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Why doctoral researchers are important!

Written by Dr Katryna Kalawsky

It should come to no surprise to those that know me, even just fractionally, that I think KNOW doctoral researchers are awesome and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to work with and support such inspiring people – not just in my Doctoral College role but also as a Hall Warden! However, sometimes our doctoral community may not realise how valuable they are which is such a shame! So this blog post is an unashamedly public display of affection and something our researchers should read when they need a ‘pick me up’ because they are truly brilliant!


In March 2020, several colleagues and I took part of the Doctoral Wellbeing Week Twitter chat and were asked from @LboroDocCollege “Why are doctoral researchers important to @lborolondon @lborouniversity?”. Here are our responses…enjoy!

“Doctoral students are the heart of our research endeavours, as well as being our future researchers, lecturers and Professors! They bring such a richness of skills & experience to our community” – Dr Sophie Crouchman

“I learn so much from working with doctoral students and I remember what it means to be inquisitive, apprehensive, excited, relieved in the span of five minutes. They ensure I stay focused on the current problems and don’t take anything (least of all them) for granted. Doctoral students are thinking new thoughts and driving the field forwards but they need sympathetic and supportive guidance and that’s where I try and come in (with other colleagues)…but they support me too…” – Dr Ash Casey

“Our doctoral researchers are such an integral and enriching part of our research community” – Dr Ksenija Kuzmina

“Doctoral researchers are the most inspiring and curious and brave – and this makes my job so much more rewarding! They push the boundaries & bring new perspectives, and without this our research would stagnate. I sometimes feel that we don’t acknowledge the contributions of our doctoral researchers enough – but they are an important part of any academic environment because of their enthusiasm and willingness to learn & to share & to explore, even when it’s really hard!” – Dr Ksenia Chmutina

“They’re a crucial part of the research environment at Loughborough University and from the perspective of my role they do and amazing and valuable job as sub-wardens in our Halls of Residence, contributing to the outstanding student experience” – Dr Manuel Alonso

Where to start?! Folks may have heard me talk about the 3Vs – Vitality, Visibility and Value re doctoral researchers. DRs are individually and collectively valuable to our research, teaching, enterprise and sport, and more besides!” – Professor Elizabeth Peel

“One PGR has the same hours as three RTE staff to undertake research. Doctoral research is an (might say, the?) indicator of the research strength/culture of a dept. Relies on attracting high-calibre doctoral researchers, excellent supervision/support etc. etc” – Dr John Harrison

“Working with doctoral students is one of my favourite parts of my job. They are the ones who keep me updated with the latest developments in research and they inspire my curiosity. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to work with the doctoral students I do” – Dr Janine Coates

“Doctoral researchers are SO important! They might be a ‘minority’ student cohort but the contribution they make to the university and society is immeasurable! Not only do doctoral researchers form a massive part of our research powerhouse, they contribute towards teaching, enterprise and pastoral support (amongst MANY other things!). Put simply, Loughborough University would not be as successful as it is without doctoral researchers! We NEED them and we MUST help them to look after themselves so they can flourish” – Dr Katryna Kalawsky


So there you go, if you didn’t know it before, you know it now! Doctoral researchers are hugely important for MANY reasons!

Thank you to ALL our doctoral researchers for ALL that you do! Keep being awesome!


Please feel free to share your thoughts and advice to our doctoral researchers on this topic via the blog comments box or via TwitterAfter all, one of the many aspects of ‘kindness’ (the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020) is about taking time out for others.

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