Thank you to everyone who took part in the 2021 Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES). In total 2,186 postgraduate researchers (PGRs), 45% of the PGR community, shared their feedback on a range of issues from supervision and support to progression and assessment.
In spite of a very challenging and difficult year over three quarters of you (76.2%) are satisfied with your postgraduate research experience and 76.8% feel better prepared for your future career. The results indicate that you value your supervisors, as 92% agreed that your supervisor(s) has the skills and subject knowledge to support you. With the move to remote working from March 2020, many services such as the Library moved their provision online and 87.4% of you agree that you have appropriate access to online library resources. Opportunities for developing research skills have also continued with 88.5% of you agreeing that you have developed your skills in research methodologies, tools and techniques.
However, the results also indicate that improvements are needed in a number of areas; mainly in relation to support, community and feedback. Just over half of you (56.2%) agreed that support for health and wellbeing meets your needs and many of you feel isolated. Only 53.3% of you are aware of opportunities to become involved in the wider community. Many of you feel that concerns are not acted on; as only 53.4% agree that the University values and responds to feedback. Analysing the results in greater deal indicates that PGRs with a disability have a less satisfactory experience across all areas of their programme and this is of great concern.
At a University wide level we will be working with the Disability Advisory and Support Service and student support services to find ways to ensure provision and support meets the needs of all PGRs. We will be working with PGR reps and the PGR Association to find ways to develop our PGR community and to address your concerns.
Schools in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health and the Faculty of Humanities and Departments in the Faculty of Science and Engineering are now analysing their results in detail to identify the areas that you value and the areas that require improvement at your local level. In response to your feedback each School/Department will develop an action plan over the autumn. We encourage you to contact your PGR reps or PGR director for information on how to feed into the development of the action plans.
The overall results are available at the link below along with links to the contacts details of your PGR Reps and PGR Directors. We will share a summary of action plans with you in autumn.
Once again thanks for taking the time to share your experiences and for the detailed comments and suggestions on what works well and what doesn’t. We are committed to improving the postgraduate research experience and look forward to working with you.