Q and A with Kathryn Williams, PhD intern

We caught up with Kathryn Williams who has recently spent three months as a PhD intern with WCPP. Kathryn is an ESRC funded PhD student in the School of Social Science at Cardiff University.

1. Overall, how have you found your time at the Centre?

I have enjoyed working in the Centre and have been made to feel extremely welcome by the team. Three months have flown by, during which time I have heard so much about what the Centre does during team meetings and 1:1s with staff. I also attended the Centre’s 10th-anniversary celebration in the Senedd. It was lovely to hear about all of the fascinating projects the Centre has been involved in, and to listen to the First Minister speak so positively about the Centre’s work.

2. What have you been able to do/ get involved in through your internship that you wouldn’t have been able to do without it?

This internship has enabled me to conduct research on the role of lived experience evidence in disability policy in Wales. Welsh Government has made a recent commitment to working co-productively with disabled people, and to include lived experience evidence in the policymaking process. It was exciting to work on something that potentially has more immediate application than my PhD project, and to speak to people from grassroots organisations, knowledge brokers, and people from Welsh Government about lived experience evidence and policy co-production.

3. How do you think your time at the Centre has supported your PhD studies

My time at the Centre has certainly been helpful for my PhD studies. I have a greater understanding of how research knowledge is mobilised and used by policymakers and how to write outputs that are relevant to this work. The project has also strengthened my resolve to include both patients and healthcare practitioners in my PhD project. I interviewed people who work in various organisations for my internship project, and hearing how these voices both differed and were similar strengthened the data and subsequent analysis.

4. How do you think your time at the Centre has supported your wider professional development?

This project has given me experience working on a project from start to finish in a very short time. These time constraints are not experienced during PhD study but are crucial for wider professional development. It has also allowed me to see how research experience and skills can be applied outside of – and adjacent to – academia. I also think I am more confident in writing succinctly and directly.

5. What would you say to other PhD students interested in an internship at WCPP?

I would certainly encourage them to go for it. While it can be difficult to set your PhD to one side for a few months, the experience gained is likely to strengthen your PhD when you return to it. It also helps to see how research and evidence work ‘in the real world’, which can seem quite detached from the PhD process.

CLICK HERE to read Kat’s report which is also available in easy read format.