Oxford possesses a remarkable, and unrivalled, concentration of academics with an interest in studying the First World War in a global perspective and from a variety of disciplinary and methodological approaches. They are keen to supervise the most exciting research students from around the world.
Graduate students are essential to Oxford’s academic profile and to maintaining its status as one of the world’s top research universities. We take great pride in our thriving community of graduate researchers, a sizeable proportion of whose doctoral findings are subsequently published and help continually to inform (and challenge) our understanding of the world in which we live.
However the ever-shrinking sources of external funding for historical research (broadly defined) prevent Oxford from offering studentship packages to highly promising students who would otherwise choose to pursue advanced degrees at the University. Although Oxford is immensely fortunate in attracting external funding and benefiting from a large share of UK research council studentships, it is nonetheless experiencing a serious funding gap compared to its peers in Europe and North America. Meanwhile, whilst the British government has provided funding for commemorative activities, it offers no substantial support for new research initiatives (in notable contrast to the commemorative strategies of other European nations). If the centenary is to produce ground-breaking research and fresh insights from a new generation of scholars, it will require the generosity of benefactors and organisations who value what Oxford contributes to our understanding of both the past and the present.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
- Supporting graduate studentships
Our priority is to establish a number of graduate studentships, which would enable the best and brightest young scholars of the First World War to take full advantage of Oxford’s unique resources. The benefits to students and the University would, however, be reciprocal: doctoral students act as valued colleagues, often introducing their supervisors to new areas of inquiry and/or fresh methodological approaches. By encouraging these graduate students to participate fully in the Globalising and Localising the Great War project, furthermore, they would gain experience of academic life in a highly supportive environment, which would hold them in good stead should they subsequently choose to pursue an academic career.
On average, it costs approximately £31,000 per annum to fund a graduate student in the Humanities: £28,000 for Home/EU students, and £34,000 for overseas (non-EU) students. The prohibitive cost of graduate study ensures that, every year, immensely talented and highly motivated applicants who hold an offer from Oxford are forced to turn it down. The Oxford Thinking campaign has set up a Graduate Scholarship Matched Fund, which aims to match major donations to the University on a 60:40 ratio. This means that, if a donor were willing to support a doctoral student for the first two years of their course, the University would endeavour to provide funding to allow them to complete.
- Supporting post-doctoral fellowships
Early career researchers play a central role in any vibrant academic community, stimulating, challenging and inspiring postgraduate students and more established academics alike. The diminishing external funding for research in the Humanities has, however, been reflected in the reduction of post-doctoral opportunities. This prevents some of the most promising doctoral research projects from being developed fully. It also ensures that an increasingly high proportion of our most talented researchers seek employment outside of academia.
In conjunction with Oxford colleges, we are seeking to establish a number of Junior Research Fellowships for students whose research interests relate to the Globalising and Localising project. A JRF costs, on average, £27,000 per year; and we would endeavour to match any JRF position with the College of the donor’s choice.
- Sponsoring seminars, conferences and academic prizes
Seminars, workshops and conferences provide invaluable, indeed essential, forums for the communication and discussion of new research. Seminars are, however, expensive to maintain, especially if they are avowedly ‘global’ in both their theme and their list of speakers: on average, an annual seminar series costs £10,000 to run. A one-off day workshop, meanwhile, provides an ideal opportunity for young researchers to discuss their work with one another and with leading experts in the field. With both workshops and academic prizes— which are essential if Oxford postgraduates are to match the prize-laden CVs of North American students— smaller donations can achieve a great deal.
We would welcome inquiries from potential donors. For further information and details of how to support graduate studentships and post-doctoral posts, please contact:
Associate Director of Development (Academic Programmes)
T: +44 (0)1865 611531