Student-led research symposium fosters engagement and collaboration

A group photo of the SERSPI organising committee on the steps of Nuffield College, Oxford

The SERSPI Organising Committee at Nuffield College

Earlier this May, DSPI’s annual Symposium for Early Researchers in Social Policy & Intervention (SERSPI) provided an engaging range of talks, demonstrating some of the exciting research being undertaken by students in the department. 

SERSPI is a one-day symposium organised by DPhil students, held at and sponsored by Nuffield College. The event highlights and supports the work of DPhil and Master’s students through a series of presentations, short research pitches by first-year DPhil students, and a faculty panel discussion. 

Building on last year’s successful event, this year around 60 people attended presentations by students on: Policy and Politics; Social Interventions; Policy Outcomes in Advanced Welfare States; and Social Policy and Interventions in a Changing Society. 

Across the day, twelve DPhil and MPhil students presented their research. Presentations were grouped by subject theme, namely, social policy outcomes in advanced welfare states and the challenges of carrying out social interventions amidst rapidly changing social contexts. This was followed by short research pitches, providing students at the beginning of their academic career the opportunity to present their ideas and gain feedback. Pitches covered a range of research areas, including the impact of COVID-19 related anti-Asian sentiment on voting patterns, cultural adaptation strategies for parenting interventions, and participatory methods with young people to improve mental health outcomes.

Victoria Tan, DSPI DPhil student and member of the SERSPI organising committee, said:

SERSPI is entirely student-led and brings all members of the department together to celebrate the work of the graduate research students. I appreciate this aspect of the culture at DSPI, that there is an emphasis on fostering a vibrant and supportive research community. The diverse range of topics presented also speaks to one of the benefits of having such an interdisciplinary department.

As always, the SERSPI audience was lively and engaged, offering thought-provoking questions, helpful comments and ample encouragement. The students are already looking forward to next year’s SERSPI!

The symposium was also supported by department and college staff, including Professor Jane Barlow, Head of Department and Chair in Evidence-Based Intervention and Policy Evaluation, and Sir Andrew Dilnot, Warden of Nuffield College. The panel session on Research Uptake featured DSPI Associate Fellow Fran Bennett, faculty members Dr Jamie Lachman and Dr Laura Sochas, and DPhil student Vanessa Picker.  

The members of the SERSPI 2023 organising committee are Tamsin Greene Barker, Bothaina Eltigani, Aya Fujita, Deanna Giraldi, Sopuruchukwu Obiesie, Victoria Tan, and Temitope Toyon.