Summer Doctoral Programme

The annual Summer Doctoral Programme (SDP) is one of the highlights of the OII's year. It brings together outstanding doctoral students from around the world for a fortnight of study with OII faculty and colleagues in a multi-disciplinary environment that aims to provide constructive advice and support for students' doctoral thesis research. Although students are together for only a brief two weeks of intensive teaching and learning, the peer-groups established endure over the years and deliver concrete examples of research collaboration via publications, conference panels and grant applications.

This video was produced by Dino Sossi, Colin Agur & Robbie Fordyce with contributions from the SDP 2013 staff and students.

The programme is structured around daily lectures, seminars and methods classes, aimed at developing student thinking on a range of issues central to the Internet. Tutors are drawn from the OII's own faculty, with additional guest seminars by visiting faculty. In order to provide useful advice for managing dissertation research we select tutors applying a wide range of disciplinary and methodological approaches and encourage our speakers to offer frank insights into how they have faced and overcome challenges in their own projects. Students are also expected to present and discuss their own thesis research in order to gain personal feedback from faculty and students. Annual legacy projects (such as the video above) allow students to provide a lasting resource for their friends and future peers.

The atmosphere is open, exciting, challenging, and intense (read the SDP (2003-2009): Recap, attempted). Students meet and work with a diverse group of colleagues (a considerable benefit where students may not have large academic peer-groups working on Internet-related issues in their own departments) and are exposed to a range of different disciplinary research cultures, perspectives and ideas. In order to support the development of strong peer-group connections we also provide a variety of social events which (when in Oxford) have included formal and informal dinners, a local ghost tour, football or tennis matches and the opportunity to get rather wet punting along Oxford's beautiful rivers. Student feedback for the programme has been consistently excellent.

Launched in 2003, the Summer Doctoral Programme travels overseas every two or three years to enable us to involve a broader range of institutions and faculty (Beijing 2005, Boston 2007, Brisbane 2009 and Toronto 2013) and has already gathered more than 300 alumni, many of whom are now in tenure-track positions across the field. In the words of the SDP Convenor, Dr Victoria Nash: "What has most thrilled me over the past eleven years is not the calibre of the participants (generally outstanding) or the range of tutors we have been able to attract (pretty stellar). No, it's what comes out of the Programme at the end of the two weeks - genuine lasting friendships and strong academic partnerships that have generated some really great results."

To join the growing SDP community: make sure to apply!


Flickr OII SDP set See photos from all the past years in the OII SDP Flickr Pool

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  • Catching up with the SDP alumni

    17 February 2014 SDP Blog

    posted by SDP Director Vicki NashIt’s one of the perks of convening the OII Summer Doctoral Programme that I get to keep in touch with the programme’s alumni as they complete their theses, apply for their first academic positions, and generally go on to achieve great things. When recently looking up what’s been published … [...]

  • ‘A network of really amazing people’ … students discuss their time at the SDP2013: Toronto

    27 January 2014 SDP Blog

    In 2013 the OII’s Summer Doctoral Programme visited Toronto, kindly hosted by the University of Toronto’s iSchool. In this student-produced video, the SDP2013 students discuss the programme, why Internet research is important, and share their favourite moments. [...]

  • When the revolution comes, the OII SDP will be a model for the new academic order

    13 January 2014 SDP Blog

    Further transformations in higher education are coming — and Randy Lynn (SDP2013) hopes that the future looks a bit like the OII’s Summer Doctoral Programme: encouraging international and multidisciplinary participants, collaborative and supportive relationships, and comprehensive engagement of the scholarly issues that mutually excite us. Randy is a Presidential Scholar at George Mason, with research … [...]

  • Mitigating doctoral students’ perceived isolation: the value of young scholar networks

    12 December 2013 SDP Blog

    It’s always nice to hear from SDP alumni; to find out why they applied, what they got out of the programme, and what they are up to now. Ioana Literat is a doctoral candidate at USC Annenberg, where she is studying participatory practices of collective creativity, as mediated by digital technology. She discusses her time … [...]

  • The 2014 Summer Doctoral Programme application process is now open: and we’re back in Oxford!

    4 December 2013 SDP Blog

    .. just a quick micro-post to say that the twelfth OII Summer Doctoral Programme will be held at the OII from 7-18 July 2014. The application process is now open, and the deadline is 24 February 2014. The programme is one of the highlights of the OII’s year, bringing together outstanding doctoral students from around … [...]

  • The Summer Doctoral Program and Toronto: The Meeting Place is the Message

    16 February 2013 SDP Blog

    OII Research Fellow Bernie Hogan is a regular fixture on the OII’s Summer Doctoral Programme, tutoring and leading seminars on social networking. Having obtained his PhD from the University of Toronto he is well-placed to comment on this summer’s SDP, which is being hosted by the University of Toronto’s iSchool. So why is Toronto such … [...]

  • “A unique opportunity to meet, debate with, and get to know some of the best doctoral students around the world”: Jaz Choi on the Summer Doctoral Programme

    12 February 2013 SDP Blog

    Jaz Hee-jeong Choi is the Deputy Director of the Urban Informatics Research Lab, QUT. Her research interests are in playful technology, particularly the ways in which various forms of playful interaction are designed, developed, and integrated in different cultural contexts; her current research explores designing for playful interactions to cultivate sustainable food culture in urban … [...]

  • Advice to candidates: How do I know if the SDP is right for me?

    6 February 2013 SDP Blog

    The OII’s Summer Doctoral Programme brings together doctoral students from around the world for a fortnight of study with leading academics in a multi-disciplinary environment that aims to provide constructive advice and support for students’ doctoral thesis research. SDP Director Dr Victoria Nash answers the questions of a theoretical ‘prospective candidate’ (PC)… PC: The OII’s … [...]