Postgraduate study visits

Ella Rhodes reports.

Last year nine postgraduate students travelled as far afield as Indonesia and America thanks to help from the British Psychological Society's Postgraduate Study Visits Scheme, which awards grants to students to undertake a study visit to another institution either in the UK or abroad.

Sabrina Anjara (University of Cambridge) was able to visit Indonesia as part of her research. Anjara is the Principal Investigator of a cluster-randomised controlled trial evaluating the clinical and cost effectiveness of primary mental health services. This trial is being undertaken in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, as the only place among low and middle-income countries with an existing integration of psychologists in primary care. She is comparing the local psychologists-in-primary-care framework with the World Health Organisation Mental Health Gap Action Programme.

Anjara said the visit allowed her to understand the situation in Indonesia better as well as obtaining research permits to begin data collection for the trial. She also had the opportunity to see clinical psychologists working in a primary care setting, meet regional policy-makers, and forge new collaborations. During the trip she was also invited to give a guest lecture on Global Mental Health on the World Mental Health Day to international public health students from Southeast Asia and the Pacific. She told us: ‘I gained insights on the necessary bureaucracy in conducting “real life” research and became aware of the dynamics between professions, which we often take for granted in the UK as psychologists are well recognised for professionalism and competence here.’

Anjara added that she would recommend the BPS scheme to other postgraduate students: ‘As a PhD student, I do not hold any research grants and I am not eligible for many funding sources reserved for Early Careers Researchers. As such I have had to crowdfund part of my research budget. The BPS scheme has been very helpful to me in enabling me to go to my fieldwork location, form new collaborations, and plan future research.’

Brian O’Shea, a PhD student in Social Experimental Psychology at the University of Warwick, was awarded a BPS International Study Visit Grant to visit Project Implicit at Harvard University and the University of Florida, and the Jost Lab at New York University. His research is exploring implicit biases, such as disease rates increasing racial prejudice and bankers’ system-justifying biases.

He told us the funding had allowed him to build collaborations with important research institutions, he also received support to help develop his new measures of implicit attitudes to run online. O’Shea presented his research many times while on the visit and received critical feedback from experts in his field. The visit also provided an opportunity for him to assist in writing an article which was submitted to Applied Psychology and is now collaborating on a manuscript to report the data gathered by Project Implicit over the last 10 years.

‘Overall, the visit was an immense success,’ he told us. ‘The continued connection with Project Implicit will undoubtedly help my career progress, especially when writing applications for grants in order to secure funding to answer important cross-cultural questions. I would strongly recommend other postgraduate students to take advantage of the BPS grant as it will not only improve their academic capabilities but also develop crucial collaborations and their perspective-taking skills through novel encounters with people, places and ideas,’ he said. 

- The next closing date for nominations for the grant scheme is 30 June 2017. Find more information and details on how to apply


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