The Team and How to Contact Us

The PhD Academy office is open Monday-Friday, 10.00-16.00. We are  closed for lunch between 12.30 and 13.30.

Meet the PhD Academy Director

Bingchun Meng

Director, PhD Academy and LSE ESRC Doctoral Training Centre


I am a Professor in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE, where I also co-direct the LSE-Fudan Global Public Policy Research Centre. My research interests include political economy of media industries, communication governance, gender and the media, and comparative media studies. I am mainly concerned with how institutional forces shape media and communication, and how communicative activities and digital technologies are implicated in the formation of culture, identity and political engagement. 

Focusing on China as my main empirical site, I aim to advance related academic debates by historicising and retheorising state-market and state-society relations in non-liberal contexts through the lens of media and communication.  

At the LSE, I have supervised many Media and Communication PhD students; this is the aspect of my academic job that I enjoy the best, because that is how I learn the most. As Director of the PhD Academy, I have responsibility for enhancing the PhD research environment, for overseeing the activities of the Academy’s team, and for liaising with funders. In addition, I have the privilege of meeting and exchanging ideas with PhD students from across the School. 

You can contact Bingchun to discuss any aspect of your experience as a PhD student. Email her at to arrange a virtual or in person meeting.


Meet the PhD Academy Manager

Peter Mills

PhD Academy Manager

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I lead the PhD Academy professional staff team, oversee all PhD Academy operations, and work with the Director of the PhD Academy, the Chair of the Research Degrees Sub-Committee and the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research in developing and implementing strategy and policy relating to postgraduate research (PGR) students, and in representing PGR interests in committees and working groups across the University.

I previously managed research degree programmes in the Department of Geography and Environment at the LSE. I was also a member of the LSE UNISON branch committee during the pandemic.

I joined the LSE after managing the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Safe and Trusted Artificial Intelligence, a collaboration between King's College London and Imperial College London. I also worked previously for the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes, where I did my BA, MA and PhD in History. I also have a Graduate Diploma in Law, though I forget quite how that happened...

To contact me, please email me at

Meet the LSE SPRING Manager

Maria-Christina Vogkli

Research Officer in Business Outreach - LSE SPRING Manager

maria-Christina Picture_Maria-Christina Vogk

Currently, I serve as a Research Officer in Business Outreach managing an initiative of the PhD Academy called LSE SPRING. LSE SPRING aims to bridge the gap between academia and other sectors. As part of this role, I create collaborations between PhD researchers and non-academic organisations and organise activities and programmes that support students develop as researchers and explore various professional pathways. This includes offering work-based learning opportunities, micro-internships, training, and events that equip students with the skills and knowledge to operate in various research contexts.

I I have a PhD in Sociology from LSE and I currently work as a Guest Teacher at the LSE Sociology Department. My thesis was an urban ethnography exploring the interconnection of homelessness, urban space and care. During my PhD, I worked in various teaching and research positions in different Departments and Divisions of the School, such as the Sociology and the Management Departments, Executive Education, LSE Life and the Eden Centre.

I am also a member of LSE's Homelessness Initiative. Outside academia, I have worked as a freelance Research and Policy Consultant. I am also an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. My hobbies include art, politics and taking long walks by the Thames.

To contact me, please email me at

Meet the Research Degrees Management Team

Freya Grisoni

PhD Academy Assistant Manager (Casework and Records)

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I compile statistics and data for internal and external purposes, for instance the School's submission and completion rates, REF student data and ESRC/AHRC submission rate surveys.  I am also the Secretary of the Doctoral Programme Directors Forum.

Before joining the PhD Academy, I worked in the Department of Management for several years in taught and executive programme delivery. Prior to that I worked in the charity sector and have a BSc in Sociology from LSE. 

To contact me, please email me at, or book appointments via the PhD Academy book-an-appointment form.


Liudmila Pliner

Research Degrees Officer

Pliner_portrait_Liudmila Pliner

As a Research Degrees Officer, my primary responsibilities include supporting research students with queries related to their PhD programmes, administering examinations and advising students and staff on all elements of PGR registration and examinations.

I graduated with a PhD in Higher Education Internationalisation and Educational Strategies and Practices from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart (Italy) in 2022. I did my master's and bachelor's degrees in International Management and Economics in France and Russia. I joined the LSE with the background of administrating a research unit and an international relations office at a business school, as well as teaching experience.

To contact me, please email me at, or book appointments via the PhD Academy book-an-appointment form.


Shuma Begum

Research Degrees Officer

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I assist PhD candidates with examination entry queries and thesis submissions. I also support the arrangements for viva examinations, engaging with PhD supervisors, PhD programme managers and external examiners. I can also be contacted with queries about PhD student registry changes, change of circumstances requests and, generally, anything to do with supporting PhD research. 

 To contact me, please email, or book appointments via the PhD Academy book-an-appointment form.


Meet the Events & Communications Team

Loraine Evans

Events & Communications Manager

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I have been with the PhD Academy since its inception in 2016. I support the Director of the PhD Academy in the administration and development of the events programme for PhD Students. I am responsible for developing networks with partner institutions alongside managing communications across a range of media. 

 I previously worked in the Department of Mathematics and the Research Degrees Unit. I earned a BA and MA from QMUL in English Literature, both taken as a mature student.

To contact me, please email or

Faith Langley

Events & Communications Officer

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I am responsible for our webpages, communications and social media feeds and support the running of the PhD Academy events programme. Alongside this I support the Research Partnerships Manager when required.

I graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical science in 2013 from Kingston University. Prior to joining the LSE in 2016 I worked at Kingston University looking after MSc students in Engineering. 

To contact me, please email

Meet the Research Partnerships Management Team

Kirsty Rawlings

Research Partnerships Manager

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I have been with the PhD Academy since its inception in 2016. I manage processes to ensure compliance with ERSC reporting and accreditation requirements.  As the LSE ESRC nominated contact I am responsible for developing relationships with the wider DTP network.  I also provide advice, guidance and support to students, academics and administrative staff on key Research Council initiatives, workshops, conferences and events.  

I am the lead for the LSE DTP Training Needs Analysis and the ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowships recruitment processes.I graduated with a BA (Hons) in History from Essex University and joined LSE in 2014 as Senior Administrator to the Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) having previously worked in the voluntary, education and public sectors in contract compliance and administration.

Dr David Tiedemann

PhD Academy Assistant Manager (Research in Practice)

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I lead on Research in Practice a core component of skills training for PhD students funded by The ESRC. Research in Practice, through placements in industry, individual support, and professional development opportunities, works to improve students’ awareness of the career paths open to them and helps them to develop the skills to progress to academic and non-academic careers. 

I worked previously in secondary education on access to university, in both a single comprehensive school in Wembley, and later for Ark, a large multi-academy trust. Before that, I completed a PhD at UCL in history.

To contact me, please email

Joe Macdonald

Research Partnerships Officer

download_Loraine Evans

I assist in providing advice, guidance and support to students, academics and administrative staff on key Research Council initiatives, workshops, conferences and events. I also provide support to the Research Partnerships Manager with the the ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowships recruitment processes.

 I graduated with a PhD in History from Queen Mary University in 2023. I did my master's here at LSE in the Department of International History and my BA at the University of East Anglia. Before joining the PhD Academy I worked as an assessment officer in the Department of Social Policy the LSE, with a previous background in administration and teaching at a number of London universities.

 To contact me, please email