MoDS: Mapping Knowledge with Data Science

I’m really excited to announce the latest addition to our growing stable of computational geography research: a fully-funded ESRC studentship involving the application of cutting-edge techniques (text-mining, topic modelling, graph analysis) to a large, rich data set of 450,000 PhD theses in order to understanding the evolving geography of academic knowledge production: how are groundbreaking ideas produced, circulated, and ultimately succeeded, and how do issues such as researcher mobility and institutional capacity shape this process?

We’re looking for a stellar candidate (either undergraduate or Masters-level) with a demonstrable interest in interdisciplinary research – you will be working at the intersection between disciplines and this will present unique challenges (and opportunities!) that call for resourcefulness, curiosity, and intellectual excellence.

Project Overview

The British Library manages EThOS, the national database of UK doctoral theses, which enables users to discover and access theses for use in their own research. But the almost complete aggregation of metadata about more than 450,000 dissertations also enables us to begin asking very interesting questions about the nature and production of knowledge in an institutional and geographic context across nearly the entire U.K., and this anchors the project in quintessentially social science questions about the impact of individuals, work, and mobility on organisations and cultures.

However, textual data of this scale is solely interpretable and navigable through ‘distant reading’ approaches; so although it remains rooted in the interests and episteme of the social sciences, the research involves genuinely interdisciplinary work at the interfaces with both the natural sciences and the (digital) humanities! At its heart, this project is therefore an exciting example of ‘computational social science’ (Lazer et al. 2009) in that it involves the application of cutting-edge computational techniques to large, rich data sets of human behaviour.

Ultimately, this project seeks to understand changes in the U.K. geography of academic knowledge production over time and across two or more disciplines. All applicants are therefore expected to demonstrate an interest in the underlying social science research questions and (at a minimum) basic competence in programming. Additionally, the successful applicant for the 1+3 route would be expected to successfully complete King’s MSc Data Science programme, while the successful +3 applicant would be expected to demonstrate a degree of existing facility with core analytical approaches.

For more information on the project, please see here.

Studentship type

1+3 (1 year Masters + 3 year PhD) or +3 (PhD only), subject to candidate’s existing academic/professional background. For applicants with a social science background we are suggesting King’s MSc Data Science programme. For applicants with a natural science background we will need to discuss how best to achieve a grounding in the social sciences.

Application deadline

31 January 2018


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Asia-GuerreschiI am currently enjoying…. MSc Climate Change: Environment, Policy and Science. Arriving at King’s from a Bachelor Arts in Communication, yet continuously passionate about protecting the planet with volunteering work in several charities, like the Jane Goodall Institute Italia, this program has opened a whole new way of looking at this topic. Continue reading

Student profile : Melanie Atwood

Melanie-atwoodMelanie is the newly elected Geography student representative for the year 1 BSc programme. 

I chose Geography… because I am truly passionate about the subject. Unlike other subjects, Geography is broad and involves not only the world around us, but also how we influence it directly. I particularly enjoy studying both the physical aspect of the subject such as glaciers as well as the human side, in particular sustainability. Continue reading

How to build resilience during emergency response: piloting the Christian Aid and King’s led START DEPP Linking Preparedness and Response in Emergency Contexts (LPRR) approach in Kenya

By Becky Murphy @Christian Aid and @Kings College London

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Image; © Becky Murphy, Christian Aid

“I am because we are” (John Mbiti)

It’s mid-October in rural north Kenya. The LPRR project has travelled to Marsabit, Kenya, near the Ethiopia boarder. Here, the LPRR project implements a six-day co-developed workshop to put the LPRR approach into practice alongside both Christian Aid and CAFOD’s local partners (PACIDA, MIONET, CIFA and Caritas Maralal, Marsabit and Isiolo). After two years of research and work, the team were very excited to start putting findings into practice in Kenya and compare how it might work with the pilot conducted in Myanmar in August. Continue reading

Student Profile: Emilia Sandoghdar

Emilia is the newly elected student rep for Year 1 BA Geographers.

I chose Geography because it explains the contemporary world through every possible lens. It connects the threads between the systems and spaces we interact in and lets me be a part of our global network. I am particularly interested in the cultures of urban spaces; how the city we live in can shape our identity and how we shape the city. Geography provides me with a broad palette of topics that are pressing issues right now, like the geopolitics at the Arctic or China’s growing hegemony in African countries. Continue reading

How to build resilience during emergency response: piloting the START DEPP Linking Preparedness and Response in Emergency Contexts (LPRR) approach in Myanmar

How to build resilience during emergency response: piloting the START DEPP Linking Preparedness and Response in Emergency Contexts (LPRR) approach in Myanmar

By Becky Murphy @Christian Aid and @Kings College London

becky-murphy-blog

Image: Credit to Christian Aid and their Rohingya Crises Appeal: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/emergencies

On Friday 18 August 2017, the LPRR team headed out to Myanmar to launch a new, practical approach to localisation.

After two years of research and work, the team were very excited to start putting findings into practice in both Kayin and Rakhine in Myanmar. However, we were also a little wary, knowing that we were not going into the easiest of contexts to roll out a new approach to humanitarian response. Continue reading