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Sociology, Social Policy and CriminologyPart of Economic, Social and Political ScienceOur alumni

Jana Javornik-Skrbinšek PhD in Social Policy

Umeå University, Department of Sociology in Sweden (postdoctorate)

Jana Javornik-Skrbinšek's Photo

Hi, I'm Jana Javornik-Skrbinšek and I studied PhD in Social Policy within Social Sciences: Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology at the University of Southampton.

I am impressed by the high calibre of the researchers here, and the cultural and social capital that I am exposed to is immense.

In 2005, I was contacted by one of the researchers from the University of Southampton, Dr Silke Roth, who was carrying out research on women's NGOs in countries in central and eastern Europe. One thing led to another. I was introduced to other researchers who were interested in supervising my PhD, I applied for a scholarship and won it, my employer granted me a three-year sabbatical, and here I am.

The University of Southampton offers exactly what a PhD student needs – scholarships, conference attendance funds, halls accommodation, a good place to work (I really appreciate having a desk and a computer provided) and socialise, and an intellectually stimulating and vibrant environment.

I am impressed by the high calibre of the researchers, and the cultural and social capital that I am exposed to is immense. The University supports a culture that engages and challenges students in their pursuit of learning. Moreover, members of staff are very supportive and helpful, which I really appreciate.

What did you do before starting your PhD?

I worked as the senior advisor at the Slovenian Governmental Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development, Department for Social Welfare and Social Development. I also worked as a temporary detached national expert at the European Commission (DG Employment and Social Affairs, Unit for Social and Demographic Analysis) and was co-author of Social Situation in Europe reports, 2005 and 2006.

I contributed to the World Bank Distance Learning Dialogue Series in central Asia and worked as an adviser to the Slovenian Human Rights Ombudsman. I worked in the Balkan region as an adviser to the Stability Pact Gender Task Force and in the CEE region as a programme manager. Prior to coming to the UK, I was teaching at the School of Medicine and School of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana.

Why did you choose to undertake your PhD studies?

After I finished a five-year programme in Sociology at the University of Ljubljana, I completed an international Masters programme in comparative social policy analysis in Ireland, Denmark and Italy. By that time, I knew I wanted to undertake a doctoral research in social policy to advance my research skills and knowledge.

Even though it took me about six years to finally undertake it, I had by then decided that I would do it in the UK, renowned for its high-quality education and research in social policy.

How is your PhD funded?

My PhD is funded by a studentship from Social Sciences and the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development.

What is your specific research area?

I am specialising in comparative social policy analysis. My current research is focused on the relationship between the childcare policies and female labour market integration in the countries of central and eastern Europe.

What are the benefits of doing a PhD?

I strongly believe that doing a PhD at this stage of my life presents an opportune juncture in my career to fully maximise the inimitable opportunities which it offers. I am acquiring new skills, exploring and expanding networking opportunities to enhance my research activities. I find my study both professionally and personally enriching.

In addition, my international experiences, both academic and cultural, as well as my knowledge of central and eastern Europe, make it a symbiotic experience for everyone I work with.

Doing a PhD requires resilience, determination, and persistence. You must love what you do because you are set for a long, extremely challenging (on many levels), laborious journey!

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