This month we are going to use this editorial, not to trail what is coming up in the newsletter (as we are sure you will figure that out) but to start a conversation about how the DRN is attempting to breakdown barriers. As our network has matured and the PhD students that set it up have increasingly completed their PhDs, we want to hear from you about how you have been affected by these barriers, what you would like to see done to respond to them and how you would prioritise them.

  • The Masters student - PhD student Divide. We recognise that this is a big step up and commitment. It can be daunting if you don't have others you can talk to about what this is like. We want to open up the conversation that enables current PhD students to share their experiences with those thinking about taking this step.
  • The PhD student - Early Career Researcher Divide. We know that some of us have found that the 'Dr' title can seem to widen this artificial gap, blurring the fact that often the 'Dr' is only a few months further on. ECRs have so much to offer the PhD student having recently bee in their shoes so we want to help facilitate this conversation to demystify writing up, vivas and the early career steps that follow.
  • The Policy/Practitioner - Researcher Divide. As a network we      recognise we are well placed to bridge a gap between government/MOD/charities and academic research. Many of the spin-off initiatives we have started, for example the Counterinsurgency Forum, do exactly this and to the mutual benefit of those involved. We are really keen to champion this and ask some difficult questions to make sure that research is reaching those writing policy or working in the fields being written about.

We have spent much of the early part of this year working on reaching out to partner organisations to explore collaborations. Building on our discussions we really want to move these conversations forward and would love to hear from you if you have ideas you would like to talk to us about or if we can work with you or your organisation on these themes. Drop us an email ([email protected]) or connect on twitter!

Thank you all for your ongoing support and do talk to us about anything you need help with.

Hannah West and Jemma Humphries
Co-Chairs of the Defence Research Network

See the full newsletter here: Finishing a PhD

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