Our team

Who's who in the PhD Academy



Rita Astuti
Director, PhD Academy and LSE ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership
+44 (0)20 7955 7206   

I am a Professor in the Anthropology Department at the LSE, where I was a PhD student some years back… On and off, for the past 30 years, I have done ethnographic research in a small fishing village in Madagascar. In my work, I explore how people experience and think about family and kinship, how they understand group and gender identity, how they represent death and the ancestors. To address some of these issues, I have collaborated with developmental psychologists, and I have since worked to promote a closer integration between the study of culture and mind.

 At the LSE, I have supervised many Anthropology 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. 

See further details Rita Astuti, Department of Anthropology

Marcus Cerny
Deputy Director, PhD Academy
+44 (0)20 7955 6766

I joined the LSE PhD Academy in 2016 having worked in Higher Education for over 20 years at UCL, Imperial College and SOAS, including 14 years in HE management. Most recently I was responsible for postgraduate research support at SOAS, where I was involved in the establishment and running of the SOAS Doctoral School.

I support the Director in the strategic development of the PhD Academy with responsibility for the effective operational management of Academy activity. I look forward to working with students and colleagues throughout the School as we aim to provide the best graduate school experience for doctoral students and to support postgraduate research provision across LSE. I am also the Secretary of the Research Degrees Subcommittee.

Matthew Brack
PhD Academy Assistant Director
+44 (0)20 7955 7153

I graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree in Chemistry in 1993. I joined LSE in 1997 and have been Assistant Director of the PhD Academy   since its inception in 2016. Prior to this I was Deputy Manager of the Research Degrees Unit. I advise staff and students on all aspects of research degree procedures and regulations including the MPhil/PhD examination process, registration, appeals, tuition fees, and difficult cases.

I also 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.

Kirsty Rawlings
Research Partnerships Manager
+44 (0)20 7955 6363 

I graduated with a BA (Hons) in History in 1993. I 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.

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.

Loraine Evans
Events and Communications Manager
+44 (0)20 7955 7761

I graduated, as a mature student, with a BA (Hons) in English in 2005 and joined LSE in 2011 from the London Business School. I spent a year with the Department of Mathematics as their Research Administrator and joined the the Research Degrees Unit in April 2012.

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 also act as Secretary to the Research Students Consultative Forum.

Faith Corby
Events and Communications Officer
+44 (0)20 7955 6385

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.  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. 

Shuma Begum
Research Degrees Officer
s.s.begum@lse.ac.uk / submit an enquiry
+44 (0)20 7955 6079

I joined the PhD Academy in 2018, prior to which I worked in several Higher Education Institutions.  As Research Degrees Officer my main area of responsibility is the MPhil/PhD examination process. Alongside this I am responsible for processing all changes in registration status, including requests to undertake fieldwork and any periods of interruption.

Sangeeta Banerjee                                                                                                                                PhD Academy Assistant                                                                                            phdacademy@lse.ac.uk                                                                                                                   +44 (0)20 7955 6607

I joined the PhD Academy in 2018 having previously worked in a number of Higher Education Institutions as well as in the voluntary and private sectors. As the PhD Academy Assistant my main role is to support the key functions of the Academy Team in delivering its student-facing activities to PhD students including Research Council activities, events and communications support, dealing with PhD queries and the delivery of administration of processes around registration and examination. I also look after PhD Academy inbox answering queries via email and answering the phone.