From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

Unit Image

Being based between the Unit and
another University department (Joanne Neary)

Joanne Neary - joined the unit in 2009, for a 1+3 studentship, received an MRes in Public Policy in 2010 and then began her PhD on the effects of urban regeneration on young people.


Sometimes being a student at the MRC involves being supervised by an academic from another department. Sitting between two departments has a number of benefits (not including the double Christmas lunches!). Your second department may provide seminars which the MRC does not (and vice versa) reflecting the departmental interests- as a student, you can ask to be added to relevant mailing lists so you are able to plan what seminars to attend. Attending seminars in your other department may also allow you to identify academics that may be useful contacts for your work (e.g. they’ve published in your field before, they’ve used similar methods in different contexts, or they seem friendly!) It was also useful to get to know students from both departments, not only does that effectively double the potential informal support network available to you, but it also allows you to discuss research issues and learn about different conferences or training programmes which the other department advertises.

Working across two departments may also provide different academic opportunities: presenting at lunchtime seminars, tutoring an undergraduate class, helping to plan a training day or social event. While each department is different, it is useful to know what each department offers and see if there are any student opportunities available.

About Me (Joanne Neary)

I am a PhD student split between the MRC/CSO SPHSU, University of Glasgow and the department of Urban Studies at Glasgow University. While I have an office at the MRC/CSO SPHSU, University of Glasgow, I am involved with some of the activities in Urban Studies. I attend meetings of a neighbourhood research group which looks at a policy or research interest group and ask members to present different aspects of the same problem. This enabled me to begin to focus on the social policy aspects of my PhD and meet academics from Urban Studies who are interested in similar research problems.

The Urban Studies department also invites students to take a 45 minute lunchtime seminar discussing their research problems and research findings- while it seemed daunting the first time I had to give a seminar, it was useful for my work as I received emails suggesting journal articles to read and different members of staff to meet with.

While the MRC/CSO SPHSU, University of Glasgow department’s students are friendly and supportive, I also made friends with some of the students in my other department. While our studentships are assessed in different ways, and are about very different subjects, it is always useful to talk about our experiences and ideas over a cup of tea/via email.