16 July 2021

Learning more about the Commonwealth Split-site programme

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File #1: Full report 901 KB | 72 pages

File #2: Executive Summary – a brief overview and highlights of the report 496 KB | 8 pages

The CSC has proudly offered Scholarships for Split-site doctoral study for over twenty years and is delighted to announce the launch of the 2021 programme. Since 1998, this programme has provided a unique opportunity for more than 500 Commonwealth Scholars studying for their PhDs in low or middle income Commonwealth countries to conduct one year of doctoral research at a university in the United Kingdom under the supervision of a UK-based academic. In 2019 the CSC Evaluation team celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the Split-site programme by completing an in-depth review. The analysis included direct feedback from the Scholars and supervisors involved in the programme in the form of 330 survey responses, 70 interviews, and one focus group.

Scholars highlighted that they benefited from the programme in the following ways:

  • the international experience that they gained
  • the ability to access the specialised knowledge of their UK supervisors, as well as the ability to access equipment or other resources that were not available at their home institution.
  • the building of partnerships and relationships, and the ability to explore future collaborations, were also cited as important benefits for Split-site Scholars.

“Working in the UK exposed me to a world-class laboratory environment. I was able to learn new techniques through hands-on experience and improve my own expertise. It was fulfilling for me that I could do things that are otherwise abstract back at home because there are no resources for practical experimentation.” – Quote from a Commonwealth Scholar in the 2019 review of the Split-site programme

Supervisors also reported several benefits that they realised through their involvement with the programme. At both the home and UK universities, supervisors emphasised:

  • the intercultural experience that the programme provided for their departments
  • the development of new opportunities for collaboration and partnerships
  • the unique contribution of Scholars’ research to their department’s body of work, frequently highlighting that the research stood out due to the Scholars’ ability to work on equipment not available at the home university, or that the Scholar was working with samples and data from their home country that might otherwise be inaccessible to the UK university.

Applications are now open for the 2021 Commonwealth Split-site Scholarship programme.

For a quick infographic overview of the Split-site programme and its outcomes, see the Split-site scheme Infographic.