UNIQ+ Social Science

UNIQ+ is the name for Oxford's graduate access summer school. Between 5 July and 13 August, the SSD welcomed 16 social science undergraduates from under-represented background to participate in UNIQ+ Social Science. Beginning with a week of intensive workshops in data science methods, they then participated in a 5-week long research internship with research projects from across the Division. The supervised internships covered topics such as Pandemic Governance, Heritage Conservation, Rethinking Business Performance, and Refugee Economies. They enabled the interns to experience what it might be like to be a DPhil student in Oxford. Their experience culminated with a conference at which they presented their findings to academic colleagues and the wider UNIQ+ team. This intensive UNIQ+ programme was complemented by 'UNIQ+ online' which has offered mentorship and a range of online talks and discussion groups to a further 30 social science participants. 

This year was the first time the SSD had participated in UNIQ+. The quality of the participants was outstanding. The overall scheme received around 800 applications, of which nearly 300 were in the social sciences. My own research programme ('Refugee Economies') took 5 social science interns, and it was a great experience for everyone. Our interns were diverse in terms of race, gender, and socio-economic background, and all had done undergraduate degrees outside Oxbridge and generally in non-Russell Group institutions. The team worked on a shared project relating to 'Gender and the Economic Lives of Refugees' being given access to our quantitative and qualitative data. Within just 5-weeks they produced a draft working paper exploring female refugee entrepreneurship and the gendered income gap between refugees in East Africa. Several are now contemplating graduate study in the social sciences, including at Oxford.

UNIQ+ Social Science has been a fantastically worthwhile experience all round. It relied on the willingness and generosity of academic colleagues across the Division to either offer a summer research internship to one or more interns (selected by the academics) or to be willing to make a couple of hours to mentor one of our digital participants. The scheme will continue next year -- in fully in-person format -- and I hope we will be able to expand it to many more of the very qualified social science applicants.  Do get in touch if you'd like more information on how to get involved. 

Alexander Betts

Associate Head of SSD (Graduate and Research Training)