Written by Professor Andrew Dainty, Director of the Graduate School.
Happy New Year to all of our PGR students! I hope that you all return to your doctoral studies having had a restful festive season and are feeling refreshed for the year ahead.
2017 promises to be an exciting one for the Graduate School as we consolidate the work done in improving services to PGRs over the past 3 years by creating a new delivery structure. The ‘Loughborough Doctoral College’ (LDC) forms an integral part of the new CALIBRE strategy, the University’s new research strategy that has been developed and championed by the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, Professor Steve Rothberg. CALIBRE explicitly recognises the crucial role that postgraduate research students play in achieving our research aspirations which raises the importance of having the right structures, systems and processes in place that enable our PGRs to make a significant contribution to the University’s research endeavour and performance.
Over the past year we have been exploring ways of improving both the administrative support for PGR (from application right through to graduation) and the ways in which we can enhance training and development opportunities for students at both of our campuses, as well as for our part-time students. Discussions with students and staff have revealed a need for a more integrated service for our PGR students which reflects that found within ‘Doctoral College’ type structures, a model increasingly favoured by leading research-intensive institutions in the UK. They act as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all things PGR, from admissions, to progression, development and preparing PGR graduates for early career research positions. Their emergence also reflects the shift in emphasis towards coordinated large-scale Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and the need for structures which promote inter-disciplinarity, more strategic delivery of training and development activity and stronger governance. LU PGRs will become members of the College, a unique and exclusive designation not afforded to taught students or staff. This will help build a stronger sense of cohort amongst PGRs beyond that experienced in their Schools and research centres.
We will be working closely with the PGR President team and the LSU’s PG Executive Officer over the coming months to make the LDC vision a reality. If you have comments or suggestions on the kinds of enhancements that you would like to see as part of this please let me know.
I wish you all a very productive and successful 2017 for your doctoral studies!
Director, Loughborough Graduate School