Doctoral provision project

Adventures in all things PGR.

A quick catch up...

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It’s my last day in before a bit of a holiday so a chance to have a quick catch up on things that have been happening and to highlight a couple of great activities that are on the horizon…

Workshop 9 January

The first of our team workshops took place on 9 January in the Edge. 22 staff from across the three Graduate Schools, the School of Management, Skills and Careers came together to talk about how we can work together to build a stronger sense of Doctoral community and what improvements we could make to the experience of our doctoral students.

The first question we set ourselves was “How can we make sure all new doctoral researchers get a great welcome and induction including those who arrive outside of the main September / October intake period and those who are not on campus for the start of their studies?” Breaking into small groups we talked about what was working well or not so well in our own areas, brainstormed some new ideas and thought about whether there were existing activities or ways of doing things that weren’t serving our students well. We then came back together as a group to discuss. The aim of the session was to generate as many ideas as possible and the teams didn’t disappoint. It was great to hear so many examples of creative thinking applied in different areas. Some of the things we talked about were:

  • How to make our communications with new doctoral students more engaging, relevant and useful
  • The benefits and practicalities of peer mentoring arrangements
  • Specific challenges around induction and some strategies that have been trialled
  • Support for students who start mid-year
  • The particular needs of professional doctorate students and the importance of the residentials to their early experience

We had a brief stop for tea and scones (purely to fortify us for some more hard thinking of course) and then ploughed on to consider “What can we do to make sure that all of our doctoral students (including those who are studying part time or from a distance) have the best possible experience and feel part of a vibrant research community?” Some of the points we touched on here were:

  • Recognising and supporting multiple layers of community
  • How to encourage and better support student-led activities
  • How to support on line communities especially for students who are not campus-based
  • How to catalyse cross-faculty / interdisciplinary networking
  • Better support and guidance for students and supervisors
  • Considering what relevant activities and support we should provide for students in their second and third years
  • Making sure skills training is what students need and taking advantage of technologies

Thank you again to those who took part. As you can see from this summary the first workshop highlighted a range of challenges and solutions all of which will continue to be shared and discussed across the University. I’ll provide an overview of the other three workshops in future posts.

Research Rocket on 2nd March

Do come along to the University’s Research Rocket event on Thursday 2 March to find out how our doctoral students and early career researchers are making a difference in helping to create healthy futures. Chaired by the Pro Vice Chancellor (Research) Professor Jonathan Knight, the event will run from 17.15 to 19.30 in 10W 2.47 and will include an opportunity for drinks and networking.  There is already an exciting list of confirmed speakers from across the faculties and School of Management. If you aren't able to join us in person the event will be livestreamed
You can find out more and register your interest at

Three Minute Thesis

This year’s 3MT Faculty Heats will take place on Wednesday 29 March in the Graduate Centre at the University of Bath. These will feed through to the University’s 3MT Final, to take place on Saturday 6 May as part of the University of Bath Festival. The Three Minute Thesis challenges doctoral students to explain their PhD research and its significance to a non-specialist audience in only three minutes using only one slide and no props. A great chance to hone your presentational skills.

I look forward to talking again in a few weeks’ time. In the meantime do continue to let me have any thoughts, suggestions and comments about our doctoral provision at

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