Councillors sitting on a planning committee are charged with making decisions about the design of individual planning applications and that they have a key role in supporting residents to engage with the planning system, this seems particularly concerning. It is all the ore concerning given the general state of design resources in local planning authorities as revealed through the survey.

This project will sit within the recent Place Alliance research effort to fill the knowledge gap on design skills within Local Authorities in order to establish what type of support local government needs to drive up the design quality of those schemes passing through the planning system. The Government, both in its manifesto and in the recent Housing Green Paper, committed itself to a step change in the delivery of high quality new homes across the country. 

Unfortunately, the recent Place Alliance report puts those aspirations in doubt because of a worsening design skills gas in English local planning authorities. It demonstrates that urban design skills and capacity within local planning authorities are woefully low and declining and that these gaps are not being filled by the patchy, albeit increasing, use of design review. Critical gaps exist within local planning authorities, including the ability to produce proactive design guidance in-house to positively shape the future of new housing developments.

Understanding the role of councillors in this, in allocating resources, establishing priorities and in focusing on the quality of places is an important next step to understanding and influencing the field.

Title of Scholarship Project: Place/Politics/Priorities: National survey of local authority councillors with a focus on place quality

Summary of Scholarship work: 

  • Desktop research: to be carried out over the course of 4 weeks to gain direct contact details of councillors responsible for Housing/Planning/Development in England.
  • Setting up an online survey to be emailed to all the contact in the database, followed by a first reminder after 2 weeks, a final reminder after 4 weeks, and telephone calls to non-respondents after the first 5 weeks.
  • Focussed interviews in the gap between sending out the survey and getting it back in.
  • Initial data analysis of the survey results received after the first 4 weeks.
  • Set up draft report.

Outputs expected of Scholar: 

  • A database of Local Authorities Housing & Development Councillors contacts details which will be kept up to date to aid the Place Alliance with future research/survey updates.
  • Online Survey to be used in the future to map a trend over time.
  • Draft report of the survey results.
  • Presentation poster.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): Good English. Interest and Passion for Place Quality. Good analytical skills.

Project 12: What are the most prominent London sites related to gold?

Title of Overall Research Project: Transformations of Gold

Summary of Project: “Transformations of Gold” is a project that investigates the variety of functions and meanings given to gold in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. A particular focus is gold’s formal and semantic mutability, as it shifted between financial units like bullion and coinage to artistic forms like sculpture and painted surfaces, with their gestures toward divinity and transcendence. 

Gold has long played a major role in the life of London, in all of these guises. Although the project’s historical focus is the period c. 1400-1700, we believe that the continuing life of gold in London — as bullion, as jewelry, as a signifier in fashion and contemporary art and a denotation of quality — makes the contemporary extremely relevant to our historical investigations. We are thus interested in the changing, and interpenetrating values — cultural, financial, aesthetic, political — that attach to gold and goldness in the global present. 

We are currently incubating the research for a Grand Challenges project (in the thread “Cultural Understanding”) that would culminate in an Octagon Gallery exhibition we are proposing for 2018-19 with the support of Lizzie Baddeley (Public Engagement, UCL Culture). This exhibition would address changing understandings of gold using artefacts in UCL and local collections and allow us to forward knowledge exchange with cultural communities who can inform our research and hopefully be engaged by it. For example, we are interested in the perceptions and evaluations of those trading and buying gold in South Asian communities and working in or with Hatton Garden jewelers. 

The Laidlaw Scholar’s research would contribute to this component of “Transformations of Gold,” which will be focused on localities in East London and the City. It will also feed into the larger conceptual questions of our historical research. The particular advantage of the scholarship for us would be to work with a younger scholar, preferably two, who can approach people from outside the university as able and curious students and act as ambassadors for UCL and our research.

Title of Scholarship Project: Mapping London Gold

Summary of Scholarship work: The research to be undertaken is to “map” prominent sites related to gold in London. These might be sites of banking, commodities-trading, jewelry-making, fashion design, assaying—and even the museum. The choice of points on the map will be derived through broad preliminary research on the history of gold’s uses in London (using a reading list provided by the supervisor and the scholars’ perusal of texts beyond it). The map will not be the product of statistical or quantitative research, but rather a qualitative assessment of the sites that best convey the story of gold in London, both historically (for the City since the late Middle Ages) and in 2018. 

After this period of general research, the Scholars will set up and conduct interviews with Londoners who work with gold on a daily basis, whether as bankers, jewelers, assayers, or curators. The list of interviewees will be supplied partly by the supervisor, but the Scholars will also be expected to identify and engage with other interlocutors they have met in the course of the project. Photos and audio recordings of interviews and site visits, as well as the scholar’s own notes and reflections, will provide the raw materials for the project outputs. 

An additional but crucial subsection of the project that a second Scholar would undertake would be to map gold specifically in the V&A Museum. Here the research would involve investigating a series of gold or simulated-gold artifacts — decided in discussion between supervisor and scholar--in the V&A collections and planning a “trail” through the museum that highlighted these artifacts and connected them to the existing metalwork galleries, which are dominated by silver.

Outputs expected of Scholar: As we are requesting two Scholars to work on this project, we have outlined their distinct outputs here as (1), (2), and (3).

Both Scholar A and Scholar B would produce (1) a log or journal recording their research, both individually and together, on mapping gold in contemporary London —what was seen, learned, and experienced on a daily basis, including brief interviews as appropriate, and with a summarising reflection. 

Scholar A would distill the summer’s research in (2) the form of an Internet page/blog of the scholar’s design. It is meant to condense the “mapping” of London to ten sites the Scholar and supervisor agree best convey the circulation and use of gold in contemporary London. Photos and, as appropriate, brief audio recordings from the scholar’s fieldwork will be included with his/her 300-word entry on each site. The network of sites would be represented on a map/maps of London that would offer visualisation of the sites of gold transformation spatially and, where appropriate, chronologically (exposing the historical depth of some of these sites, especially in the City). 

Scholar B would produce (3) a ‘gold trail’ that would map the presence of gold and gold surfaces in the collections of the V&A across different departments, cultures and media (textiles, liturgical objects, glass, etc). Presented digitally, the trail would link to the digital collections catalogue and provide some key stories around objects from different cultural perspectives to draw attention to the values of gold as it transforms through making to collection and changing display contexts. This resource would give us a broad overview of the way gold is represented and deposited in a major London institution whose remit has itself transformed since the nineteenth century. It could also potentially serve as a learning tool for the general public to be used by the education and research arms of the museum, with whom we have been in discussions about working collaboratively on this material.

In addition, both Scholars will produce a presentation poster of findings.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): Ability to work independently and think creatively, because research would be undertaken in various locations throughout London, outside of direct supervision. Excellent communication skills and ability to engage a wide variety of people on the subject of the research. Some experience setting up websites beyond using a simple WordPress template as the summer research will be summarised on a dedicated site.

Project 13: How does the data help us understand the gender gap in mental health in adolescents?

Title of Overall Research Project: Explaining the gender gap in mental health in adolescents

Summary of Project: Recent nationally representative statistics report that 25% of girls aged 14 suffer from depression, whilst only 10% of boys of the same age do. Interestingly, both boy and girls have very similar depression rates at age 11 and earlier. This research project tries to understand why mental health worsens so severely in adolescence for girls, but not for boys. The hypothesis that we will examine is related to social image, and whether it matters that girls attend a co-ed secondary or a single sex school.

Title of Scholarship Project: Data analysis to explain the gender gap in mental health in adolescents 

Summary of Scholarship work: The Scholar will work with the Millennium Cohort Study, a longitudinal database of around 10,000 children born in 2000-1 and followed until age 14. The Scholar will produce descriptive statistics, graphs, and multivariate regressions to understand why adolescent girls mental health worsens much more severely than that of boys. The Scholar will also provide a brief document with the interpretation of the findings. The Scholar will work alongside another Laidlaw Scholar undertaking a critical review of literature on this subject.

Outputs expected of Scholar: The Scholar will provide computer code in STATA or R with the statistical analysis, as well as a PDF with the graphs, descriptive statistics, and regression results. The Scholar will produce a presentation poster of findings.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): Good knowledge of statistical science or econometrics. Be familiar with statistical software (STATA or R, both are OK but STATA is a bit better). Attention to detail.

Project 14: How does the existing literature help us understand the gender gap in mental health in adolescents?

Title of Overall Research Project: Explaining the gender gap in mental health in adolescents

Summary of Project: Recent nationally representative statistics report that 25% of girls aged 14 suffer from depression, whilst only 10% of boys of the same age do. Interestingly, both boy and girls have very similar depression rates at age 11 and earlier. This research project tries to understand why mental health worsens so severely in adolescence for girls, but not for boys. The hypothesis that we will examine is related to social image, and whether it matters that girls attend a co-ed secondary or a single sex school.

Title of Scholarship Project: Critical review of the literature that explains the gender gap in mental health in adolescents

Summary of Scholarship work: The Scholar will critically review the existing literature on mental health in adolescence, and document it appropriately. The Scholar will work alongside another Laidlaw Scholar undertaking data analysis on the same subject.

Outputs expected of Scholar: The Scholar will provide a list of references and a long essay summarising the findings. The Scholar will produce a presentation poster.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): Good synthesising skills. Good writing skills.

Project 15: How can an app help to screen for neonatal jaundice?

Title of Overall Research Project: Smart sclera screening of jaundiced newborns

Summary of Project: Neonatal jaundice is a common condition among newborn infants, caused by an increased bilirubin level in the blood. Since bilirubin is yellow, jaundiced infants have yellow colouration in their skin and sclera (white part of the eye). Most jaundice is benign but an unusually high level of bilirubin (hyperbilirubinemia) can affect the newborn’s health, and in severe cases, may even cause brain damage or death. A timely identification of hyperbilirubinemia is therefore crucial. 

We are developing a smartphone app (Sclera Bili App) on the Android platform which can predict the bilirubin level based on the colour of the sclera, where melanin (skin pigment) is absent, allowing a more accurate quantification of yellowness than the skin colour. To optimise the Sclera Bili App, however, a large database consisting of hundreds of babies’ data (eye images and bilirubin levels measured from blood samples) will be required to “train” the algorithms in the Sclera Bili App. 

We have recently won a Seed Award from “Saving Lives at Birth”, an international competition funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and aid agencies from the US, UK, Canada, Norway and Korea, to gather more data from newborns in Ghana (https://savinglivesatbirth.net/news/17/07/31/fifteen-innovators-get-funding-saving-lives-birth).

To widen the data collection and test the usability of the app, we aim to release a version of the Sclera Bili App to the public globally and ask for contributions (eye images and measured bilirubin levels) to be sent to us for analysis. Since the app has not received any regulatory approval, the estimated bilirubin level cannot be made known to the participants. Nevertheless, this exercise will not only allow us to collect a large amount of data but also give the users the opportunity to provide feedback and influence the development of the app.

Title of Scholarship Project: Crowd Science: Developing a healthcare app to screen for neonatal jaundice with the help of the public

Summary of Scholarship work: The aim of the project is to encourage the participants (parents) to use the Bili Sclera App to submit images of their babies’ eyes and to provide certain information, e.g. the gestational and postnatal age, but how do you convince the stressed-out parents to participate in the first place? The Scholar will need to develop a strategy to publicise the Crowd Science project and recruit participants. While a website will be the core of the campaign, other channels can also be incorporated, e.g. social media, printed flyers and public speaking. The Scholar will also need to contribute to the creation of printed materials to be distributed by local healthcare workers in Ghana to recruit participants and explain the study in a format that can be understood by the underprivileged local community.

Outputs expected of Scholar: The Scholar will develop both online and printed materials to (1) Describe the importance of this work; (2) Explain the principle of the technique; and (3) Report the results of the project, including performing statistical analyses on the performance of the predictive power of the app and the web analytics.

They will also develop a strategy to recruit and engage the participants on a global scale. This will involve working with a professional app developer to “gamify” the Bili Sclera App via the design of a game or a function to reward the users. The Scholar will also produce a poster for presentation. 

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): Good communication skill, capable of conveying messages clearly and concisely in written English and drawings. Knowledge or interest in website design and graphics software such as Photoshop, Blender, or similar software packages. Basic statistical analysis knowledge, e.g. plotting bar/pie charts, calculating means and standard deviations with Excel spreadsheet.

Project 16: How can we model the tumour microenvironment?

Title of Overall Research Project: Imaging structure and function of the tumour microenvironment

Summary of Project: Recently the tumour microenvironment has been shown to play an important role in the inception, growth and invasion of cancerous cells. Here we propose to use in vitro cancer cells embedded in collageneous material, designed at the Royal Free Hospital, to image the change in the structure and function of the tumour microenvironment at the Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging. The tumour constructs are imaged using High-Resolution Episcopic Microscopy, which allows large tissue samples to be optically imaged in three-dimensions, and at high resolution (up to 1 micron, isotropic). This produces a rich dataset with which to analyse the effects of tumour growth on its surroundings.

Title of Scholarship Project: Modelling the tumour microenvironment

Summary of Scholarship work: The Scholar would build on previous work to image the structure of both the cancerous cells and the surrounding collagen, and depending on interest either (1) Use image-processing techniques to measure different structural variables; or (2) Develop methods to compare the data to predictions made by a biophysical model of in vitro tumour growth.

Outputs expected of Scholar: The Scholar would first be expected to get up to speed on the current status of the research in the group. They would subsequently be expected to produce an analysis of imaging data acquired from the tumour microenvironment, and hence either comment on (1) the changes in the microenviroment as a result of tumour growth; or (2) how well the data agree with the predictions from a biophysical model. 

The Scholar would be expected to share their research to the group in the form of an oral presentation and comment on the broader implications of their finding to the field of cancer research.  The Scholar will produce a poster of their work for wider presentation.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): (1) A basic working knowledge of Matlab; and (2) A working knowledge of statistics and data analysis.

Project 17: How far can we trace individuals between successive censuses?

Title of Overall Research Project: Centre for Longitudinal Study Information and User Support (CeLSIUS): Research Support Unit for the ONS Longitudinal Study for England & Wales 2018-20

Summary of Project: CeLSIUS is a research support unit providing support for analysis of the Office of National Statistics Longitudinal Study (ONS LS) which is a complete set of census records for individuals, linked between successive censuses, together with data for various events. It relates to a sample of the population of England and Wales. The sample comprises people born on one of four selected dates of birth and therefore makes up about 1% of the total population.

Title of Scholarship Project: Searching for longitudinal data in historic population data for Cornwall

Summary of Scholarship work: The student will work with extracts of individual level population data for Cornwall taken from nineteenth century censuses. The project will explore the extent to which it is possible to trace individuals (or groups of individuals) between successive decennial censuses, with a long term aim of extracting sample data sets for teaching and engagement purposes, akin to the contemporary longitudinal data that is the main focus of the CeLSIUS project.

The student will use a set of population records in an SQL database, and develop a series of queries to identify individuals, based on limited information including age, name, occupation and characteristics of other persons in the household to try and identify the same people ten years apart. This is most likely to focus on people who do not appear to have moved over a ten year period, although the identification of addresses within the census data is rather rudimentary. This serves as a useful analogue to the current and future use of administrative data to create longitudinal data sets, which similarly present limited information in comparison to that provided by a census; this connects to methodological interests the CeLSIUS team have in the use of administrative data. Searches will be made for individuals with the same name, address and occupation, given variations in spelling, transcription, etc., and plausible changes in occupation; more confidence might be placed in a potential match when they are associated with other household members who also appear to be a match.

The student will also document general characteristics of the overall sample population, looking at aspects such as basic demographics; the range of declared occupations and variations in occupation by gender; first name and family name uniqueness.

Outputs expected of Scholar: The main output will be a report detailing the database queries carried out, and the resulting extracted data. Having extracted a set of individual records, the student will then generate some exemplar aggregate statistics based on those individual records. The student will also generate descriptive statistics and illustrative material summarising the data sets used, with the intention of using these on social media to drive engagement with the project. The student will also document their progress in the form of blog postings about the project, and a presentation poster.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): Essential skills: (1) Database proficiency, ideally using SQL; and (2) Basic knowledge of statistics.

Project 18: How does the internet influence GP consultations?

Title of Overall Research Project: Harnessing Resources from the Internet (HaRI)

Summary of Project: We know that people use the internet and other resources before going to see their doctor but what is not clear is what happens in terms of sharing prior research when people get into the consultation. We are in the process of collecting up to 300 video recorded GP consultations, with an associated brief questionnaire completed prior to seeing the doctor. We also have interviews with 10 GPs and 30 patients about their consultations and use of the internet more generally.

Title of Scholarship Project: Understanding the role of the internet in consultations

Summary of Scholarship work: The Scholar will join the research team and be involved in analysis of the data. They will have the opportunity to learn about qualitative methodology and learn first hand the different ways in which the same data can be analysed and organised. 

The Scholar will have the opportunity to view and develop their own analysis, supported by the main supervisor and the two researchers working in the team. As most of the data are video recordings there is considerable scope to develop an area of particular interest and pursue it through the data.

The Scholar will be encouraged to learn about other work in the research unit and Department to gain a wider view on the types of academic research that takes place in a multi-disciplinary department such as Primary Care.

Outputs expected of Scholar: The Scholar would be expected to produce (with support), or contribute to, a research paper on a topic of interest to them.  In addition, the student will produce a presentation poster.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): Written fluency in English. Awareness of the ethical issues involved in viewing potentially identifiable data.

Project 19: How were red pigments used in Roman painting in Britain?

Title of Overall Research Project: Romano-British Painting: The Painters’ Palette

Summary of Project: The range of pigments used by Roman painters, usually working on wall-paintings in both domestic and civic settings, is an on-going area of academic research. However, no systematic study of the range of pigments available to Romano-British painters has been considered until relatively recently. This broader project aims to identify the range of pigments used and examine similarities and differences between the Roman palette in Britain and the wider Empire. The overall aim is a contribution to the technical art history of this important phase in British Art and to gain a deeper understanding of the trade of both knowledge, materials and painting techniques, and the importance of local versus imported pigments.

Title of Scholarship Project: The Colour Red in Roman Britain

Summary of Scholarship work: The aim of this project is to characterise and understand the use of red pigments in Romano British Painting (2nd – 4th Centuries AD). Three main pigments were available to Romano-British painters; Red Ochre, Red Lead and Vermillion/Cinnabar. The student will learn to characterise these pigments, using optical polarising light microscopy and look for patterns in use related to archaeological contexts. Samples are available from excavations in St Albans (Verulamium), Exeter, Edinburgh, and from Fishbourne Roman Villa. In addition, some experimental work to trial colour mixtures, i.e. red ochre-vermillion mixes, will be undertaken to compare red-painted surfaces.

Outputs expected of Scholar: An illustrated essay in the form of a blog post for the UCL Slade School of Fine Art Pigment Timeline Project, and possibly a small exhibition at the Slade School of Art (TBC).  In addition, a presentation poster of findings.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): A broad understanding of the material sciences and its application to cultural heritage studies. An aptitude for microscopy (but no previous experience is necessary). An interest in the Roman World and particularly Roman Britain.

Project 20: Where are the UCL calculi collection originally from? What are they made of?

Title of Overall Research Project: Rediscovery of the UCL/Middlesex Calculi Collection

Summary of Project: The UCL Pathology Collections holds over 8000 specimens. These range from fluid preserved specimens to plaster casts, skeletal material and calculi. Calculi are abnormal concretions, usually composed of mineral salts, occurring within the body, chiefly in hollow organs or their passages. Sometimes these are also referred to as stones, gallstones or kidney stones depending on their location in the body. 

The UCL Pathology Collection holds a large collection of stones or calculi that have a complex provenance. We would like research to be undertaken to resolve the unknown provenance, to undertake a documentation excise to list and photograph the specimens and assist with their identification.

Title of Scholarship Project: Calculi: Provenance, Composition & Pathology

Summary of Scholarship work: The scholar will need to document the collection and take photographs then undertake research to establish provenance by visiting library and archives. The outcome will be to create museum labels for a display unit in the museum.  This work will be undertaken on UCL's medical campus at the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead.

Outputs expected of Scholar: To establish provenance and composition of the calculi collection. The collection is housed in a display unit in the UCL Pathology Museum and research will conclude with the creation of display labels for the specimens to create an informative display.  To produce a presentation poster of methodology and conclusions.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form): Good communications and literacy skills that can be developed towards: (1) Archive and library research skills; (2) Museum documentation; and (3) Museum label and interpretation.

 

Project 21: How do you find planets orbiting other stars?

Dates: Monday 18 June to Friday 27 July 2018

Summary of Project: Transit photometry of exoplanets is now a well-established technique which consists of telescope observations of a given star and measuring its light as the time passes and comparing to that of all the other nearby stars.

If the orbit alignment is favourable, the passage of the planet belonging to that star in front its own Sun, will dim the light we receive producing a small variation in the detected signal. The duration of that dimming, the period between each dimming and the shape (the progressive nature of that dimming) when combined with information related to the host star, allows us to make many conclusions on the size of the planet, of its distance from the parent star and thus recover additional information such as mass and density.

Title of Scholarship Project: Detection and characterization of exo-planets.

Summary of Scholarship work: The selected Scholar will work at the University College London Observatory at Mill Hill within the Physics and Astronomy department and in collaboration with the Astrophysics Group academic and teaching staff. During this project the student will learn about transit photometry techniques and all the ancillary operations performed to the data in order to extract the light-curve used to detect and infer the nature of an exoplanet.

Existing software will be made available for the analysis, but potentially additional code will be developed together with the student (pre-existing knowledge of any of Python, Matlab, C, C++ or IDL are considered an advantage but are not a requirement).

The Student Scholar will be able to make a significant impact by focussing the analysis on one specific exo-planetary system, collating all existing publicly available data on the object of interest and learn the statistical tools to be used for the inference of the system’s characteristics. This is a challenging task in a relatively contained timeframe.

The duration of the project (over the two summers) will allow the Student to acquire further data on this system during the autumn and winter period from the UCL Observatory when observing conditions are more favourable.

This experience will allow the Student to perform research at an early stage of their academic career and take a leadership role on a particular planetary system. Their findings in the first Summer will also benefit to exposure to the planetary group which can direct to further specific complex analysis for the following season.

The following tasks are foreseen for the Student Scholar:

  • Acquisition of the background of exo-planetary systems and understanding of basic features of transit photometry.
  • Basic training in astronomical observations and data collection and manipulation.
  • Familiarization of exo-planet databases, query structure and data cataloguing for rapid access.
  • Lead and perform data collection from public archives.
  • Analyse experimental data, and report results.
  • Small supervision role of related 2018/19 activities.

Outputs expected of Scholar: 

By the end of the project the student will be expected to have :

  • Good understanding of exoplanet detection techniques (especially in regards to transit photometry).
  • Familiarity with existing databases on exoplanets and their access.
  • Proven ability of managing the statistical tools used for the analysis of the exoplanet light curves.
  • Gain experience on the reporting of a collaborative research activity.
  • Perform data collection that is of high quality and relevant for the project. The results at the end of this project will form the basis for future student activities in the undergraduate course.
  • Report of the experimental results to the researchers in the astrophysics group
  • Write a short report at the end of each year stating the work done, the impact towards the overarching project, and benefits for the Scholar of having undertaking this project (1000 words each)
  • A presentation poster outlining methodology and conclusions.

The research and teaching team will provide support to the Student Scholar who should be able to complete these tasks within the allocated time.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form):

  • Familiarity with a programming language.
  • Good knowledge of statistical tools and data analysis methods.
  • Ability to work to high standards with good organizational skills.
Project 22: How did the British government assist foreign firms during the Cold War?

Title of Overall Research Project: Left Behind: Protecting British Capital Abroad, 1945-1989: Documenting the relationship between Westminster and British Multinational Companies during the 20th century

Summary of Project: Western governments have secured the protection of international capital for centuries by using aid flows, trade preferences, and even military intervention. This has often resulted in significant costs for developing countries seeking to appropriate a greater share of private Western investments, but also foreign policy interests of Western states have been compromised when aggressive protection of foreign investment has been in conflict with wider diplomatic agendas.

This project asks when, and under what circumstances, capital exporting states are willing to risk diplomatic relations with developing countries when assisting their foreign investors? By comparing existing work on American investment diplomacy with detailed archival records of British responses to expropriation disputes between 1945 and 1989, I show that unlike the aggressive American response to investment disputes shifting British governments rarely came to the rescue of British firms abroad.

The different responses were primarily due to the relationship between the executive and legislative branches of government. The limited role of parliament in British economic diplomacy meant that Whitehall, unlike the White House, could prioritize diplomatic over economic objectives. This resulted in losses for British firms abroad but the political payoffs were large, as investment disputes did not interfere with sensitive foreign policy objectives.

Summary of Scholarship work: 

The Scholar will work with the Research Project Leader on identifying, searching, compiling, and electronically storing relevant files from the British National Archives at Kew. The files will be scanned through a word recognition software and will ultimately be made into a publically available and searchable database of British investment diplomacy during the Cold War.

In addition, the scholar will make summaries of relevant archival files to guide the research project. This will involve reading significant amounts of primary archival sources and extracting the relevant observations. This, in turn, will require insights into the nature of British investment diplomacy and the broader literature on economic diplomacy and foreign investment protection – something the scholar will be introduced to by the Research Project Leader.
The Scholar will thereby acquire practical research methods skills, communication and research skills, as well as insights into a cutting-edge area of political science and historical scholarship.

Outputs expected of Scholar: 

  • Archival files and summaries as outlined above
  • A report outlining the activities of the Scholar and conclusions drawn
  • Basic understanding of economic development policies pursued during Cold War. Good understanding of UK political institutions/system.

Key Criteria (you must address these on your application form):

  • Excellent English writing skills
  • Good understanding of UK political institutions/system
  • Basic understanding of economic development policies pursued during Cold War