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Research excellence across the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Across the Faculty our mission is to produce research of an excellent quality – both individually and in collaboration
Adrian Smith, Professor of Human Geography, Dean for Research (Humanities and Social Sciences)

Training the next generation of academic stars

Our research grant funding is almost £7 million annually, and more than £1 million of that is invested in scholarships for research students. These include collaborative doctoral awards with an inspiring range of cultural institutions. Students are currently working with the Institut Francais, the V&A Museum of Childhood, and the British Museum, amongst others.

Our doctoral students play an active part in the academic and cultural life of Queen Mary and we offer a great range of scholarship opportunities to attract the best-qualified students. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded London Interdisciplinary Social Science DTP (LISS DTP), a partnership between Queen Mary University of London, King’s College London, and Imperial College London, provides social science research students with a unique opportunity to join and develop a research community that springs from the interface between the social science disciplines with health and medicine, the natural and physical sciences, engineering, and the arts and humanities.

The LISS DTP provides studentships in the social sciences, allowing students to work with some of the world’s leading experts in areas that include 1) health, well-being and social inclusion 2) economics and business 3) language, culture and education 4) the environment and urban life and 5) security and governance organised into 13 Thematic Pathways.

We are also involved as an associate member of the AHRC-funded London Arts and Humanities Partnership, which allows our research students to benefit from training and opportunities in common with Kings’ College, University College London, and the School of Advanced Study.

Innovative cross-disciplinary collaboration

The Faculty actively promotes collaboration across all of its member schools and departments, through its Queen Mary Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IHSS) which brings together the Faculty’s established research centres, via an annual programme of activity.

Understanding the interaction between the individual human being and the modern social world is one of the key intellectual challenges of our time. The Centre for Mind in Society investigates how an individual’s cognitive capacities structure, and are structured by, social environments within which the individual is embedded. The Centre brings together researchers from the psychological, social, linguistic, computational, medical and biological sciences with an interest in this question, using a wide range of methodologies, spanning computational modeling of neural anatomy, to quantitative modeling of large data-sets, to the philosophical and historical analysis of thought and language.

Strong links with industry and other non-academic partners

Intellectual Property excellence

Part of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary’s Intellectual Property Research Institute is world-renowned for expertise in intellectual property law. Academics at QMIPRI work closely with practitioners bringing together scholarly research excellence and professional practice to the benefit of all concerned.

QMIPR work closely with the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) and undertake the education of trainee patent attorneys and those seeking to enter the profession with programmes for patent and trade mark professionals that are among the most respected in the UK, attracting scholars from all over the world. CIPA has been an important part of QMIPRI's research life as well, making significant contributions to the IP Archive at Queen Mary, which is one of the finest specialist intellectual property collections in Europe.

Leading the research agenda

Much of the work taking place across the Faculty is making a unique contribution to the established body of knowledge and breaking new ground. For example, the Centre for Equality and Diversity (CRED) is a world-leading centre for equality and diversity research. CRED has received in excess of £750,000 in grants from European and UK bodies.

Based in the School of Business and Management, CRED has built strong alliances with colleagues in the Schools of Geography and Law, as well as further afield with international universities and institutions. This has led to publications, such as the Palgrave collection, Equality, inequalities and diversity; contemporary challenges (Palgrave 2010) edited by Professor Geraldine Healy, Professor Gill Kirton and Professor Mike Noon, as well as successful funding bids such as the AHRC-funded Promoting Equality through Economic Crisis (PEDEC), a successful research network.

PEDEC brings together scholars, practitioners and activists from the UK, Europe, and the US for a series of workshops to explore the implications of the current economic downturn. See the PEDEC website for podcasts of previous workshops.

Contributing to the UK’s cultural life

Many of our academics enjoy close working relationships an impressive range of cultural institutions, acting as committee members and special advisors, staging conferences and symposia, as well as taking part in valuable collaborative research.

Our academics also regularly appear in the media, offering expert analysis and commentary on news stories, as well as hosting their own shows on both television and radio. To take just one example: Professor Amanda Vickery, Professor of Early Modern History, has written and presented several history series for BBC2 and BBC Radio 4 on diverse themes from historical novels and love, to consumerism and kinship. Amanda Vickery also reviews for the Guardian, the LRB, the TLS, and BBC Radio 4's Woman’s Hour, Saturday Review and Front Row.

Successful record of winning prestigious research funding

The Faculty has an excellent track record of winning research funding. A few recent highlights include:

Creativeworks, London: one of four ‘Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy’ in the UK

£4m AHRC (2011-15)
Queen Mary is leading a consortium of universities, businesses and arts organisations in one of four ‘Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy’ in the UK. Known as Creativeworks, London each Hub has an equal share of £16m funding from the AHRC to build new partnerships and commercial opportunities between academia and the creative industries, museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions.  

Exploring the Irish peace process, collecting stories from participants

€1.1m, European Union’s Peace III programme (2011 – 2014)

Sean McConville is working with Dundalk Institute of Technology and Trinity College Dublin to record the stories of over 100 key players in the Irish peace process. Preserving their memories now is important as many are elderly. The project will also train and equip local people in border areas to collect their own stories about conflict and peace. For more information, read the news release.   

Who were the nuns? A Prosopographical Study of the English Convents in exile 1600-1800

£600,000, AHRC
A comprehensive study of the membership of the English convents in exile over the period 1600-1800, this project’s aim is not only to profile individual nuns, but also to understand how the convents managed to recruit and survive against a backdrop of war, plague, and political unrest in mainland Europe and England. For more information, see:

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