Andrew McDiarmid

PhD Cohort 2019

HEI: University of Dundee

Funding: AHRC DTP

Project Title: ‘For want of Scots projects’: The Scottish Financial Revolution, 1688-1727 

Supervisors: Prof James Livesey and Dr Alan MacDonald, School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law

What was your research about?

Financial innovation in Scotland, including the development of banking and money. I also considered Scottish involvement in financial matters in the colonies and Europe. The picture below is a portrait painting of John Law. He was a Scottish monetary theorist and a really important figure in my work. He is famous for having murdered a rival in a duel in 1694 before escaping prison and setting up a bank in France in 1716. He also set up a trading company, which created a huge trading bubble – the Mississippi Bubble – which crashed in 1720. A chapter of my forthcoming book focuses on a proposal for a French national bank in 1701 and argues that Law was at the centre of that proposal.

Portrait of John Law (1843) by Casimir Balthazar.

What made you apply for the SGSAH AHRC DTP?

I never expected to be a doctor, it was never something that was on the cards for me. I didn’t attend university until I was 28, and once there, I found I was very well suited to academic study, and I wanted to see how far I could take it. 

Which aspects of your PhD did you enjoy the most?

I really enjoyed undertaking the research, and having the time and security offered by the SGSAH allowed me to really focus on the work and my writing. 

How has your PhD helped you to decide on a career path?

Since being an undergraduate, it was always my intention to move into academia, so the PhD has been central to my career path. 

And now?

I currently have a Saltire Fellowship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh. This is allowing me to work at University College Dublin, where I am carrying out my own research. I have also just submitted the manuscript for my first monograph. This is based on the research I undertook during my PhD. For more information about this forthcoming publication, you can visit this link

Cover of my forthcoming book.

One piece of advice you would give an incoming PhD researcher?

I found the most challenging aspect of undertaking a PhD was when I was finished. While working on my undergrad degree I had been focused on getting into a Master’s course. Then when doing the Master’s I was focused on applying for funding for the PhD. Perhaps, naively, I thought completing the PhD was the end goal, but really it was the start of new challenges.

If you are interested in a career in academia, then this means teaching and making funding/fellowship applications. This is a challenging and competitive process, and can create a lot of uncertainty and insecurity in your life. All that said, I have been fortunate in being able to access funding (although it has been a rollercoaster of emotions) and my career has been incredibly rewarding. 

Where can people find you?

SGSAH; SGSAH ResearchTwitter: @apmcdiarmid1 
Academic profile: