Students on the Exeter-NIAS split-site programme

Humanities split-site PhD project spans across UK and India

An exciting new initiative within the Departments of Archaeology and Drama is going from strength to strength, as an inaugural group of students and supervisors assemble for the first time in Exeter. 

The College of Humanities was delighted to welcome a delegation of staff from the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in Bangalore to the College in September.  The group were invited to see the first-class research and facilities on offer at the University and to conduct supervisory sessions with post-doctoral students commencing their studies this autumn.

The College of Humanities was awarded the two UK India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI) grants to develop split-site PhDs, in Archaeology and Drama, in December 2011. These grants enable exchanges with staff and researchers over a period of three years.   Six College studentships have so far been offered to candidates for the year 2011-12, with a further 13 appointments planned over the next two years.

The programme emanated out of the UKIERI Pioneering Metallurgy Archaeometallurgical Survey, a joint venture in 2009-11 between the Department of Archaeology at the University of Exeter and NIAS.  This provided a supportive platform for advancement of the research initiated under the aegis of the UKIERI project and brought experts and the students from UK and India under a single umbrella in order to achieve a world-class research output.

Students will study and undertake fieldwork between the Exeter and NIAS campuses.  Having co-supervisors between the two institutions is considered a tremendous opportunity for these students.

Jerri Daboo, Senior Lecturer in Drama at Exeter, says, “What is particularly exciting about the collaboration between NIAS and Exeter is the opportunity for expanding interdisciplinary research and frameworks. Performance Studies as a discipline tends to be inherently interdisciplinary, and working with experts in NIAS from fields such as cognitive science, philosophy and neurophysiology will greatly enhance the depth of this work for the doctoral students”.

Smriti Haricharan, Post-Doctoral Associate at NIAS said, “This is a new and exciting collaboration. NIAS is a multi-disciplinary institute and unique in its approach to research, and Exeter being a large institution with amazing facilities and great research means this promises to be a very productive and enterprising partnership”.

The student cohort will travel to India in the new year to work with their co-supervisors at NIAS and conduct fieldwork, which in the case of the archaeology students will mean new survey and exploration in rural Andra Pradesh. Exeter staff will join the students later in the spring for a joint research seminar at NIAS which promises to be a further exciting step forward in international and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Postgraduate research student Tathagata Neogi, says, “It has been a wonderful experience so far. Everything started off with a very useful meeting with my supervisor at Exeter, Dr. Juleff. The group all get on very well as a cohort and I am looking forward to a very productive three years”.

The second round of advertisements for studentships will be announced in the New Year. 

Date: 11 October 2012

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