North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership

“Publishing Quality Charts in R using GGplot2” hosted by the Royal Statistical Society.

Hannah Sawyer, Psychology, University of Liverpool, 2018 Cohort

When COVID-19 started back in March 2020 (remember all the way back then?!), I am sure that not one of us would have imagined that by the time we started the new academic year in October, we would still be in lockdown. It has been a long 8 months being confined to our homes, working in the same make-shift temporary offices, and not being allowed to meet up with anyone outside your household. I miss the comfort of being in my office, surrounded by fellow PhD students and having my supervisors only a few doors away, but with all things being considered I am lucky to be staying well and safe. I am sure that you would agree that completing a PhD during this time, a global pandemic, is challenging in more ways than one. Practically, with the testing delays and constant revision of studies to make sure they fit in with government guidelines that seem to change on a weekly basis, has not been easy and I would be lying if I didn’t say that at certain points during this period, my motivation and morale to do my PhD work had been at an all-time low.

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Estimating Healthy Working Life Expectancy at age 50 in England

Marty Parker, Health and Wellbeing, Keele University, 2018 Cohort 

People in many countries around the world are being asked to work until they are older because of gains in life expectancy and population ageing. In the UK, this is through deferring the age of eligibility for receipt of State Pension payments. State Pension age has now risen past age 66 years for men and women in the UK. However, it is not clear whether population health and job opportunities are good enough for this policy goal to be successful.

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Sustainable and Resilient Cities: Liverpool, a podcast series made by and with PhD Students

Abi O’Connor & Ronnie Hughes, Sociology, University of Liverpool, 2018 Cohort

Our podcast series, Sustainable and Resilient Cities: Liverpool, explores work being carried out by PhD researchers during the COVID19 pandemic, highlighting how many are carrying out research that will help respond. and inform and maybe even influence what the City Region is doing to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic.

This is a series of conversations about stuff that not only matters to us as researchers but might also be of interest to a wider audience. That is why we have chosen this method of getting postgraduate conversations out to a wider world.

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“Take one day at a time and find ways to move forward”

Cath Hill, Social Work, University of Lancaster, ESRC Alumni

On the morning of the 23rd May 2017, a year and a half into my PhD studies at Lancaster University, I composed an email to my supervisors. It was quite matter of fact in tone, I simply informed them that my youngest son and I had been at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, when a suicide bomber detonated a bomb. I told them that I was OK, and I just thought I should let them know.

When I think back, I truly believed that at the time, I did think I was OK. As messages from friends and family came in, I started to think that I should feel more than just OK, after all, everyone was telling me how lucky we were. I recall standing with people as they hugged me and smiled and said how pleased they were to see me. I remember forcing a smile and thinking to myself, what is wrong with you? My son had just escaped death or serious injury and yet the last thing I was feeling was lucky.

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