Successful research symposium continues to develop our collaborative culture

DPhil students

Organisers of DSPI’s annual Symposium for Early Researchers in Social Policy & Intervention (SERSPI) – its first in-person since pre-pandemic - have hailed the event’s benefits in fostering a ‘warm, relaxed, friendly, fun, and constructive’ culture.

The day-long SERSPI, which was previously the department’s Graduate Research Conference, is a DPhil-led initiative, hosted at and sponsored by Nuffield College, and showcasing the work of DPhil and MPhil students, and including a distinguished faculty panel.

More than 50 people enjoyed a programme featuring 13 presentations by students among panels on:

  • Interventions for Violence and Children at Risk
  • Policy Outcomes in Advanced Welfare States, and
  • Critical Perspectives on Policy Problematisation and Narrative. 

Alexandra Blackwell, a DPhil student in Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation, said the Symposium provided a great opportunity for students to see the emerging research being developed around social policy and interventions.

Alexandra added: ‘We are already witnessing the impact of the research in our hallway chats, the follow-up on feedback, and the general sense of achievement from the speakers for a job well done.'

The symposium was supported by Faculty members including Professor Jane Barlow, Head of Department and Director of Research, and Associate Professor of Evidence-Based Policy Evaluation, Dr Ben Chrisinger, with the panel discussion, on The Future of the Discipline and the Development of a Good Researcher, featuring Professor Lucie Cluver, Professor Mary Daly, Dr Aaron Reeves, and Dr Tim Vlandas.

Alexandra added: 'This year’s Symposium also rolled out some novel features, such as a session of short five-minute pitches to facilitate rapid feedback from attendees on research ideas from first-year DPhils; student discussants for each panel; as well as faculty panel on the future of the discipline and the development of a good researcher moderated, by DPhil student Benjamin Goodair.’

Pictured: The DPhil student organising committee behind SERSPI.