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Global Development Institute

GDI students


The Rory and Elizabeth Brooks Doctoral College enhances engagement between postgraduate researchers and GDI academic staff to encourage innovation and collaboration in research and teaching. It provides opportunities for PhD researchers to obtain bespoke support, enabling them to become the next generation of academics, leaders and policymakers.

Here is a selection of the activities and events which take place at The Rory and Elizabeth Brooks Doctoral College throughout the year:

Research environment

The Rory and Elizabeth Brooks Doctoral College aims to create an exciting and collaborative research environment for its researchers. Regular work-in-progress seminars offer a space for students to present research findings and seek feedback from colleagues. Postgraduate research students are part of the Global Development Institute’s four research themes and associated reading groups. The Doctoral College regularly hosts masterclasses with eminent speakers such as Prof Tania LiProf Branko MilanovicProf Tim Bartley and Prof Nic van de Walle. Our PhD researchers also have access to Conference and Training Support Fund, which helps researchers prepare and present papers at international conferences and attend relevant training courses.


The Rory and Elizabeth Brooks Doctoral College supports PhD researchers throughout their study from arrival to graduation. To help new students settle into the University in their first months, the Doctoral College pairs them with existing PhD researchers. The Doctoral College also runs weekly surgeries to provide ongoing support, in addition to hosting specific support sessions with postdoctoral researchers from within the Institute, who share their experiences and can provide advice on applications and the postdoctoral process. The Looking Beyond Week also focuses on life and work beyond the PhD, the 2016 event included presentations on grant writing, raising your research profile and bridging the gap between research and policy practice.

Connecting with alumni

The Brooks Doctoral College has co-organised alumni sessions at the annual School of Environment, Education and Development postgraduate research conference, bringing back two GDI alumni to share their insights. We also regularly reach out to interview alumni to share their career paths and advice with current PhD researchers.

GDI Communications Team

The GDI Communications Team provides support to postgraduate researchers in the Brooks Doctoral College to help them disseminate their research to a wide audience. In addition, researchers are encouraged to write for the Global Development Institute Blog which brings together the latest research and news from the Institute. The team also runs skill share sessions throughout the year which provide advice and guidance on topics such as building your own website and social media for research. Finally, the team help organise the three minute thesis competition, in which students try to explain their thesis topic in three minutes or less.