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Queen Mary academic to lead interdisciplinary social science partnership

Pietro Panzarasa, Professor of Networks and Innovation at Queen Mary University of London, has been appointed the Director of the London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (LISS DTP).

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LISS DTP is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to give social science research students a community springing from the disciplines’ interface with health and medicine, natural and physical sciences, engineering, and arts and humanities. It works to build national and international research capacity, by providing interdisciplinary training and mobilising connections to and from the social sciences across its member institutions.

The partnership brings Queen Mary together with London’s other Russell Group institutions, King’s College and Imperial, but Prof Panzarasa’s Director appointment is the first time that Queen Mary has taken such a leading role in the initiative. As Director, Prof Panzarasa will play a key part in driving progress on interdisciplinary priorities in the ESRC’s Strategic Plan for economic performance and sustainable growth.

Prof Panzarasa said: “I am really excited and honoured to take over leadership of LISS DTP. This new role will give me an invaluable opportunity to design world-class training and develop a unique interdisciplinary research community interested in key problems and global societal challenges across a breadth of social science disciplines. I look forward to engaging with partner institutions, and helping research students to harness the cutting edge of methodologies and venture into uncharted territories of the social sciences.”

As Director of Graduate Studies in Queen Mary’s School of Business and Management, Prof Panzarasa has a wealth of experience in supporting doctoral students and enriching the student experience, as well as a deep knowledge of collaborative interdisciplinary research and academic leadership.

His own research focuses on the structural foundations of social capital in networked communities – drawing on network science, computational social science, and big data analytics to study social interaction dynamics and the performance implications of social structure in large complex networks – which has not only attracted significant financial support, but also attention from policymakers and corporate partner organisations. 

Outgoing LISS DTP Director Professor Magnus Ryner commented: “It has been an honour to serve as Director of LISS DTP in a year when we have made 65 scholarship offers to outstanding students and provided about 40 courses in core and advanced methods training. I am passing on the baton to Pietro at an exciting time when LISS will seek recommissioning; onwards and upwards, Pietro!”   

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