Supervisory Team for Postgraduate Students- Roles & Responsibilities

Your Supervisory Team

All postgraduate research students will be allocated a supervisory team comprised of at least two members of staff, one or more of whom will be a member of academic staff of the University, who will support them through their academic and development programme. Whilst all supervisors are selected for their expertise and involvement in the appropriate field of study, this does not mean, of course, that supervisors already know all there is to know about the subjects they supervise! The best supervisor-student relationships are those in which there is a two-way interaction of research and learning, and in which the student explores and gains insights into aspects of the subject which are stimulating to the supervisor as well. The relationship between student and supervisor is not static and most students find that as they become more familiar with their field of research they become less directly dependent on their supervisor.

Members of your team are:

Primary Supervisor

Your primary supervisor is responsible for the day to day supervision of your research. They will provide guidance on the nature of the research project and the standard expected, the planning and timing of the successive stages of the research project, literature and sources, research methods and techniques. They will also guide you as to appropriate courses to attend to meet your training needs and offer guidance and advice on the preparation of your thesis. In addition to the informal chats and lab or team meetings that you will have with your supervisor, you are required to have at least nine formal, documented meetings with your supervisor(s) per annum, solely focussing on your progress. You will receive reminders about these meetings but will be expected to arrange them yourself. The aim of these meetings will be to discuss your progress, the problems you have faced and the objectives to be reached before the next meeting. A record of the meeting should be made using the supervisory meeting form in PebblePad.

Second Supervisor

All students will have a second supervisor, and in some cases a third supervisor may also be appointed if required due to the scope of the research. The role of the second supervisor and their input into the day to day supervision will vary from one student to another. You are required to meet with both/all supervisors at least 6 times annually.

Departmental PGR Lead

Each of the departments in the Medical School has a PGR Lead (or in some instances 2 leads). The PGR Lead is responsible for assigning your personal tutor and approving all paperwork relating to your candidature. They are also responsible for approving the appointment of examiners at the stage when you are expected to undergo confirmation review to confirm their registration as a doctoral student and they will approve the selection of examiners for your final thesis. The PGR Leads will also deal with any issues that arise relating to your progress at the time of confirmation of candidature or at other times during the course of your research programme. In some cases, your departmental PGR Lead may also act as a PGR Tutor. Each PGR Lead also represents their department on the Medical School and Faculty Graduate Research Committees. Your Departmental Lead can also help you with any issues you might have with your supervision, or other personal problems that might impact upon your experience as a student.

Personal Tutor

Your personal tutor is somebody who is not directly concerned with your research, but does have some understanding of the area. Their role is mainly to provide pastoral care and to be someone independent with whom you can discuss, in confidence, non-technical issues relating to your project or your supervision, or other personal problems that might impact upon your experience as a student. They are vital in supporting and guiding doctoral research students towards becoming independent researchers and reaching their full potential. You may also wish to discuss your training needs with your personal tutor. You must meet with your personal tutor within 4 weeks of arrival to your study and then twice annually, once in each semester, and a record of the meetings should be made using the personal tutoring meeting form which should be returned to the PGR Team after the meeting. You are expected to contact your personal tutor to arrange these meetings. Any issues you have should be identified and resolved at an early stage to prevent them escalating. This may involve you and your personal tutor discussing the issue with the departmental PGR Leads or School PGR Lead (see below for their roles).

PGR Tutors

You will be assigned to a team of two PGR Tutors who will be your first point of contact for any queries you may have relating to your doctoral development programme and who, usually, remain with you throughout the course of your research programme. Your PGR tutors will be responsible for delivering the two research training modules that all PGR students are expected to complete in their first year. These are the generic research training modules MED6950 – Literature Review and MED6960 – Research Training Skills and Oral Presentation. They will also organise the annual research presentation meetings, where you are expected to present a summary of your research over the previous year. Your PGR Tutors will also highlight any issues relating to progress with your research, particularly during your first year. You are encouraged to approach your PGR Tutors for advice if you have any difficulties that you feel unable to raise with your supervisors or personal tutor.

Chair of the School Graduate Research Committee

The chair is responsible for overseeing the procedures for monitoring the progress and supervision of all PGR students. They also work with the Departmental PGR Leads and with the Heads of Department to deal with issues relating to lack of progress that arise at the time of confirmation, and other times during the course of the research degree programme and provide cover for the PGR Leads when they are not available. The Chair of the SGRC also deals with issues relating to fees, and staff candidate applications.

Organisation of PGR Provision

Organisation of PGR Provision