Postgraduate Consultation Group: Improving PGR Experiences

The Postgraduate Consultation Group is the Students' Union's way to communicate with PGRs directly to improve their University experience. Read our recent discoveries, and how we will work on these suggestions.

The Students' Union is currently running an initiative to improve postgraduate research experience by speaking with our PGR community directly. The Postgraduate Consultation Group (PGCG) is a focus group of researchers that meets regularly throughout the year with our Vice President Communities, Matthew Beach, to talk about their lived experiences and suggest improvements for both the Students' Union and wider university structures. These meetings are vital in having your PGR voice heard, and creating the university experience that researchers want to engage in themselves.

Our most recent PGCG was held on 29 April and focused on the PGR experience with careers and enterprises. The meeting found that researchers felt they had been provided with some support on career advice but believed there to be more progress yet to be made. The attendees expressed an interest in more chances to gain transferrable skills that may be useful outside of the typical academia career path; they suggested that the programmes already in place by the university tend to not be tailored towards PGR students. Members of the focus group shared their experiences in grant writing and postdoctoral opportunities, and how they have found navigating these academic fields.

As a result of this feedback, Matthew will now work with the Students’ Union, Doctoral College and the University to improve the following elements:

  • Increase the involvement of academics within career advisory structures, in the form of mentorship, toolkits or resources for people looking to progress within academia.
  • Introduce training sessions on grant writing and postdoctoral applications and support sessions for PGRs to identify their core soft and hard skills, with the goal of them feeling more confident in their capabilities.
  • Increase the engagement of the Alumni community to find case studies that can be used to present successful cases of work within academia, as well as the transition into alternative industries.
  • Introduce special training for supervisors on supporting PGRs to navigate life after their study and handle career choices.
  • Support the Careers and Enterprise team with organisation and facilitation of overseas institutional visits to better assist PGRs within their project research.

We hope to feature some elements of success from this PGCG in future instalments, so keep an eye out for that. Unfortunately, all spaces have been filled for the next PGCGs, but if you wish to ask any questions, please contact the Representation Team at


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