DSPI faculty, students and guests descended on the sunny surroundings of Nuffield College on Friday 23 May to enjoy the second year of our revived Graduate Research Student conference series. Organised by a team of six DPhil students, the conference allowed a cross-section of DSPI students to present their current research and gain experience in a conference setting.
Introducing the conference, Professor Bernhard Ebbinghaus commented on the impressive range of research on offer. The day began with an opportunity for MPhil students to present to their peers, and moved on to a DPhil session on intergenerational social class mobility in Europe. After lunch two further DPhil students presented research under the umbrella of ‘Social Policy beyond the West’ – as Professor Ebbinghaus commented, a welcome sign of work developing in an area which DSPI highlighted in a public seminar series earlier this year.
We were grateful to be hosted by Nuffield College this year, and welcomed the Warden Sir Andrew Dilnot for the keynote address. He opened with how encouraging it is ‘for the ‘old’ people to see that there’s a young generation of people who want to work in these areas.’ He spoke about the importance of being well acquainted with the ‘big’ numbers in the countries you are interested in – for example changes in the percentage of GDP spent on welfare, education and health. It’s an effective way into having a policy impact, because policy-makers themselves often don’t know these statistics. He also talked about the importance of finding powerful ways of characterising the problem you’re facing, in order to help policy-makers make evidence-based decisions.
The day ended with a fascinating alumni panel discussing ‘Life after DSPI’. Many thanks and congratulations to the organising team, and to everyone who contributed to a varied and stimulating day. In the coming weeks we will post a series of articles on students and research featured on the day.