Training and Policy Organisations

Over the last 10 years, there have been several initiatives from the University and the UK research funding councils seeking to regulate the quality of research student training. This process will continue, and it is important to know how it affects your students.

Divisional Graduate Studies Office
The Graduate Office of the Medical Sciences Division deals with all aspects of the admissions and administrative support for graduate students.

Vitae
Vitae (incorporating the UK Grad Programme) is a national organisation championing the personal, professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff in higher education institutions and research institutes.

The Research Councils UK
This website has links to all the six individual research councils that offer funded doctoral studentships. Several have on-line handbooks for their research students. All research councils look to implement the Joint Funding Council's Recommendations that led from the report Improving standards in postgraduate research degree programmes (Metcalfe et al, 2002), and influenced by the Sir Gareth Roberts' review of the supply of science skills in the UK. The report contains an Annexe on the types of skills that students will be expected to obtain by the time they finish their RDP (shorthand for Research Degree Programme!).

The Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust has carried out research into the experience of both students and supervisors of Wellcome-funded PhDs and their subsequent careers.

The UK Council on Graduate Education
The UKCGE, set up in 1994, seeks to promote the quality and distinctiveness of graduate education in UK universities. It hosts conferences and training events.

The National Postgraduate Committee
This provides national representation and support to graduate representatives of student unions and their members across the UK. It has a number of codes of practice for postgraduate teachers, publishes reports, and has useful resources for postgraduate students. It is the one organisationthat seeks to represent the student, and also serves to advise on student complaints.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs
The Council is a useful source of information for overseas students

Quality Assurance Agency
In 1999 the QAA, the agency responsible for standards in Higher Education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, prepared the first national code of practice for postgraduate research programmes. In 2001 it proposed a standard definition of the PhD as part of its Framework for Higher Qualifications.