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Interdisciplinary Research

The Ottoline Club

The Ottoline Club at NCH is a faculty club for interdisciplinary discussion, which meets roughly fortnightly during term. All members of the academic staff at the College belong to the club. Meetings, usually in the late afternoon and lasting around ninety minutes, typically comprise a short talk by a colleague on a research interest of theirs, and an extended resulting conversation.

A principal aim of the club is to foster free and relaxed interdisciplinary exchange. The topics of the talks are therefore often germane to several of the humanities subjects, and occasionally the talk is itself multidisciplinary in manner and/or concerned with the methodology of teaching or research. Frequently, the colleague who speaks will be airing new ideas or expounding research which is at a fairly early stage of development. Discussion at meetings thus serves as a source of preliminary informal feedback for projects which may then be taken to other forums.

The Club is named after the celebrated Bloomsbury figure Lady Ottoline Morrell, by way of affectionate tribute to her activity as a facilitator of intellectual companionship. An account of each meeting is subsequently written by the secretary (currently Dr David Mitchell), so there is a cumulative repository of write-ups of all meetings since the first one took place in December 2012 available here for NCH faculty; and a select few are publicly available here on our academic blog.

The Cognitive Science Research Group

The Cognitive Science Research Group (CSRG) at NCH is an interdisciplinary group, comprising faculty members in philosophy and psychology, devoted to the investigation of theoretical issues surrounding the mind and brain, and the explanation of cognition and action. Areas of interest of the group include: perception (especially vision); intentionality; language; knowledge representation; computation and information processing; artificial intelligence; conative states; action.

The CSRG runs a fortnightly seminar discussing research pertaining to the cognitive sciences, occasionally in conjunction with the Philosophy Society and/or the Psychology Society, and has organised the NCH Mind and Brain Conference and Judgment: Act and Object | An NCH workshop.

The group also contributes to the Mind and Brain section of the NCH Academic Blog.

Schedule for Hilary term

All meetings will take place at 19 Bedford Square on Wednesdays from 5:30pm – 7:30pm. For further details please contact the convener Dr Brian Ball (

  • Week 1 (Jan 10): Darrell Jaya-Ratnam (Strategic Decision Making, DIEM/Birkbeck)
  • Week 4 (Feb 1): Fintan Nagle (Psychology, UCL/NCH)
  • Week 5 (Feb 7): Emanuel Viebahn (Philosophy, Humboldt)
  • Week 9 (Mar 7): Elmar Unnsteinsson (Philosophy, UCD/Iceland)
  • Week 11 (Mar 21): Chris Fox (Computer Science, Essex)

Previous speakers at the Cognitive Science Research Group seminar include: Dominic Alford-Duguid, Brian Ball, Vanessa Carr, Daniel Dennett, Kate Fisher, Marie Guillot, Alison Hall, Raamy Majeed, Jonathon McIntosh, Fintan Nagle, Philip Newell, Charles Ross, Christoph Schuringa, Ioannis Votsis, and Sam Wilkinson.

Social Theory & Public Policy Research Group

The Social Theory and Public Policy Research group is actively engaged in research concerned with and applicable to policy. Our members work in a broad range of fields related to social theory, and the aim of the group is to bring together knowledge and expertise from Economics, History, International Relations, Philosophy, and Political Science.

Our group aims to better understand decision making processes throughout history and provide academic advice to governments and other collective agencies in the UK and internationally. Our research interests include biased counsel and policy advice in historical and current settings, civil rights and discrimination, education, corruption, international development and ethics in medical patents.

NCH is the host institution for the interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed International Social Science Journal. Our group also regularly contributes to the Politics and Society section of the academic blog.