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Fieldwork in Washington

Univ Old Members’ Trust Graduate Conference Report – Ashley Wright (DPhil, Politics)

Thanks to the generosity of Univ’s Old Members’ Trust, I have been able to begin my fieldwork in Washington, D.C. during Hilary Term 2022. The funding I received covered my cost of travel and has enabled me to have access to academic resources through Georgetown University as a Visiting Researcher in the Department of Government.

My doctoral research focuses on how the political structure of the US government influences its foreign aid allocations. As a significant global contributor of foreign aid, with a reputation as a strategic donor, the US is an extremely relevant case to the debate about whether foreign aid increases development. Understanding and modelling US aid allocation is complicated by its extensive, complex aid architecture, which involves the president, Congress, and two dozen executive agencies. Unravelling this puzzle of political dynamics is at the heart of my doctoral research.

Being here in D.C. has already proved highly motivational as I frequently pass Congress on my way to research the intricacies of the Congressional committee system in the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress has been a wonderful resource, enabling me to access relevant committee hearings, which are already proving vital to my research. Additionally, I look forward to beginning interviews later in the spring to complement this archival research. I am eager to see how my time here continues to unfold, confident of the beneficial impact on my work, and immensely grateful for the funding to support my work.

Find out more about the range of travel grants and scholarships available to assist Univ students on our Travel Grants page or read further travel reports.

Published: 30 March 2022

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