Wednesday 31 July 2019


A London-based student has won an exciting research visit to the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. Dongkyung Shin, a research student based at King’s College London, has been awarded the first OSPA Annual Travel Bursary by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, for her original research project ‘Partnerships in universities: British strategies for new universities at the end of empire’.

This research bursary was established thanks to the generosity of the Overseas Service Pensioners’ Association (OSPA), which closed in late 2017. It provides funding for postgraduate research students working on topics related to British colonial administration and development policy to undertake research trips in support of their projects.

Dongkyung Shin said the award will enable her to add depth and detail to her research in the form of a new comparative case study. ‘Thanks to the OSPA Travel Bursary, I will visit the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies in Jamaica where I hope to find further information on staffing and staff conditions,’ she explained.

‘Given that they are the main actors of exporting British university system to the colonies, the expatriate staff’s experience and activities will give a fresh and different insight for my thesis. Research at the Jamaica Archives and Records Department will also offer administrative perspectives between the colonial/post-independence government and the University College of the West Indies. This will enable me to explore how the regional system of the University of the West Indies – serving former and current British colonies in that region – has been maintained or dissipated during the era of decolonisation.’

Dongkyung Shin has already conducted her other archival research in the UK, Ghana and Nigeria. The new research in Jamaica ‘will seek comparative materials for Britain’s strategies for the development of overseas universities at the end of empire’.

Professor Philip Murphy, director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICWS), stated, 'We are immensely grateful to OSPA for funding this annual travel bursary. It adds an important new element to the support we are able to provide to early-career scholars. I'm delighted that, in its first year, the award has gone to such a talented young researcher, and I'd like to offer my warmest congratulations to Dongkyung Shin.'

Mr David Le Breton, former secretary and treasurer of the OSPA, said: 'Former members will be gratified at the award of this first annual bursary' and, on behalf of the OSPA community, sent his best wishes to Dongkyung Shin. 

Applications for the next bursary will open in September 2019. Further information on eligibility and the application process, is available on the Institute of Commonwealth Studies website.