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Bloomsbury Scholars Praise Cross-College Collaboration for International Development

The advantage of working across academic disciplines ‚ the raison d'etre of LIDC, has been praised by PhD student scholars carrying out international development research. The two Bloomsbury scholars benefit from both being jointly supervised by academics with expertise in different disciplines from various Colleges making up LIDC. This interdisciplinary approach helps to guide their work and improve the rigour of their research. The scholars are also members of LIDC and support the initiative to encourage cross-College collaboration.

Investigating bird flu
PhD student Guillaume Fournie is studying bird flu outbreaks in Vietnam at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). He is supervised by Dr Javier Guiti√°n, of RVC, and Dr Punam Mangtani
, of LSHTM, and Professor Azra Ghani, of Imperial College, London.  Fournie, who qualified to be a vet in Alfort in his native France, will undertake field work in Vietnam to learn about how live bird markets spread bird flu.  His surveillance work is designed to examine transmission routes and recommend controls for live bird markets. It draws upon the epidemiological strengths of RVC and the fieldwork expertise of LSHTM.  Fournie said: ‚ÄúIt is a great balance between the two units at the two Colleges. I benefit from being able to combine aspects of the different disciplines. Live bird markets are an important link in the spread of the disease in Vietnam, where chicken is an important source of protein and income for poor households. I wanted to do something relevant and I want to have an impact upon policymaking.

Understanding human rights education
Fellow student, American Sam Mejias is studying human rights education at the Institute of Education (IoE) and Birkbeck. He is supervised by Dr Hugh Starkey, of IoE, and Professor John Annette, of Birkbeck. Mejias, who completed his Masters in International Educational Development at Columbia University in New York, is investigating the human rights education programmes of several prominent UK Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), including Amnesty International, Unicef UK and the British Institute of Human Rights. This builds on his previous work helping to educate children in New York about human rights through Global Kids – a human rights education NGO. His current ethnographic research involves visiting primary and secondary schools and assessing the different approaches used to promote human rights education and the effectiveness of these approaches. Mejias said: ""I am being matched with two supervisors who are incredibly accomplished in the field and they have an interest in what I am doing. The Bloomsbury scholarship has been great for my academic and professional development"".

Fournie and Mejias have been awarded fully-funded studentships (tuition fees and a living allowance) by The Bloomsbury Colleges ‚ a consortium of six colleges of the University of London: Birkbeck, IoE, LSHTM, RVC, School of Oriental and African Studies, and The School of Pharmacy. The Consortium offers twelve PhD Studentships annually, each lasting three years. LIDC is the flagship intellectual project of the The Bloomsbury Colleges.
By Guy Collender, Communications Officer, LIDC