skip to content

Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership


Professor Richard Rex, Director of the Cambridge AHRC DTP

Richard Rex is the Professor of Reformation History in the Faculty of Divinity and a Fellow of Queens’ College, Cambridge. His own research interests focus on the interaction between religion, politics, and ideas in early modern England and Europe, and his most recent book is The Making of Martin Luther (Princeton UP, 2017). Many years as Secretary of the Degree Committee in his faculty (2011-17) and as Graduate Tutor in his college (2010-17) reflect his commitment to postgraduate research, training, and welfare. With a career that includes two years as a fast-stream trainee in HM Treasury and three years as an assistant under-librarian in Cambridge University Library, he appreciates the importance not only of relating academic research and training to the wider concerns of society but also of ensuring that universities continue to cultivate the life of the mind as one of the most characteristically human of all activities. 




Dr Alistair Swiffen, AHRC Doctoral Training Facilitator

Alistair is responsible for coordinating and developing the Cambridge AHRC DTP’s core training strands in Arts and Humanities Research Methods and Research Leadership. He oversees individual training needs analysis and support for PhD students of the Cambridge AHRC DTP, and offers one-to-one follow-up advice relating to funding for fieldwork, internships and other high-cost training initiatives.

He also arranges the DTP’s Media, Film, Social Intelligence and World Factory training options, as well as the Student-Led Research and Reading Groups Competition. Together with Chris Young, he supports the student organizing committee for the DTP’s International Conference.

After finishing a PhD in French at the University of Cambridge (Trinity Hall), Alistair spent five years as a Fellow in Modern Languages and Tutor in French at Hertford College, Oxford. He then spent a year teaching French and German at Rugby School, followed by four-and-a-half years as Visiting Lecturer in English, French and German at Eötvös József College in Hungary, where he was also Institutional Coordinator for the ERASMUS Exchange Scheme. He returned to Cambridge in 2014, to take up his current position as the AHRC Doctoral Training Facilitator.

Alistair’s own PhD thesis explored how madness, psychological alienation or psychosis were characterized in the works of the nineteenth-century poet and short fiction writer Gérard de Nerval, the key surrealist author Robert Desnos, and the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. His main publications have examined Desnos, Lacan, the modernist poet Guillaume Apollinaire, the thinkers Gilles Deleuze and Slavoj Žižek, and Louis Wolfson, the influential American schizophrenic author whose works are written in French.


Catherine Hasted, AHRC Partnerships Manager

Catherine is responsible for connecting Cambridge AHRC DTP students with a broad range of non-academic organisations from across the globe through a variety of tailor-made programmes.  These unique opportunities include masterclasses with senior leaders from diverse fields, internships and longer-term interactive programmes.  Organisations we regularly work with include Arts Council England; BP; British Telecom; NATO; United Nations; Department for Culture, Media and Sport; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung; Marshall Group Cambridge; the publisher Springer Nature; Wimbledon; and the media production companies Brook Lapping and History Works. 

This year, together with Professor Young, Catherine is launching a new initiative, The University of Cambridge ThinkLab, developed specifically for Arts and Humanities PhD students.  This exciting programme connects PhD students with the brightest minds from organisations to generate innovative solutions to complex, live problems. To date we have worked closely with architects Jestico and Whiles and the leading architectural consultancy firm Colander Associates to design a new multi-million pound building.  Current ThinkLabs include working with the national charity The Reading Agency and B Lab UK – an inspiring new global venture. 

Prior to joining the University, Catherine was Chief Operating Officer for a national charity, with responsibility for the operations and growth of the organisation.  Catherine is currently studying for her PhD in educational research and has developed the ThinkLab model.  She is part of a national research group comprising seven researchers from across the UK, focusing on change management and learning within organisations.